A Spiritual Crisis

Is our nation entering into a new Dark Ages?

According to a Lutheran minister who visited the monastery this past week, the city of Portland, Oregon,  just contacted the Union Gospel Mission, asking that they prepare for a coming surge of new homeless families. They are bracing for some forty thousand tents in the city’s streets, come winter.

With our people prevented from worshiping in their churches, our precious children separated from their friends, schools closed down, and mass unemployment following in the wake of this pandemic, we are witnessing our nation plunge further into an abyss. 25% of young people between 16 and 24 have considered suicide. Overdoses are up between 25 and 30%.

As we witness an ever increasing crime wave that shows no signs of abating, our cities are disintegrating before our very eyes. People are fleeing from American cities, while the mentally ill and drug addicts are taking over our city streets. Young people are rioting in our cities, filled with an ever increasing anger that is being stoked by leftist fascists who have convinced them that the answer to our national problems is to be found in the total destruction of our democracy.

Police officers, inspired by a desire to serve and protect their fellow citizens, are now walking away from law enforcement careers, brokenhearted by the anger and contempt they’ve experienced on a daily basis from the very citizens they’d sworn to serve.

Truly we are witnessing a new form of barbarism, one that many good people feel too weak to resist. Our American political system, divided as never before, has offered little help as our nation faces this spiritual crisis. What is needed is a return to the authority of the Scriptures, and the ancient wisdom found only in the Church.

We Christians must embrace, in our exile from the present nihilistic culture, the resilience that early Christians had under direct persecution from their pagan rulers. It is only when we Christians, be we Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant, truly read the signs of the times, that we will be able to lead the rest of society back to God.

Our nation will only be turned from this downward fall into a new Dark Ages, when we Christians, with a renewed commitment to Christ, and with love and strength, lead the way for our fellow citizens to repent, and return Christ to a nation that has fallen into darkness.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Seraphim, a young Orthodox Christian visiting the monastery last week, is shown standing with Monk Nicodemus.

Saturday August 22, 2020 / August 9, 2020
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Food with Oil
Apostle Matthias (63).
Synaxis of All Saints of Solovki.
St. Philaret, archbishop of Chernigov (1866).
New Martyr Margaret (1918).
Martyr Anthony of Alexandria.
Venerable Psoes of Egypt (4th c.).
Martyrs Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexius, Demetrius, Photius(Phocas), Peter, Leontius, and Mary, of Constantinople (726).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Oredezh (1532).
St. Alexis Medvedkov, archpriest of Uzine (1934).
The Restoration of the Temple of the 40 Martyrs.

The Scripture Readings

John 21:15-25

Jesus Restores Peter

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

The Beloved Disciple and His Book

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Gifts at Corinth

4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matthew 19:3-12

3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

Jesus Teaches on Celibacy

11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Acts 1:12-17

The Upper Room Prayer Meeting

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Matthias Chosen

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”

Acts 1:21-26

21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Luke 9:1-6

Sending Out the Twelve

9 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staff nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.

4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”

6 So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

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.


  1. Father, I’m so disappointed that you repeatedly blame the left and call us fascists after how many videos of police randomly attacking protestors, the press, etc. Where was the outrage about the peaceful group who were tear gassed and attacked so POTUS could have a photo op? Where is the outrage about a broken political system with the antichrist himself sitting atop it? Where is the outrage at the daily stream of lies from him? I’ve followed this blog for years and finally unsubscribed today after yet another unjustified leveling of blame at people who have had it watching those charged with protecting and serving murdering with immunity. the real fascists are people like Donald Trump and Bill Barr. How many unidentified thugs have they put on the street to intimidate, beat up, and teargas people exercising their right to object to killings? Where is the outrage there? We are teetering on the brink of a dictatorship, where a man who lost the popular vote is trying to sabotage elections to hold onto power. After he should have been removed from office but wasn’t because his party holds a majority in the Senate and they are clearly not honest people.
    I’m not saying you’re aligned with them, but how can you look the other way with that? The Church’s silence on this has caused me to consider leaving. I know you are a good man, but if the Church has nothing to say about trump but calls us who disgusted by police brutality and fascism fascists, then I’m done.

    1. Don’t leave the Church. Pray for her. I understand how you feel, Rob. I too am disturbed lately. Please pray. I will pray for you

    2. I’ve watched live feeds of the Portland riots every nite this past week. 7 nights in a row. What did I see? Brutal violent hateful destructive mobs. And police exercising amazing restraint. You sir are a fool or a liar. Please, move to China already and embrace your utopian fantasy. We know communism when we see it. You don’t.

      1. Please – is this not supposed to be a spiritual blog? Why the political fighting? Why are you telling someone who is obviously in pain that they are a “fool or a liar” and to “move to China”? Why the anger? Is not Christ’s message about loving one another?

        Dear Abbott, lately you seem to have taken too much of political turn in many of your posts, and while that is certainly your right as this is your blog, it is causing division and hurt, as is shown by many of the comments I’m reading here. When you stick to spiritual matters, your posts are much more helpful and uniting. In our church, we have people all along the political spectrum, but we don’t discuss politics, and these matters are left out of sermons. As a result, I don’t hear these types of comments or discussions in our church, and we all get along quite well and have respect for one another. As American politics are so polarized right now, wouldn’t it be more healing not to wade into those waters here?

    3. Thank you Father for your wise words. As we know some will not hear nor see. So full of hate they cannot see truth. Either party is a poor master. The devil will enjoy the weakness of leaving the church for a political view. last I checked, we can still to speak our mind and have different opinions in this country. Short lived as it may be.

    4. Rob, there is failed leadership at literally every level. if you identify as anything other than a Christian it is you who are lost and misguided. You want to turn your back on God because the one speaking is aiming his attention at the immediate problem causers. Of course Trump is to blame so is the left, actually WE ALL ARE. Get over yourself and start to repent and focus on the important problems. In an article when the Abbot spoke of the immediate crisis of 40,000 homeless this winter in one city alone you were upset because he didn’t blame Trump. Look at your priorities, your are sick and this is causing you short sightedness. Satan is bearing down. Healing is needed my dear friend, WE ALL NEED IT. Only Christ can provide it. This new American crisis is OUR crisis and it’s our cross to pick up and do what we can. With love in our hearts it’s time to do what the Lord tells us, to love our neighbors. Stop with the political identifications, you are a child of God. Also Abbot Triphon was not incorrect about his diagnosis.

    5. Father – thank you for calling it the way it is. Unfortunately, when some readers don’t hear what they want to hear, like social media, they leave. Oh well.

    6. Rob – the “antichrist”? Really? The popular vote? omg. This is an electorate. Rob you might want to watch something other then CNN.

    7. Such hate and blindness is sad to read here. I pray for you, “Rob” , you are in a very dark place.
      May the Lord have mercy on us all.

  2. There’s much that can be written concerning the political climate , lawlessness that’s allowed to rein free in many of our cities and other politicos adhering to – “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” (Rahm Emanuel) – to further agendas. But ultimately as you’ve stated before , the problem is spiritual. I’ve recently had to drive this home to my youngest son(18) who likes to broad-brush certain ethnic or people groups by telling him ” It’s truly not the darkness of ones skin or clothing, but the darkness of ones character , of heart.”

    ” When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2Chronicles 7:13,14

    Blest day Father.

  3. The political and social climate has been deteriorating for years. It wasn’t directly affecting people as much then as it is now, and that is why they are coming on strong from both sides. Some say this is a cleansing of the Church and world by God, and others say Satan has taken over and is seated at the top pushing hierarchy out. Then the others say it is a chastisement for our sins and not repenting to change our ways.

    No matter which way it is, I think we all need to do some soul searching about our lives and worship along with the rest of our families, and get our lives back on the God-path and start to consider that life really is important if we are to continue as the children of God, families who promote faith and goodness in society.

    God bless!

  4. Why do people keep bringing up the fact that Trump lost the popular vote? I never understood that. Don’t they know we use the electoral college?

  5. Dear Abbot Tryphon,
    I too am discouraged by your point of view about the people protesting the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery and Elijah McClain. I am astounded that you do not see that racism is at the heart the problem and the sin we all are responsible to repent of. When you and I were young, people said that the antiwar movement was a communist plot. I don’t doubt that Soviets and Chinese communists were delighted by that. But, they did not prevail in America. In fact, Ronald Reagan was elected and brought to power the wealthy right wing who destroyed the social safety net of this country. How can you not see as a shining example of Christian values John Lewis–who did not fight back when he was beaten and jailed and actually forgave white supremacists! Have you considered that the huge divide between wealth and poverty in this country leads people to embrace socialism? And have you no words of admonishment to the men who rake in millions through the stock market while people who are laid off lose their homes and have no food for their kids? Have you no words of admonishment for the current president when he lies and blatantly makes every issue about his ego? Have you ever wondered if the massive hurricanes and wildfires that plague our land may be a result of our wanton disregard for the creation made by God? I am not despairing of my faith, nor am I willing to leave our Church. My strength cometh from my God Who made me. But, I am saddened that so few of our spiritual leaders stand for the guiding principles of our faith in word and deed. John Lewis said “If you see something is wrong, say something, do something.” I am not disengaging myself from your blog. I value many of the things you have said. It is your silence that troubles me.

    1. Of course I believe the disasters that are befalling our nation are the direct result of our sin, and God’s judgement on us, for we all, as a people, have fallen short of the Glory of God. Lord have mercy on us all.

      1. Dear Abbot Tryphon,
        Thank you! Is it not God’s mercy that we are given these trials to wake us up?
        I honestly don’t believe the United States will ever become a socialist country. But, I do believe that we lose ground in our communities when we don’t show our love for our brothers and sisters who are suffering and when we don’t show our love for God’s creation in the face of so many decisions that are harmful to it because we want our “things”?
        Aren’t we in even greater danger from fascism when the truly powerful in our country try to control our courts, our laws, our votes and the real freedoms that have been our blessed gifts?

    2. Rachel – “the people protesting the murders of 4 people”… How come those people aren’t protesting the thousands of murders every year called abortion? The president you are calling a liar is the only sitting president to attend the march for life. Maybe you should school yourself about BLM. The founder of BLM, Patrice Cullors, is a trained Marxist. I would suggest you read this article; https://orthochristian.com/133183.html. It is sad, to me, that there is so much hate and disrespect for the current president. Hate based on lies and media bias. Most people don’t even know why. Like the BLM movement, people are being led right off the cliff.

      1. Dear “Anonymous”
        Abortion is a crime and a sin. When did our Christian faith begin to draw the line at that crime as the only one we can care about? How can we not say it is a sin to separate children from their parents and fly them back to their country of origin at 5 and 6 years old without notifying anyone that they are coming? Or to put them in institutions with people who don’t speak their language and refuse to comfort them? These are living, breathing children! And, the four people I mentioned who have been murdered recently are only a few of those who have died. We suffer from systemic racism in this country, but white people don’t know about that because we don’t want to know. And, if we don’t have contact and listen openly to the people suffering, we will never know. We can’t give up our cars, and our gas stoves and our air-conditioning because it would be difficult. But our choices lead to inescapable harm that will affect our children and our children’s children.
        I’m not going to address your comments about President Trump, because politics is so much smaller than the moral questions we must grapple with.

    3. If you think racism is truly at the core of our problems in this country then I pray for your mind to be freed from your delusion. Racism is the magician’s slight of hand to conceal the true evil lurking in our midst. Truly brother and sisters free yourselves from this calamity of mental slavery. Lord have mercy on us SINNERS.

    4. What proof do you have that the demises of the people you listed is due to “racism?” Exactly, none at all. George Floyd was using counterfeit money and smuggling drugs in his unmentionables. Some hero.

  6. Father Tryphon is correct, of course. Progressivism is the militant, political wing of chiliasm, and as such is by its very nature heretical and antichrist. Those who have eyes to see will see that it destroys all it touches through intended or unintended consequences and leads straight to the anarchism of destruction.

  7. Abbot Tryphon,
    Please consider disabling the comments on your blog. Reading the hate filled comments that some chose to leave is very disturbing to ones spirit and peace of mind.

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