The Evangelical and Apostolic Faith

There is less and less of authentic Christianity

to be seen in our world today

One of the most powerful reasons for embracing Orthodoxy is to be found in the Church’s insistence that she holds to the evangelical and apostolic doctrine of the Ancient Church. In an age when everything is up for change, there is a certain security and stability when one institution (the Church) stands firm in her Apostolic Authority, and refuses to allow popular culture or political correctness to influence her rightful role as hospital for the soul.

“It is not lawful to differ even by a single word from the evangelical and apostolic doctrine, or to think otherwise than as the blessed Apostles and our fathers learned and taught concerning the Holy Scriptures (Saint Leo the Great).”

We know from the very foundations of the Church, set down in the Gospels, and in the Apostolic Canons, that the Church exists, not to judge, but to bring healing. Her mission is to make whole those who would enter into her gates, as entering into a hospital. She forces no one, for one who is forced is not open to healing. Yet the Church is also aware that sin is not really a private matter, for all sin affects everyone. She knows that even private sins have an effect on the whole of the cosmos. Therefore, the Church continues, as she has from ancient times, to give witness to the commandments of God, the hope that is found in the Gospel of Christ, and the forgiveness and healing that can lead to wholeness.

The Church may seem to be a backward looking institution, irrelevant for our times, a view that has caused many of the denominations to alter basic foundational teachings in order to please a more liberally leaning society. This has led numerous of the denominations to allow parliaments to enact laws that have forced these religious institutions to ordain women as clergy, perform same sex marriages, and bow down to modern views on abortion that have led to the death of thousands of innocents.

As an Orthodox monk who stands out in appearance, what with my long white beard and black robe, I demonstrate that I am attempting to live a faith that is not of this world. Like all Orthodox clergy, I teach by my presence in a modern and fallen world, that my faith is an ancient one, and that change is not necessary, for the faith of our fathers is just as relevant today, as it was two thousand years ago. What the Church has to offer today, is just as effective in bringing about the healing of the soul, as in ancient times.

The sad state of American Christianity has as its basis, a constant attempt to conform to an ever changing society, and with each change, there is less and less of authentic, ancient Christianity to be seen. It could be compared to using an old family cake recipe, dropping one ingredient, or changing another, with each passing generation. In the end, is it really great-great grandmother’s cake recipe, or is it something else?

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Giovanni Khouri, a member of the Palestinian Orthodox Church of Saint George in San Francisco, made a pilgrimage to the monastery on Tuesday.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible.

We depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery’s mailing address:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
P.O. Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

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Thursday February 18, 2021 / February 5, 2021
37th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Holy Martyr Agatha of Palermo in Sicily (251).
St. Theodosius, archbishop of Chernigov (1696).
New Martyrs Matushka Agatha (1938), and with her Schemamonk Eugene (1939) and Righteous Paramon (1941), of Belorussia.
Virgin-martyr Alexandra, martyr Michael (1942).
Martyr Theodoula of Anazarbus in Cilicia, and with her Martyrs Helladius, Macarius, Boethos, and Evagrius (304).
“Eletsk-Chernigov” (1060), “Sicilian” or “Divnogorsk” (1092) and “In Search of the Perishing” (17th c.) Icons of the Mother of God.
St. Polyeuctus, patriarch of Constantinople (970) (Greek).
New Martyr Anthony of Athens (1774) (Greek).
St. Theodosius of Skopelos in Cilicia (ca. 421).
St. Avitus, bishop of Vienne (525).

The Scripture Readings

1 Peter 4:12-5:5

Suffering for God’s Glory

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now

“If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Shepherd the Flock

5 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Submit to God, Resist the Devil

5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Mark 12:38-44

Beware of the Scribes

38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

The Widow’s Two Mites

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

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.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you Abbot Tryphon and the Fathers / Monks who are all a part of your blessed Monastery. Your prayers are powerful , and may God continue to bless and keep each of you in His Care.

  2. I love what you say about the cake recipe. I had written this “analogy of the Church” before becoming Orthodox while trying to explain Orthodoxy to some family and friends. Especially “big T” and “little t” traditions. It too uses a recipe as it’s basis. I hope you enjoy it (and please feel free to use it or any part of it.)
    ==============
    There was once a woman who made wonderfully delicious pies. When she had children she passed on how to make the pies. It was more than just a recipe but an entire experience that made the pies so wonderful. For if you hadn’t participated in the making of the pie you might, in fact, be mistaken in thinking they were only average tasting pies.

    As her children grew and had children of their own they traditioned the whole of the pie making. Laying out certain elements the night before. Rising early in the morning the day of the pie baking. Inspection of eggs with candles. Tasting key ingredients along the way. Drinking coffee and relaxing in conversation while the pie bakes. And all the rest.

    This tradition went on for the 3rd and 4th generations… passing on the fullness of the pie baking and every generation of children knew by participation just how wonderful the pies were and could each replicate it all by a very young age. In fact it wasn’t until the 7th generation that anyone even wrote the recipe down on a card. Simply to keep the specifics of ingredients. But the ritual and process was still kept.

    In the following generations there were some cousins who began to impose stricter rules in the pie baking. Ingredients must be bought from certain stores, they said. You must start at 7:00 am, no earlier or later. Your coffee should be brewed before beginning to mix the ingredients and your talks while the pie bakes should never be about world events or politics. It wasn’t long before the children raised with these more stringent regulations began to rebel.

    In the 11th generation a set of descendants questioned all these “rules” and proclaimed that they were going to merely use the “recipe only!” Doing away with any of the other “cousin added embellishments” from the previous generations they wanted to return to the core of the pie making. Keeping it pure from things that had no relevance to how good or bad the pies tasted.

    Soon, however, one set of cousins disputed with another about what the recipe said or meant. Some of the language that had been written years before didn’t translate now and words like “fresh” and “real” were disputed. So that each family believed they themselves were truly following the recipe correctly.

    What if one of these distant cousins met a family member from another land who had kept the original pattern of making the pies? Who hadn’t ever added in all the rules but who had still done all the things that the original woman had passed on to her first children? What if they participated in those traditions? Wouldn’t the recipe suddenly mean MORE to them? Wouldn’t they experience a FULLNESS of what the pie baking could be? SHOULD be!

    This is the Orthodox Church. It was never corrupted by the additions of the “cousins” of Rome. Nor was it reduced by the over corrections of the “reformers”. But it kept true to what was begun in fullness and thus makes the Bible even MORE… in fullness and truth.

  3. Very beautiful Abbot Tryphon! This is what I cherish so much in the Orthodox Church – the beginnings left to us by Jesus and His Apostles – nothing changed because it doesn’t need to be. Who are we to correct His teachings? They were left for all of us and it’s all so simple really! It’s those who change after change and make things so complicated until as you said, “what is it now” (The cake has become a flat buttertart)

    I will surely share this blog with others today!

    God bless & take care – glad to see you looking so well…..

  4. Fr bless,
    Thank you for the your excellent explanation of what the original & true Church is and is not! The comments today are very helpful as well. I pray many, many more Christians will find their place at the ORIGINAL pie baking table. There is plenty of room, Lord have mercy!

  5. The main ingredient that changed is summed up in St Ephraim’s prayer. There was a book I read in college that had a profound impact on me, and was I would say my first step toward Orthodoxy, (although this took many years) The book was called “Hope Has it’s Reasons” and the title of the first chapter is “The Problem With the World is Me”. It is written by a Protestant in the late 1980’s reflecting on the growth of the “me generation” and the growth of “no fault” everything from no fault divorce to no fault political actions. She makes a statement here (https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZZ7ifTAiDVMLtdbw7) that I think explains in some measure what is behind our society’s fall. She continues a few pages later (pp 13-first paragraph of 14) here (https://photos.app.goo.gl/r6YXfjuAD1nRKqWh8) and here (https://photos.app.goo.gl/kF6Z2b8qiJhUGyJU6)

    Reflecting on this book now from an Orthodox perspective, with some years of exposure to Orthodox piety and prayers it is clear how Western Christianity’s drift from Orthodoxy is not only or even primarily a doctrinal one, but a drift in piety. From Papal excessess to Anselm’s rationalism and theological denial of repentance as a necessary part of man’s salvation, to Luther’s crises and declaration of “grace alone”… western Christianity and the society it has lived in and lost influence over has been slowly toppling because it has lost the ability to admit the reality of our condition as sinful and to repent. Repentance is distasteful – not merely because the “Old Adam” resists it, but because it has become culturally distasteful. Even some in the Church prefer to pat themselves on the back saying that we did this or that out of love and do not realize that this kind of love is readily available and cheap, when what is not so readily available and what is much more valuable is Christ’s sacrifice for us and the example of our repentance which is the only way to open the door to this love.

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