The Christian Home

Creating a Christian environment in the home

Creating a Christian home begins with the icon corner. The “bright corner” becomes the center for every domestic church, and where the family devotions take place. This is also the family’s way of declaring to visitors that this is a Christian home, where Christ is head. Because the husband is a sort of domestic priest (the priesthood of all believers), it is important that he be the one who leads the entire family in prayer.

Each member of the family should have their own patron saint’s icon. A wonderful practice from ancient times is to have a family icon written so that all their patron saints are represented in the same icon.

The family should try as best they can to have dinner together every night of the week. Watching TV while eating dinner is a very bad idea, for the meal should be the time when the parents can talk to their children about school, or other activities. In these modern times there are almost always school or work related activities that don’t always allow everyone to be together for that all important family meal, but every effort should be made to make this happen as often as possible.

The blessing of the food, with the father or mother making the sign of the cross over the meal with their fingers together as they do when blessing oneself, should never be avoided. If we always say a blessing over our food at home and give thanks to God for all He has given us, we are more likely to do so when at school or in a restaurant.

We’ve all seen those bumper stickers that read, “Kill Your TV”. Television and the overuse of the Internet are wreaking havoc on family life. Don’t allow these foreign invaders into your home to replace Christ as head of your household. Bad habits are hard to overcome, so replacing these with communal time in the living room may be hard at first, but is necessary for the basic foundation of any Christian home.

Guard your home from other invaders as well. Magazines and other reading material should be appropriate for the Christian home. If you’d not want your priest to see a magazine or book in your home, it shouldn’t be there in the first place. The music played in the home should also be uplifting and devoid of profanity and vulgarity.

Regular family meetings where everyone has an opportunity to talk about things and where the atmosphere is loving, open and safe, help create trust and a sense of security for everyone. It is natural for parents to argue on occasion, but this should never take place in front of children. They need to feel secure.

Boys need to see their fathers as icons of Christ in the home, demonstrating the biblical image of a husband and father. You men need, for the sake of your children, to give witness to the importance of prayer and church attendance. Statistically, children whose father is a church-goer are far more likely to stay in church as adults. Don’t leave spiritual instruction up to your wives. You will be held accountable before the Throne of God for your children.

Men should not let their wives do all the house cleaning and cooking. In an age where both husband and wife often need to hold down jobs in order to make ends meet, a woman’s work is not just household work. She should not have to come home from work and be expected to do all the housework and cooking by herself. Men need to teach their children by example to help around the house.

Children should be given a small allowance (according to age) so they can learn to manage money, and an important part of money managing is the tithe. The biblical command to give ten percent of one’s income back to God is almost never taught in the Orthodox Church, which is why so many clergy are given such meager salaries, and parishes have to hold church festivals. When we fail to tithe we are stealing from God! A child who tithes ten percent of his allowance will grow into an adult Orthodox Christian who tithes.

These are basic suggestions for creating an Orthodox home. If you begin to implement these suggestions, the Lord will reward you with a family that stands strong and your children will grow up as spiritually healthy Christians, grounded in biblical teachings and moral fortitude. Your grandchildren will, in return, be raised with the same biblical principles and you will be the most blessed grandparents on your block!

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: The prayer corner in our monastery’s common room. The second photo shows three beautiful children who are products of a Christian home.

Sunday October 20, 2019 / October 7, 2019
18th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone one.
Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria (290-303).
St. Jonah, bishop of Manchuria (1925).
New Hieromartyr Priest Valentine Sventsitsky of Moscow (1931) and Priest Nicholas Kazansky (1931).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1942).
Venerable Sergius the Obedient of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Venerable Sergius, abbot of Nurma (Vologda) (1412) , disciple of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh.
Uncovering of the relics (1514) of Venerable Martinian, abbot of Byelozersk (White Lake) (1483).
Martyrs Julian, presbyter, and Caesarius, deacon, at Terracina (1st c.).
Virgin-martyr Pelagia of Tarsus (287).
Martyr Polychronius of Gamphanitus (4th c.).
Pskov Icon of the Mother of God named “Tenderness” (1524).
Martyrs Eusebius and Felix at Terracina.
St. Dubtach, bishop of Armagh (Scotland) (513) (Celtic & British).
Holy Martyr Princess Osyth of Chich (England) (ca. 700) (Celtic & British).
99 Fathers of Crete (Greek).
St. Leontius the Governor (Greek).
Venerable Joseph, elder of Mokhevi, wonderworker of Georgia (1763) (Georgia).

The Scripture Readings

John 20:1-10

The Empty Tomb

20 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

The Cheerful Giver

6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

The Cheerful Giver

6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

Luke 7:11-16

Jesus Raises the Son of the Widow of Nain

11 Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you,arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

6 comments:

  1. “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

    The standard , never gets “old”.

    Blest day ,Father.

  2. Yes, we need to keep the bar high!! It’s no secret we are Orthodox and must be obvious in our homes/Parishes as well as in our behavior, deeds and conversation. (nice to see the little girl in the photo holding her prayer rope)

    Thanks for the reminder…..God bless!

  3. Do you have any suggestions or resources for mixed homes: ones where one parent is baptized into the Church and the other is not?

    My icon corner is small and mostly for me. I’ve asked my family which saints speak to them the most so I can purchase and include them in the corner, but the response has been pretty small.

  4. I agree with the previous comment/question. You talk here about a classic family setup, where all are of one faith and trying to live it actively. Unfortunately, nowadays that is not the majority. Please, consider writing about situations where one parent may not be Orthodox, and may even express negative or condescending opinion about the church. Also the leadership role of the husband in matters of faith is mostly lost today. Women are those who go to church and care about God and teaching the faith to their children. Think Sunday schools – have you seen a father become a Sunday school teacher? I haven’t. So in that case, the woman should take the leadership role. But that brings a whole new set of imbalances, hurt ego possibly, etc. Would you talk about that? Thank you for all your posts. I look forward to them daily!

    1. I’ll address this issue in a future blog article. However, studies have shown that only in Orthodoxy do we see a balance in church attendance between men and women. There are always exceptions, but this is the norm across the Orthodox world.

    2. My experience with men and women in the Church has been the opposite. In my church I am part of a group of men that call ourselves, ‘the Church bachelors’ because our wives won’t attend. And I have read that this is common. That men will convert, but their wives are hesitant to change to something different. I think it has to do with differences in men and women. But, I agree, an article on addressing this and helpful tips to get spouses involved would be beneficial.

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