The Soul

How our soul differs from that of an animal

The Orthodox Church teaches that animals have souls, although not the same as ours. When conceived, God bestows upon us the nous, which distinguishes us from animals. It is the nous that is the eye of the soul, intelligent and noetic, and by nature designed to commune with God. The nous is the center of humankind, and is where true knowledge is validated.

Just as we are being redeemed and transformed, so is the entire cosmos. Animals are a part of this cosmos that is being prepared for the eternal Kingdom that will have no end.

The kind treatment of animals reflects in an iconic way the truth that in Paradise God has called us to name our animals as Adam did, and live in communion with them. Saint Seraphim of Sarov even befriended wild bears.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday February 15, 2020 / February 2, 2020
Week of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone one.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
The Meeting of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
New Hieromartyr Basil priest, Martyr Michael (1938).
St. Anthimus of Chios (1960).
New Martyr Jordan of Trebizond (1650) (Greek).
New Martyr Gabriel at Constantinople (1676) (Greek).
Martyr Agathodorus of Cappadocia (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 2:25-32

Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Hebrews 7:7-17

7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Need for a New Priesthood

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was therethat another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Family Returns to Nazareth

39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. 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.

4 comments:

  1. God said he wrote all these things on our hearts……

    We have always had pets and I believe too that they have a soul; there have been many pets rescue their owners from danger too! I even heard of a cat who knew how to push 911 and my own cat (now deceased) knew how to push down the lever on the toaster! Another cat I had many years ago, would sit or lie on an injured part of our body to give heat and healing. So as you say, they have a soul; just different from ours because of the Nous ( God has written all these things on our hearts)

    Take care and God bless all the kitties in the photos!!

  2. Wow! Another sign of your love are those three couples The bright eyes of the cats reflect the love shining through your eyes.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. “The Orthodox Church teaches that animals have souls, although not the same as ours.” Well, I’m a recent convert to Orthodoxy but have heard throughout my life in the Catholic then Protestant world that animals don’t have souls, so this is new to me. Where does the Orthodox Church teach this – or maybe who in the Orthodox Church teaches this? I’d like to read more about this. Maybe it hinges on the definition of the soul – how is that defined? Thank you.

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