The Two Great Commandments

“Love thy God with all your heart, mind…” and secondly, “Love thy neighbor…”

We live in a world bombarded with thousands of messages, some subtle and some not-so-subtle, of merchandising that impacts the way we interact with others, and the way we relate to God. Much of what we glean from these messages is narcissistic in nature, estranging us from one another.

We become so self-absorbed that we fail to live authentically as Christians, being peace-makers, working towards justice, failing to forgive those who’ve wronged us, and not being compassionate towards those in need of mercy and charity. “Those who hear the word ought to give proof of the work of the word in their own souls” (St. Macarius the Great).

If we wear a cross around our neck, make the sign of the cross in perfect order, keep the fast periods, but have not the love of the poor we have gained nothing. Christ Himself told us that we can not love God Whom we’ve not seen, if we do not love our neighbor. If we do not give alms to the poor and speak out for human justice, we will have gained nothing. If we do not treat everyone with respect and love, and show mercy to all, we have not Christ in us.

We must put on Christ with the rising of the sun, and with it’s going down. Christ must be in every word we speak and in every action of our heart. He must reign supreme in our lives, that all see Christ in us, just as we must see Christ in every person with whom we come in contact. “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday January 1, 2021 / December 19, 2020
30th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Martyr Boniface at Tarsus in Cilicia (290) and Righteous Aglae (Aglaida) of Rome.
Venerable Elias of Murom, wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (1188).
Martyrs Elias, Probus, and Ares, in Cilicia (308.
Martyrs Polyeuctus at Caesarea in Cappadocia, and Timothy the Deacon in Mauretania (309).
St. Boniface the Merciful, bishop of Ferentino (6th c.).
St. Gregory (Gregentius), archbishop of Omirits (552).
Hieromartyr Capito, bishop of Cherson (4th c.).
Martyra Hermylus and Phocas.
Martyrs Eutyches and Thessalonica and with them 200 men and 70 women (Greek).
Sts. George the Scribe and Sava of Khakhuli (11th c.).

The Scripture Readings

Hebrews 11:8

Faithful Abraham

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Hebrews 11:16

16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Mark 9:33-41

Who Is the Greatest?

33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

Jesus Forbids Sectarianism

38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”

39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on [c]our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

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. But it seems that the word justice is now been transformed into a very particular political agenda. My father was a local public health office nationally recognized as preeminent in his field. His philosophy of public health was based on the fact that all organisms are interconnected with all other organisms; any change in the health and vitality of one effected every other; treat the person, not the disease, serve the people with the greatest need first, be open and honest about what is being done and why, educate, don’t legislate. “Don’t Spit on the sidewalk”
    He had to intimidate and educate a lot of politicians to get funding. He knew his budget proposals so completely that he could answer any question asked and never lost a budget. He served this county for 23 years. Within 3 years if retiring his successors had changed everything for the worse and dismantled his programs and his approach while being paid twice the salary.

    That is the fate of justice in this world. Forgiveness, mercy and binding up our neighbor’s wounds have no place. So I must pray “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.” Forgive the hardness of my heart and help me to see my brother.”

  2. Oh, by the way, my father’s immediate successor only took the job here until a bigger one came his way. He was a self-promoter. He got the job he wanted. San Francisco–just as the AIDS crises hit. He did not do well. Is that justice?

  3. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
    Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not ]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked,thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
    When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
    And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Corinthians 13:1-13

    Blest day Father.

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