Animals and the Afterlife

Thoughts on the Oneness of Creation

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There is no formal doctrine in the Orthodox Church concerning the afterlife for animals, including our pets. Those Fathers of the Church who have expressed themselves on this matter were simply expressing theological opinions that have not become universally accepted, and remain known as “theologoumena” (personal opinion).

The Church has wisely refrained from pronouncing conclusively regarding the afterlife, for much remains unknown. We will not truly understand what awaits us after this life until we have entered into the afterlife. As Orthodox Christians, we simply accept the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed, reciting the words, “I look for….the life of the world to come.”

By God’s grace and our cooperation with this grace, we expect to inherit eternal life. We believe that all beings who have been a part of our lives will also be there. Some of us would even hope, along with C.S. Lewis, that it might be possible Paradise will also include our beloved pets, and even the animals that have contributed in a myriad of ways to our own well being. Would it be possible that the cow that provided milk for our children, and cheese for our table, might one day join us in a Paradise where there is no death and no pain?

C.S. Lewis describes something like this in his book “The Great Divorce” in which a sanctified lady in paradise is accompanied by a myriad of animals as she walks in glory through the fields of Paradise. As I have enjoyed the affection and loyalty of our monastery’s wonderful Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, it would seem to me a Paradise without this loving little creature, would be wanting. Even the eternal loss of our hens, who’ve provided us with so many wonderful, fresh eggs, and given me so much delight, as I’ve watched them enjoying their free range lives, would seem sad to me.

This is simply my opinion, and I look forward to the possibility of meeting with the many beloved dogs and cats whose lives I have shared, over my seventy years. The saints saw animals as creatures of God, created as gifts of God’s love, and therefore resisted negligence or indifference when these animals were under their charge.

Saint Paul of Obnora was known to converse with birds, and Saint Seraphim of Sarov made friends with a bear. Saint Anthony the Great had a friendship with a lion. Saint Modestos viewed animals as sublime and mysterious gifts from God, and would often bless the livestock of the faithful – praying for their health and survival and glorifying in the vastness and beauty of all that God made. I myself, for some thirteen years, have blessed our cat Hammi, as I’ve let him out of the library after his night of sleep.

The traditional lands of Britain, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, all lands of the Celtic peoples, which, until the 11th century were part of the unified Orthodox Catholic Church and whose saints and spiritual life have much to offer the contemporary world, saw all of reality as a single unity. These saints knew, as all of the holy saints of the Church have known, that the wholeness of creation had been torn apart by the sin of Adam, and was restored by the saving act of Christ. In their lives they embodied the restoration of wholeness in creation, whether by communication with angels and spirits, or by kinship with all of the natural world.

Saint Athanasius said,  “(God) provided the work of creation also as a means by which the Maker might be known … Three ways thus lay open to them, by which they might obtain the knowledge of God. (First), they could look up to the immensity of heaven, and by pondering the harmony of creation come to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father.” Thus, the natural world, seen in the light of Christ, remains a way to know God, that is, a way of salvation.

The oneness of our relationship with Creation is brought to life with the story of Saint Kevin of Glendalough. While standing at prayer in a traditional Celtic monastic position with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross, a blackbird built a nest on his arm and laid her eggs. Saint Kevin, not wanting to disturb her nest, stayed in the position until the eggs were hatched. The saint is said to have stated, “It is no great thing for me to bear this pain of holding my hand under the blackbird for the sake of heaven’s king.”

In the beginning of the restoration of the unity in the entire fallen cosmos, Christ went out into the desert and “He was with the wild beasts, and the angels served Him” (Mark 1:13). These heavenly and earthly creatures who were destined to become the new creation in the God-Man Jesus Christ were assembled around Him. There is a pointed reference to this restoration in the life of St Isaac of Syria, when he wrote:

The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity.

In other words, the state of likeness to God in Christ to which he had risen enabled him to be with the wild beasts just as Adam was in his naming of them. And, I suspect the reason pets are so important to we humans is that they aid in our journey into the restoration of kinship between two different parts of creation. Our pets become like all the animals were in the beginning, when Adam was charged with naming them.

When the human can lie down with the cat, or the dog, or the chicken, (to paraphrase Isaiah) we aid the advancement of the Kingdom just a little, work to recreate Paradise just a little, and so give new meaning to such menial tasks as cleaning out the chicken coop, or the litter box.

“Just as our bodies, although they dissolve for a time, do not pass away forever, but will be renewed again at the resurrection, so, too, will heaven and earth and all that is within them — that is, all of creation — be made anew and liberated from the bondage of corruption. The elements themselves will share with us in that incandescence from above, and in the same way that we shall be tried by fire, so, according to the Apostle, shall all creation be renewed through fire.” (St. Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourse I.4)

Finally, as one of my favorite bishops said, “Animals were with Adam and Eve in Paradise, so why on earth wouldn’t they also be in Heaven (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)?”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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Thursday June 30, 2016 / June 17, 2016
2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Food with Oil

Martyrs Manuel, Sabel, and Ismael of Persia (362).
New Hieromartyrs Aberkius priest and Nicander (1918).
New Hieromartyr Maximus (1934).
Virgin-Martyr Pelagia (1943).
Hieromartyr Philoneides, bishop of Kurion in Cyprus (306).
Venerables Joseph and Pior, disciples of St. Anthony the Great (4th c.).
Uncovering of the relics (1562) of the Alfanov Brothers of Novgorod (1389): Saints Nicetas, Cyril, Nicephorus, Clement, and Isaac of Novgorod, founders of the Sikolnitzki Monastery.
Venerable Ananias the Iconographer of Novgorod (1581).
Martyr Nectan of Hartland (Devon) (6th c.), and St. Botolph, abbot and confessor, of Boston (England) (680) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Isaurus, and with him Basil, Innocent, Felix, Hermes, and Peregrinus of Athens (Greek).
St. Aetius the Eunuch, enlightener of Ethiopia, baptized by the Apostle Philip (1st c.).
Martyr Shalva of Akhaltsikhe (1227) (Georgia).
St. Hypatius, abbot of monastery of Rufinianos (446).

Scripture Readings

Romans 5:10-16

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Matthew 8:23-27

Wind and Wave Obey Jesus

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey 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.

Animals


Animals as Gifts from God

Our beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, is most happy when the entire monastic brotherhood is gathered together with him in our library and community room. We all consider him an important member of our community, and Hammi is the only cat I know who has his own facebook fan page, started by a woman who’d met him on a pilgrimage to the monastery (if my memory be correct).

I first met Hammi, a large male cat, as I was walking between our old trailer house (now gone) and my cell, some twelve years ago. We startled one another, but as I reached down with extended hand, he came to me. When I picked him up he began purring immediately, so of course I promptly opened a can of salmon, and he decided, then and there, to adopt us.

A month after his arrival I took him to a vet to be checked out, and was told by the veterinarian this cat had likely been dumped by someone from Seattle, as happens frequently when people want to dispose of a pet, making sure the animal can’t find it’s way back home (impossible from an island).

I often tell people that Hammi domesticated me, since I’d not previously been a cat fancier, being allergic to cat dander, as I am. Little did I know Hammi was a Norwegian Forest Cat, one of the few breeds that are nonallergic.

Norwegian Forest Cats have a very soft, double fur coat, large paws, sweet facial features, and a very loud purr box. They are known to be personable, for they like being around people. Hammi greets everyone who comes to the monastery, escorting them up the steps from the parking lot. Everyone who’s ever met him, falls in love. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve stated they never liked cats, but want to get a Norwegian Forest Cat, after meeting Hammi.

Intelligent breed that they are, Hammi has learned to let us know just what he wants, be it water, food, cuddling, sleep, or just to be left alone. He is a great companion to all of us, even tagging along when one of us takes a walk into the forest on the Valaam Trail. He and I have a special game which we both enjoy. I’ll head out on the trail with Hammi running ahead. He’ll hide behind a large fern, and even though I know he’s waiting ahead, when he jumps out he always manages to scare me. I’ll then run ahead and hide behind a tree and jump out when he walks by. We play this game until the end of the trail!

He’s slowing down a bit with age, just as am I. We both suffer from arthritis and like to sit by the fire on a cold winter evening, with him cuddling on the sofa, next to the old abbot. I’ve grown so attached to him I can’t imagine what life in the monastery would be like without him.

Animals teach us so much about unconditional love. I’ll never forget the day Hammi spotted our newly arrived Rhode Island Reds for the first time. He was sitting on the veranda of the trapeza with me and some guests. Hammi sat up when he spotted the hens, and started walking toward the chicken coop. I followed him, as did  our guests. As we were standing by one of the hens, Hammi crouched down, ready for the kill. All that was needed was for me to say, “No, Hammi, they are our friends”. He turned away and walked back to the veranda, leaving me and the guests alone with the chickens. He’s never bothered them since that afternoon.

Over the years, there have been many occasions where we are all out, late at night, calling Hammi. We have Great Horned Owls, racoons, and who knows what, hunting at night, so we never allowed Hammi to be out after dark. If Hammi is not in for the night, I start praying for him.

I am the one who lets Hammi out of the library every morning, always waiting until daylight. Hammi cuddles in my arms before I take him outside, and I always give him a blessing for the day. If a priest can bless cattle and bees, he can certainly bless such a wonderful companion as our Hammi!

As a Norwegian-American, living in  a monastery of Norwegian architecture, it seems clearly evident to me that God sent this Norwegian Forest Cat as a companion for His monks. We named him Hammi, because, from the start, he was a little ham.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday December 14, 2013

25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Fish Allowed

Prophet Nahum (7th c. B.C.).
Righteous Philaret the Merciful of Amnia in Asia Minor (792).
Martyr Ananias of Persia.
St. Eligius, bishop of Noyon (660) (Neth.).
St. Onesimus, archbishop of Ephesus (Greek).
Sts. Ananias and Solochonus, archbishops of Ephesus (Greek).
Venerable Anthony the New, monk of Kios in Bithynia (865) (Greek).
Venerable Ioannicus of Devich (Serbia).
St. Austremoine, first bishop of Clermont and apostle of the Auvergne (3rd c.).
St. Theoclites, bishop of Sparta (870).
St. Botolph, of Boston (England), abbot and confessor (680) (Celtic & British).
St. Tudwal, bishop of Lan Pabu. You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Galatians 1:3-10

3Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Only One Gospel

6I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Luke 12:32-40

32“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant

35“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

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.

The souls of animals and humans


How your 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 the other 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 man and is where true (spiritual) 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

Friday July 5, 2013

2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Venerable Barlaam of Khutyn (1192) (movable holiday on the 1st Friday of Apostles’ Fast).
“Tabynsk” and “Kursk-Root” Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the 9th Friday of Pascha).
Hieromartyr Eusebius, bishop of Samosata (380).
New Hieromartyr Gennadius priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Theodore and Gabriel (1938).
New Hieromartyr Michael Stephanovsky.
Martyrs Zeno and his servant Zenas of Philadelphia (304).
Martyrs Galacteon, Juliana, and Saturninus of Constantinople.
St. Gregory metropolitan of Valasha (1834) (Romania).
St. Alban, protomartyr of Britain (305) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Pompian (Greek).
1,480 martyrs of Samaria in Palestine (615).You can read the life of the saint in red, by clicking on the name.
THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Romans 5:17-6:2

17For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dead to Sin, Alive to God

6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Matthew 9:14-17

Jesus Is Questioned About Fasting

14Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often,[a] but Your disciples do not fast?”
15And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

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.

This Age Demands Boldness

Bishops and priests must boldly stand against the powers of darkness

We’ve become a nation that has placed Halloween as the second most popular national holiday, after Christmas, and where Friday is now more important than Sunday. Is it any wonder we’ve become a country that no longer looks to Christian clergy when facing major decisions that will negatively impact our people?

Is it surprising churches are becoming more and more marginalized by a society that has become militantly secular? A society filled with a toxicity that necessitates a revival to bring about spiritual health, as well as mental and physical health? Is this not a moment in the history of the Church that demands her priests and bishops stand firmly in the face of the demonic powers that would enslave us all with a secular-marxist future devoid of God?

Not since the earliest days of Christianity have we seen a period where the need for spiritual leadership willing to face martyrdom rather than succumb to the evil powers that would take us all down into the pit of darkness, as we are seeing now.

With love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: A gathering of Orthodox clergy from many parts of the State of Washington.

Wednesday September 16, 2020 / September 3, 2020
15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Hieromartyr Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, and those with him: Martyrs Theophilus deacon, Dorotheos, Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Indes, Gorgonius, Zeno, the Virgin Domna, and Euthymius (302).
Venerable Theoctistus (451), fellow-faster with St. Euthymius the Great.
Blessed John “the Hairy,” fool-for-Christ at Rostov (1580).
New Hieromartyr Pimen (Belolikov) bishop of Vernensk and Semirechensk, Sergius, Basil, Philip, Vladimir priests, martyr Meletius (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Basil and Parthenius priests (1919).
New Hieromartyrs Andrew and Theophan priests (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Vladimir and Michael priests (1921).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1923).
New Hieromartyr Euthymius priest with 4 martyrs (1924).
New Hieromartyr Romanus priest (1929).
New Hieromartyr Alexis and Elias priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Peter Deacon (1953).
St. Phoebe, deaconess at Cenchreae near Corinth (1st c.).
Martyr Basilissa of Nicomedia (309).
Hieromartyr Aristion, bishop of Alexandria, in Syria (3rd c.).
St. Ioannicius II, first patriarch of Serbia (1349).
The Pisidia Icon of the Mother of God (608).
New Martyr Polydorus of Cyprus (1794) (Greek).
Emperor Constantine the New (Greek).
Martyrs Chariton and Archontinus (Greek).
St. Remaclus, bishop of Maastricht (677) (Neth.).
St. Aigulphus of Provence (676) (Gaul).
St. Edward, martyr and king of England (978) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

Galatians 3:15-22

The Changeless Promise

15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Purpose of the Law

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Mark 6:7-13

Sending Out the Twelve

7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.

10 Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

Hebrews 13:7-16

Concluding Religious Directions

7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follows, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

John 10:9-16

9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

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.

Drought

Encountering drought in one’s soul

Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of history. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, having a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families.

As we meditate on the dire consequences water shortages are having on various parts of the world, it is perhaps a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted by the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.

The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.

During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong directions, in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning for their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: I was in Spokane, WA., over the weekend, where I baptized  Anna, the fifth child of Shayne and Melissa Swenson. My spiritual daughter, Mother Photini, whom I tonsured into the small schema in 2010, is now the superior of Saint Mary Magdalene Skete in Rathdrum, Idaho. Nun Photini came for the baptisms, and the Liturgy that followed.

Monday August 24, 2020 / August 11, 2020
12th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Euplus of Catania (304).
Martyrs Basil and Theodore of the Kiev Caves (1098).
Venerable Theodore (in monasticism Theodosius) of the Kiev Caves, prince of Ostrog (1483).
St. John, recluse of Svyatogorsk Monastery (1867).
Virgin-martyr Susanna and those with her: Martyrs Gaius, pope of Rome; presbyter Gabinus, his brother and father of Susanna; Maximus, Claudius and his wife, Praepedigna, and their sons Alexander and Cutias (295).
St. Niphon, patriarch of Constantinople (Mt. Athos) (1515).
Venerable Passarion of Palestine.
St. Blaan, bishop of Bute (Dunblane), Scotland (590) (Celtic & British).
Commemoration of the Miracle (1816) of St. Spyridon (348) on Kerkyra (Corfu) with the Hagarenes (Greek).
New Martyrs Anastasius of Asomaton in Asia Minor and Demetrius of Lesbos (1816) (Greek).
St. Taurinus, first bishop of Evreux, Gaul (2nd c.).
Martyrs Neophytus, Zeno, Gaius, Mark, Macarius, and Gaianus (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

2 Corinthians 5:10-15

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

Be Reconciled to God

12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you the opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Mark 1:9-15

John Baptizes Jesus

9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Satan Tempts Jesus

12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

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.

We Are All Repeat Offenders

Because we are stuck in habitual and repetitive sins

In the Mystery of Confession we avail ourselves before the analogion stand, upon which the holy cross and the Gospel Book rest. The priest stands in as the witness, whereas in the early Church confession was done before the whole congregation of the faithful. After we have confessed before the Lord, the priest, acting in Christ’s stead, and by His authority, pronounces the absolution. Thus begins the process of transformation, which leads to holiness. Regular confession is necessary if we are to triumph in our battle over sin, for only in confession do we face the reality of our fallen nature and confront the ego, seeking out God’s help in conquering the passions.

Confession and Communion are bound together, for the Church asks that we confess our sins before approaching the Holy Gifts, as the Scriptures make it clear that it is dangerous to partake of Christ’s Body and Blood unworthily (1 Corinthians 11: 27: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord”.)

The priest, as witness, also helps guide the penitent, helping develop a “war plan” by which we can learn to do battle with our fallen nature and find victory over our sins. The importance of confessing before the priest is evident in that secret sins are rarely triumphed over, for we can happily travel through life dismissing our shortcomings, when no one knows.

Since all sin (even those committed in secret) is against the whole Body of Christ (the Church), confession before the representative of the Church (the priest) is all important. When we confess our sins regularly to our confessor, we are acknowledging our failings and shortcomings to someone who knows us so well that he can help guide us to true repentance, where we find victory over habitual sins that bring us down.

When we find ourselves constantly repeating the same sins, over and over, having a regular confessor is especially valuable, for he can help us focus on ways to avoid the same sins over and over. Keeping a journal of our struggles can be especially helpful, for we can begin to see patterns in our behavior that lead to habitual sins, thereby helping us to minimize the frequency of our falls.

It can be helpful if we remember that sin is that which inhibits us from becoming holy. Holiness being better understood as wholeness. When we are whole, we are as God meant us to be. We are healthy in a spiritual way, and communion with God is opened up. As people made whole, we become the very image and likeness that God intended, gaining our inheritance.

When we find ourselves struggling with the same sins over and over, it is good to remember that we have but to give ourselves over to Christ, Who promises us victory over our sins. The struggle for holiness is not about what we can do, but what Christ can do in us.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday June 10, 2020 / May 28, 2020
Afterfeast of Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
Venerable Nicetas, bishop of Chalcedon (9th c.).
St. Ignatius, bishop and wonderworker of Rostov (1288).
Venerable Helen of Diveyevo (1832).
New Hieromartyr Macarius, Dyonisius, Hieromartyr Nicholas deacon, Martyrs Ignatius and Peter (1931).
New Hieromartyr Heraclius confessor (1936).
Virgin-Martyr Hermogenas (1942).
St. Gerontius, metropolitan of Moscow (1489).
St. Eutychius, bishop of Melitene (1st c.).
Martyrs Heliconis and Dapni of Thessalonica (244).
St. Germanus, bishop of Paris (576) (Gaul).
Hieromartyr Helladius, bishop in the East (6th-7th c.).
“Nikeysky” (304), “Chukhlomsky” (Galich) (1350), “Orlovsky”, “Antiochsky” and “Tenderness” Icons of the Mother of God.
New Martyr Mitros (Demetrius) of Tripolitsa (1794) (Greek).
New Hieromartyr Zachariah of Prusa (1802) (Greek).
Venerable Sophronius, monk, of Bulgaria (1510) (Bulgaria).
Martyrs Crescens, Paul, and Dioscorides of Rome (326) (Greek).
St. William of Languedoc (812) (Gaul).
St. Andrew the fool-for-Christ of Constantinople (911).

The Scripture Readings

Romans 1:18-27

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Matthew 5:20-26

20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

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.

Godly Friendships

We need godly friendships on our spiritual journey

It is easy to feel trapped by our bad habits. We don’t like certain behavioral patterns that have become habitual, and we feel helpless in our attempt to change. Growing as Christians is often fraught with failure, and we find ourselves stuck. Our spiritual progress feels more like a treadmill, only seemingly moving forward, yet noticing the scenery is remaining the same. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to commit to changing our environment. If we have friendships that keep us from growing, perhaps it is time to leave those friendships behind.

Back in the 1960’s I hung around with a group of friends in Berkeley, California, where we’d gather in a coffee house, talking about the poetry books we were going to publish, and the novels we were going to write, but all we did was talk. One of our friends shocked the rest of us when he announced he was no longer going to come to the coffee house. He’d decided it was just a waste of time. If he was ever going to make something of himself, he had to make the break. He told us he wanted to go to medical school, and was therefore planning to put all his energy in completing his college degree with the best grades he could possibly get. We all tried to convince him that he could accomplish all of that without abandoning the coffee house scene, but he wasn’t convinced. That was the last evening he’d ever join the rest of us.

His decision haunted me, for deep down I knew he was right. My life was going nowhere, and I was feeling increasingly unfulfilled, both spiritually and intellectually. Within six months I made the decision to move to Portland, Oregon, for a fresh start. Abandoning those friends was the best decision I could have made, for none of us was motivated to go beyond that little coffee house ghetto we’d created for ourselves.

Sometimes the only way to make the changes in our lives that are needed for spiritual growth is to walk away from relationships that are keeping us stuck. As Christians, it does make a difference who we hang out with. If we have friendships with individuals who are simply not interested in things of a spiritual nature, we will find ourselves wasting precious moments in our journey to God.

Having friendships with fellow Christians is the only way we can keep ourselves centered in Christ. If we want to deepen our faith, we need to spend time with people who desire the very same thing. We can build a stronger relationship with Christ by spending time with people whose values are the same. If we waste our time with people who are only pursuing worldly pleasures, we’ll end our life doing the same. The time God has allotted us must not be squandered. If we keep company with people whose goals are of a spiritual nature, and whose lives are centered in Christ, our goals will be the same, and we will grow as Christians.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday May 15, 2020 / May 2, 2020
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Fast. Fish Allowed
St. Athanasius the Great, archbishop of Alexandria (373).
Translation of the relics (1072 and 1115) of the Holy Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb of Russia, in holy baptism Romanus and David (1015).
St. Athanasius III, patriarch of Constantinople and wonderworker of Lubny (1654).
Martyrs Hesperus, Zoe, and their sons Cyriacus and Theodulus, at Attalia (2nd c.).
St. Boris-Michael, prince of Bulgaria (907).
“Putivl’sk” (1635) and “Vutivansk” Icons of the Mother of God.
St. Athanasius of Syandem and Valaam (1550).
Blessed Basil of Kadom (1848).
St. Jordan the Wonderworker (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 10:44-11:10

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Peter Defends God’s Grace

11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

John 8:21-30

Jesus Predicts His Departure

21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”

And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; butas My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in 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.

Transcendent Joy

In the Divine Liturgy we experience transcendent joy

As Orthodox Christians, we know that whenever we enter into the Divine Liturgy we can experience a transcendent joy that leads to a deep sense of gratitude, and this in turn translates into a profound happiness that connects us to the Eternal Kingdom. We walk out of the service with a renewed sense of gratefulness which translates into a vision of all that is good in our world. We see that there are good people who are part of our lives, and that we are surrounded by beauty. Even the imperfections that abound, including our collective experience of this pandemic, becomes the foundation for lifting up the spirits of those around us. Being happy ourselves we are more likely to bring about happiness in others.

Being happy nurtures those random acts of kindness that everyone loves to experience, and promotes goodness and kindness among even strangers. People love it when other people are good to random people. This happiness becomes like a magnet, and even strangers are drawn to us.

There is nothing that brings about satisfaction like being grateful for our life, for the lives of those around us, and for the love God has for us. In all of this we need to remind ourselves that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. Living in a joyful state, we become vehicles for a transcendent joy that brings about healing for those around us, and even the whole of the world is changed.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Various photographs taken during our Sunday celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Although our churches are empty because of governmental closures, they are filled with all of us who make up the Body of Christ, including those who are part of the Church Triumphant in heaven.

Monday May 11, 2020 / April 28, 2020
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Apostles Jason and Sosipater of the Seventy, and their companions: Martyrs Saturninus, Jakischolus (Inischolus), Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius, Mammius, the Virgin Cercyra, and Christodolus the Ethiopian, at Corfu (1st. c.).
Martyrs Dada, Maximus, and Quintilian at Dorostolum (286).
Virgin-martyr Anna (1940).
St. Cyril, bishop of Turov (1183).
Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon, and Vitalis, who were converted by Apostles Jason and Sosipater.
Venerable Auxibius, bishop of Soli in Cyprus (102).
Venerable Cyriacus, abbot of Kargopol (Vologda) (1462).
Venerable Cronan, abbot of Roscrea, Ireland (7th c.) (Celtic & British).
Martyr John of Romania (Greek).
Nine Martyrs of Cyzicus. (Greek).
Miracle at Carthage (Greek).
Martyr Tibald of Pannonia (304).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 10:1-16

Cornelius Sends a Delegation

10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”

So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter’s Vision

9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

John 6:56-69

56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Turn Away

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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.

All of God’s Creatures

When we humans respect all of God’s creatures, we advance the Kingdom of Heaven

A few days ago we were forced, as a community, to decide what must be done regarding one of our ducks. The drake, named “Sir Francis Drake” by Monk Peter, whose job it is to tend to the needs of our chickens and ducks, was seen assaulting one of our chicken hens. This was not the first time he’d done this, but this time was particularly brutal. Even though the rooster intervened by grabbing the duck by the neck and pulling him off, the drake attacked the hen a second time, causing a terrible injury to her head.

The drake had been becoming increasingly aggressive, and we knew we had to do something. Since our ducks and chickens are raised for their eggs, killing the duck was not an option. When the hens are beyond laying age, we simply allow them to “retire”, but never kill them for food.

I finally made the decision that the only good option we had was to remove the drake, and take him down to the marina for release. Being near  the inner harbor would surely be a good solution, so I thought, since the duck could join wild ducks who flock on the water’s edge, and have a good, safe life.

After getting the drake in a large box, Father Peter held the box in his lap as I drove down to Dockton Marina, for the release. Sadly, things did not turn out as I’d planned. Once the duck was released on the shore, two male Mallards flew toward him, causing him to flee into the park in panic. It was at that time that I could clearly see that this duck, bred as a domestic duck, and therefore unable to fly, scurried furthing into the park, with a Mallard in hot pursuit.

The last sighting I had of Sir Francis Drake was watching him waddle across the road above the park, and head toward the Dockton Forest, where a sign at the trailhead warns hikers to be aware of bear and mountain lions. It was near dark, so the sight of this domesticated duck heading toward a night alone, for the first time, filled me with sadness.

That night I could not sleep, laying awake for most the night, with the image of Sir Francis Drake “heading into exile”, alone, and not knowing why his people had abandoned him like this, removing him from the only home he’d ever known. My plan to release him into the wild, thinking he’d be happy, had obviously gone terribly wrong.

I’ve not been able to get the image of that black duck, majestic as he was, running all alone into a darkened forest, out of my mind. I’ve continued to be tortured by this image, an image that I’ve been unable to rid from my mind, for I truly love animals, and would never have intentionally wanted to cause pain or fear in any creature.

Our monastic community first decided to raise chickens because I’d read about the factory-like production of eggs, with hens forced to live in small cages, never feeling the freedom of roaming freely, as God designed them to do. Regardless of where we buy our eggs, and meat, we should always do so with a caring heart, that we are not responsible for the suffering of any of God’s creatures.

In the beginning of the restoration of the unity in the entire fallen cosmos, Christ went out into the desert and “He was with the wild beasts, and the angels served Him” (Mark 1:13). These heavenly and earthly creatures who were destined to become the new creation in the God-Man Jesus Christ were assembled around Him.

There is a pointed reference to this restoration in the life of St Isaac of Syria, when he wrote: “The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity.”

In other words, the state of likeness to God in Christ to which he had risen enabled him to be with the wild beasts just as Adam was in his naming of them. And, I suspect the reason pets are so important to we humans is that they aid in our journey into the restoration of kinship between two different parts of creation. Our pets become like all the animals were in the beginning, when Adam was charged with naming them.

When the human can lie down with the cat, or the dog, or the chicken, (to paraphrase Isaiah) we aid the advancement of the Kingdom just a little, work to recreate Paradise just a little, and so give new meaning to such menial tasks as cleaning out the chicken coop, or the litter box.

Finally, as Metropolitan Kallistos Ware said, “Animals were with Adam and Eve in Paradise, so why on earth wouldn’t they also be in Heaven?”

I drove past the last place where I saw Sir Francis Drake, and made the sign of the cross, blessing him to live the remainder of his life, in peace, and without fear. May God make it so.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Lilly, our Siberian Forest Cat.

Friday April 24, 2020 / April 11, 2020
Bright Friday.
Bright Week. Fast-free
The Meeting of the Mother of God and Saint Elizabeth (movable Feast on March 30. If March 30 should fall between Lazarus Saturday and Pascha, however, the Feast is transferred to Bright Friday).
“Life- giving Spring” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Friday of the Bright Week).
Commemoration of the renewal (sanctification) of the Holy Theotokos temple near the Life-giving Spring in Constantinople (5th c.) (movable holiday on the Friday of the Bright Week).
“Pochaev” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Friday of the Bright Week).
Hieromartyr Antipas, bishop of Pergamus (92), disciple of St. John the Theologian.
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1938).
Venerable James, abbot of Zhelezny Bor (1442), and his fellow-ascetic St. James.
St. Barsanuphius, bishop of Tver (1576).
Martyrs Processus and Martinian of Rome (67).
Venerable Pharmuthius, anchorite of Egypt (4th c.).
Venerable John, disciple of Venerable Gregory of Decapolis (820).
St. Callinicus of Cernica, bishop of Rimnic in Romania (1868) (Romania).
Venerables Euthymius (1456) and Chariton (1509), abbots of Syanzhema (Vologda).
Venerable Guthlac, hermit of Crowland (714) (Celtic & British).
Hieromartyr Domninus, bishop of Salona in Dalmatia, and eight soldiers with him (100).
St. Philip, bishop of Gortyna, Crete (180).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 3:1-8

A Lame Man Healed

3 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.

Philippians 2:5-11

The Humbled and Exalted Christ

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

John 2:12-22

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

Luke 10:38-42

Mary and Martha Worship and Serve

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 11:27-28

Keeping the Word

27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”

28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

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.

The Pandemic Upon Us

Let this plague serve as a call to reorient our gaze

The State of Washington has greatly reduced the number of people who can be gathered in public places, including our churches. Given the lack of faith demonstrated by so many, blaming bishops and priests for the closure of churches, can we imagine how these same people would react should it become known that one of their fellow parishioners got the Coronavirus while attending the Liturgy?

We clergy need to protect our people, even though many of us must now suffer attacks from the very people we love and serve, while being accused of being fearful and unfaithful, as we close down our parishes to public services, trying as best we can to be obedient to the rules put down by our federal government. One bishop I know has suffered greatly by having had to endure such attacks on his own faithfulness, as he “closed down the hospital”.

This pandemic should be a reminder to all of us that we should be in prayer, seeking an end to the epidemic. This whole time of church closures must not be seen as based on fear, or a sign that the Church is betraying her people, but rather, a time for all of us to go deep within ourselves, worshiping before the Holy Trinity, pleading to God not only dispel the pandemic, but to heal the souls of people who have turned our sights to earthly pleasures, while distancing ourselves from the things of God.

Let this plague that has come down upon us, serve as a call to reorient our gaze, as we turn away from things of a secular nature, and look towards the things of God. Our focus must not be toward the material world, but toward heavenly things, the things of God. We can even see this pandemic as a blessing, really, since we are now asked by our Federal Government to refrain from gatherings of more than ten people, and sequester ourselves in our homes. What better way to continue our Lenten journey towards the celebration of Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!

With the closure of public gatherings across the country, including the closure of many churches, we now have been given the opportunity to turn from all secular temptations, such as concerts, sporting events, bars and restaurants, movie houses, and all other kinds of secular distractions, and focus on our inner life. We now have the opportunity of rekindling our personal prayer lives, joining other family members in using our prayer books, lighting lampada and candles before our family icons, and building up the “domestic church”.

This is not the time to simply spend hours playing Monopoly, or watching television, but a God allowed time to turn our collective gaze upon the Holy Scriptures, and building up our personal prayer life, something that has long been sidelined by earthly distractions.

Finally, let us see these trying times as allowed by God, for humanity’s sake. Let us see this pandemic as an opportunity to return our collective gaze upon the things that really matter, those things of an eternal nature. Let us repent, as a people who have long ceased to make faith central to our lives, and actively live as committed Christians.

Let us not place blame on those who lead us, but rather pray with earnest, “Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders (Prayer in Time of Epidemic).”  And let us remember that “the Lord seeks out the heart, not the appearance (Saint Paisius of Sihla)”.

Even if we are unable to attend services in our churches, we must remember that the grace imparted from the Bloodless Sacrifice is still efficacious, even if we are barred from the temple while the Divine Liturgy is being celebrated, just as we are blessed by the Holy Mysteries during those times when we are in attendance, but not receiving Holy Communion. Every time the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, grace pours out upon the people of God. Every time the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, the Church Militant here on earth, is united to the Church Triumphant in heaven. Every time the Divine Liturgy is served, we are united to Christ, and to each other.

Let us not give in to the lies of the Evil One, for God is with us, just as God was with His people during the Soviet persecution of the Church, when the services were forbidden, and churches were razed to the ground.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Wednesday’s Presanctified Liturgy in the monastery.

Thursday March 19, 2020 / March 6, 2020
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
The 42 Martyrs of Ammoria in Phrygia, including: Constantine, Aetius, Theophilus, Theodore, Melissenus, Callistus, Basoes, and others (845).
Venerable Job (Joshua in Schema) of Solovki (1720).
The uncovering of the PreciousEvCross and the Precious Nails by Empress St. Helen (326).
Monk-martyrs Conon and his son Conon of Iconium (270-275).
Venerable Arcadius, monk, of Cyprus (361), and his disciples Julian and Bulius.
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos “Chenstokhovskaya”, “Shestokhov” (“Hearth”). “Blessed Heaven” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in Moscow.
Translation of the relics (1230) of Martyr Abraham of Bulgaria (1229).
Venerable Fridolin, abbot, enlightener of the Upper Rhine (538).
Martyrs Cyriacus and 12 companions, who suffered under Diocletian in Augsburg (304).
Translation of the relics Sts. Cyneswitha and Cyneburga, abbesses of Caistor, and St. Tibba, nun, of Rynall.
Monk-martyr Maximus (Greek).
Martyr Euphrosynus (Greek).
Martyrs Julian and Eubulus (Greek).
St. Hesychius the Wonderworker, monk (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 11:10-12:2

10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”

11 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea.

12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart,
And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west;
Together they shall plunder the people of the East;
They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab;
And the people of Ammon shall obey them.
15 The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River,
And strike it in the seven streams,
And make men cross over dry-shod.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
Who will be left from Assyria,
As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.

A Hymn of Praise

12 And in that day you will say:

“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’ ”

Genesis 7:11-8:3

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord Shut him in.

17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

Noah’s Deliverance

8 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.

Proverbs 10:1-22

Wise Sayings of Solomon

10 The proverbs of Solomon:

A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing,
But righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.

4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.

8 The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.

9 He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.

10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble,
But a prating fool will fall.

11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.

14 Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

16 The labor of the righteous leads to life,
The wages of the wicked to sin.

17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.

18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool.

19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.

22 The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.

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.

Lord Jesus Christ

Let us taste the presence of Jesus Christ within us

We all need a good dose of silent prayer each and every day. Finding that perfect place in your home that can become your cave, or prayer closet, will afford you that sacred space wherein you can go deep into the heart and connect with God. That place wherein you can close off your family, your worries, your job, your distractions, and go deep into your heart wherein you will find the peace that comes from Christ.

The Jesus Prayer is the perfect prayer, for it is a prayer of adoration and praise, and a prayer that proclaims that Jesus is Lord and, as God, can grand mercy upon you. The simple prayer which invokes the Holy Name of Jesus can transform your life, and take you into the very Heart of God. This prayer is known as the Prayer of the Heart for the very reason that it is of the heart.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

Said with the aid of a Prayer Rope (thus bringing your body into the action of the prayer), this prayer accomplishes Saint Paul’s admonition that we should “pray always”. It is a prayer that takes you out of yourself and into communion with Christ. It is a prayer that can change your life because through this prayer you can taste the presence of Christ beside you.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Regarding the  Seriousness of the Pandemic

The Greek Metropolitan of San Francisco has closed down all the monasteries in his diocese. Saint John the Forerunner Monastery in Goldendale, WA closed before his decree, as the nuns wanted to protect their vulnerable, aging abbess. Metropolitan Gerasimos also mandated that parishes, “For all services, including the Divine Liturgy, clergy may conduct services with one chanter, and one or two necessary assistants. The participation of the faithful should be in accordance with the parameters set forth by the authorities, or by encouraging them to participate through the various online resources.”

Archbishop Benjamin of the OCA’s Diocese of the West, has closed all his parishes for at least the next two weeks.

ROCOR’S Archbishop Kyrill has closed Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco for at least the next two weeks. Additionally, ROCOR’S Metropolitan Hilarion has just asked the abbots of Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia,  and Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY., to not allow any visitors.

I am making the same decision for All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, WA. We will also be closed to visitors, including during the services, for at least the next two weeks.

We all need to sequester ourselves in our homes, and pray to God to bring this pandemic to an end.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday March 18, 2020 / March 5, 2020
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Martyr Conon of Isauria (2nd c.).
St. Nicholas (1919).
New Hieromartyr John priest and New Hieromartyrs Mardarius and Theophanes (1938).
St. Nicholas (Velimirovich), bishop of Ochrid and Zhicha, Serbia (1956) (Serbia).
Uncovering of the relics (1996) of St. Luke, hierarch-surgeon of Simferopol (1961).
Translation of the relics (1463) of St. Theodore, prince of Smolensk and Yaroslav (1299), and his children Sts. David (1321) and Constantine.
Monk-martyr Adrian, abbot of Poshekhonye (1550) and his fellow-ascetic St. Leonidas (1549).
Martyr Onisius of Isauria (2nd c.).
Martyr Conon the Gardener of Pamphylia (251).
Virgin-martyr Irais (Rhais) of Antinoe in Egypt (3rd c.) and with her Martyr Archelaus and 152 Martyrs in Egypt.
Martyr Eulogius of Palestine.
Martyr Eulampius of Palestine.
Venerable Mark the Faster of Egypt (5th c.).
Venerable Hesychius the Faster of Bithynia (790).
“Nurtured Up-Bringing” Icon of the Mother of God.
New Martyr John the Bulgarian (Mt. Athos), at Constantinople (1784) (Greek).
Martyr Archelaus and 152 Martyrs in Egypt.
St. Kieran (Ciaran) of Saigher, Munster (Ireland) (5th-6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Theophilus, bishop of Caesaria in Palestine (200).
St. Virgil, archbishop of Aries (618).
Sts. Basil (1249) and Constantine (1257), princes of Yaroslavl.
New Hieromartyr Parthenius, Bishop of Didymoteichon in Thrace (1805).
New Martyr George of Rapsana (1818).
St. Piran, mont of Perranporth.

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 10:12-20

12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”

13 For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
And by my wisdom, for I am prudent;
Also I have removed the boundaries of the people,
And have robbed their treasuries;
So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
14 My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people,
And as one gathers eggs that are left,
I have gathered all the earth;
And there was no one who moved his wing,
Nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”

15 Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
Will send leanness among his fat ones;
And under his glory
He will kindle a burning
Like the burning of a fire.
17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire,
And his Holy One for a flame;
It will burn and devour
His thorns and his briers in one day.
18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field,
Both soul and body;
And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 Then the rest of the trees of his forest
Will be so few in number
That a child may write them.

The Returning Remnant of Israel

20 And it shall come to pass in that day
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

Genesis 7:6-9

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

Proverbs 9:12-18

12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

The Way of Folly

13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.

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.

Our Period of Lenten Solitude

In such times of trial it is important to live in accordance with the Gospels

After further consultation with other monastery leaders and personal prayer and searching on the matter, we as a community have felt it to be important to make the Church services available to those who wish to come and pray to our Lord.

The city of Seattle and the Puget Sound area still remains one of the hot-spots of the Covid-19 virus, though, and we feel that traveling to this area (or any other hotbed of cases of infection) should only be undertaken in great need. This especially applies for children (who are easily infected), the immuno-compromised, and the elderly (who are more likely to suffer from serious illness or worse).

With this in mind, while on the one hand we will still close the gates to visitors in general, on the other we will still be available for people with pastoral needs, and we can be contacted about these. We will also be available to meet up on a case by case basis, as needed.

Furthermore, we will still conduct our coffee business and our online store will continue to operate as usual. We also welcome your generous financial contributions towards the support of the monastery. Like everyone else, this coronavirus is having a negative economic impact on our monastery.

Of course, if, God forbid, any of the monastics should contract the virus the monastery will be quarantined as a whole, and closed off to anyone else.

We ask for everyone’s continued prayers during these trying times for all, and remind everyone that while it is normal and right to take reasonable precautions in accord with one’s personal circumstances, it is equally important in such times of trial to live in accordance with the Gospel commandments and make oneself and one’s Saviour available to others. We are all in need of the Saviour, and sometimes God permits difficult times like this to draw both our and others’ attention to the “one thing needful”.

With love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Let us all join together in reciting the following prayers each and every day, until this pandemic has come to an end:

“More than all others we have sinned against Thee and we have transgressed, O Master, and if we have not acquired repentance instead of repentance accept our offering. And having set Thyself to mercy, as Thou art almighty, free Thy servants from death bearing sickness and grievous afflictions, groaning in pain we pray Thee, quickly hearken and have mercy.”

“We have sinned and we have transgressed, and therefore Thy righteous anger has visited us, O Lord, our God; and the darkness of death has encompassed us and we have drawn nigh unto the gates of Hades. But, with compunction, we cry out unto Thee, our God, in our infirmities: Spare, O spare Thy people, and destroy us not utterly, humbly we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.”

“O Lord, Who rules by life and by death: do Thou not enclose the souls of Thy servants in death, but turn aside from wrath and forsake anger, for our days vanish like smoke, and our strength has wasted away, and we are perishing utterly because of our sins. Be Thou merciful unto Thy servants who are repenting with tears, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.”

(Taken from the “Molieben Sung in Time of Devastating Epidemic and Death-bearing Pestilence”)

Tuesday March 17, 2020 / March 4, 2020
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Venerable Gerasimus of the Jordan (475).
Venerable Gerasimus, monk, of Vologda (1178).
St. Daniel, prince of Moscow (1303).
New Hieromartyrs Archpriest Dimitry Ivanov of Kiev (1933) and Priest Vyacheslav (Leontiev) of Nizhegorod (1937).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1938).
Blessed Basil (Basilko), prince of Rostov (1238).
Saints of Pskov martyred by the Latins: Venerable Ioasaph of Snetogorsk Monastery and St. Basil of Mirozh Monastery (1299).
Martyrs Paul, his sister Juliana, and Quadratus, Acacius, and Stratonicus, at Ptolemais in Syria (273).
Venerable James the Faster of Phoenicia (Syria) (6th c.).
Translation of the relics (938) of Martyr Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs (935).
St. Gregory, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus.
St. Gregory, bishop of Assos near Ephesus (1150).
St. Julian, patriarch of Alexandria (189).
St. Peter (Michurin), youth of Tobolsk (Siberia) (1820).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 9:9-10:4

9 All the people will know—
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up
The adversaries of Rezin against him,
And spur his enemies on,
12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

13 For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them,
Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
14 Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel,
Palm branch and bulrush in one day.
15 The elder and honorable, he is the head;
The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err,
And those who are led by them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men,
Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows;
For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer,
And every mouth speaks folly.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

18 For wickedness burns as the fire;
It shall devour the briers and thorns,
And kindle in the thickets of the forest;
They shall mount up like rising smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
The land is burned up,
And the people shall be as fuel for the fire;
No man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand
And be hungry;
He shall devour on the left hand
And not be satisfied;
Every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm.
21 Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh;
Together they shall be against Judah.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Assyria Shall Be Broken

10 “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed
2 To rob the needy of justice,
And to take what is right from the poor of My people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless.
3 What will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the desolation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your glory?
4 Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners,
And they shall fall among the slain.”

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Genesis 7:1-5

The Great Flood

7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Proverbs 8:32-9:11

32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”

The Way of Wisdom

9 Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2 She has slaughtered her meat,
She has mixed her wine,
She has also furnished her table.
3 She has sent out her maidens,
She cries out from the highest places of the city,
4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Forsake foolishness and live,
And go in the way of understanding.

7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he w

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.

Watchfulness

Watchfulness and the guarding of the heart

Watchfulness has been described by Elder Ephraim of Philotheou as “the axe which shatters the large trees, hitting their roots. When the root is struck, it doesn’t spring up again.” A conscientious attention to our thoughts is an important tactic in spiritual warfare, and is necessary if we are to have effective weapons that are stronger than those of the enemy.

Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain tells us about some of the consequences of not being watchful. “When our soul lives carelessly without watching over its thoughts, it will consequently fill up with dirty and sly thoughts. As a result, people start developing psychological problems which gradually pile up…. Some people, while they are found in this situation and come face to face with the problem itself, they do not realize it, and thus are unable to humbly confess to their spiritual father their fall. Instead, they look for a “secular” solution and consult a psychiatrist, who will inevitably prescribe medication… The only solution is to become aware of the problem and confess it to a spiritual father and then humbly follow his advice.”

Watchfulness and the Jesus Prayer are weapons that mutually reinforce each other, as constant prayer goes with watchfulness and attentiveness of the intellect. A Christian life without watchfulness is doomed to failure.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday March 16, 2020 / March 3, 2020
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Martyr Eutropius of Amasea, and with him Martyrs Cleonicus and Basiliscus (308).
Virgin-martyr Martha and martyr Michael (1938).
Venerable Piama, virgin (337).
Sts. Zeno and Zoilus.
“Volokolamsk” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1572).
St. Alexandra, of Alexandria (4th c.).
St. Caluppan of Auvergne (576) (Gaul).
St. Non, mother of St. David of Wales (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Winwaloe of Brittany (530) (Celtic & British).
St. John (Chrysostom) IV, the Catholicos of Georgia (1049) (Georgia).
Hieromartyr Theodoretus, Priest of Antioch (361-363) (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 8:13-9:7

13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
14 He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble;
They shall fall and be broken,
Be snared and taken.”

16 Bind up the testimony,
Seal the law among my disciples.
17 And I will wait on the Lord,
Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;
And I will hope in Him.
18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the Lord of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

The Government of the Promised Son

9 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

3 You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel [h]of fire.

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Genesis 6:9-22

Noah Pleases God

9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

The Ark Prepared

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Proverbs 8:1-21

The Excellence of Wisdom

8 Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
5 O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
7 For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
9 They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, I have strength.
15 By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles,
All the judges of the earth.
17 I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver.
20 I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

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.

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.

Anxiety and Unease

Courage and Faith verses Anxiety and Unease

If we are easily offended, or lose our peace of mind when someone treats us badly, inner peace can not be attained. The Christian who lives his life with internal strife and worry edifies neither other Christians, nor does he reflect anything of Christianity that would be attractive to those who have no faith. Such a person can even be a serious stumbling block for others because his religiosity seems to be the cause of his weakness.

Saint Paul says, “Love is not irritable or resentful….Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things (I Corinthians 13).” If we are always complaining, weeping, or worrying we are not living according to the directive of the Apostle Paul. Worry is based on a sentimentality of our Christian faith, creating a degenerate version of Orthodoxy that inspires no one, and ultimately leads to the death of our own soul.

The true Christian is patient with others, just as he is in need of the patience of his friends and family. As Christians we are called to be a faithful people, yet we often act in a way as to betray ourselves as faithless. We ought to live by the power of God, yet we give in to a weakness that is subject to anxiety and fear. We are the children of the Most High, empowered by our God for a life of holiness and faith. Let us live with courage and faith, that we might acquire peace of heart and shine before all men the Light of Christ.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: My Police Chaplains conference continues in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Wednesday February 12, 2020 / January 30, 2020
Week of the Publican and the Pharisee. Tone one.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom.
Hieromartyr Hippolytus, pope of Rome, and with him Martyrs Censorinus, Sabinus, Ares, the Virgin Chryse, Martyrs Felix, Maximus, Herculianus, Venerius, Styracius, Mennas, Commodus, Hermes, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monagrius, Amandinus, Olympius, Cyprus, Theodore the Tribune, Maximus the Presbyter, Archelaus the Deacon, and Cyriacus the Bishop, at Ostia (269).
Righteous Pelagia of Diveyevo (1884).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1933).
Martyr Stephen (1945).
Venerable Zeno the Faster of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
Venerable Zeno, hermit of Antioch and disciple of St. Basil the Great (414).
Martyr Theophilus the New in Cyprus (784).
St. Peter, king of Bulgaria (969).
New Martyr Theodore of Mitylene (Mt. Athos) (1784) (Greek).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich, Eugene Poselianin (Pogozhev).
St. Adelgonda, foundress of Maubeuge (Neth.) (680).
St. Bathild, queen of France (680).
New Martyr Demetrius of Sliven (1841).

The Scripture Readings

John 10:9-16

9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep,and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Hebrews 13:7-16

Concluding Religious Directions

7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carriedbout with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Matthew 5:14-19

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

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.

Ask For Repentance

We must pray for help in our struggle for repentance

In our struggle on the path to God, repentance must be the central theme. Only in repentance will we find the true meaning of life, for only in repentance can one enter into communion with God. This life has been given to us for one purpose, that we might be deified, and be united with God, as was His purpose from the very beginning. In our fallen state, our brokenness keeps us separated from God, for our darkened nous can not see clearly. Repentance changes our nous, clearing the way for complete union with Christ, and making us whole.

“Ask for repentance in your prayer and nothing else, neither for divine lights, nor miracles, nor prophecies, nor spiritual gifts—nothing but repentance. Repentance will bring you humility, humility will bring you the Grace of God, and God will have in His Grace everything you need for your salvation, or anything you might need to help another soul (Saint Paisios of Mount Athos).”

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Our longtime friend, Vlad, together with his child’s godparents, all from Romania, visited the monastery on Thursday.

Friday January 31, 2020 / January 18, 2020
33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Fish Allowed
St. Athanasius the Great (373) and St. Cyril (444), archbishops of Alexandria.
Venerable Cyril, schemamonk, and Venerable Maria, schemanun (1337) (parents of St. Sergius of Radonezh).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1919).
New Hieromartyr Eugene priest (1930).
New Hieromartyrs Vladimir, Nicholas, Sergius Alexander priests (1938).
Venerable Athanasius, abbot of Syanzhema (Valaam) (1550).
Venerable Athanasius of Novolok, monk (16th-17th c.).
Venerable Marcian of Cyrrhus in Syria, monk (ca. 303).
Martyr Xenia.
St. Maximus of Serbia, metropolitan (1516) (Serbia).
Venerable Silvanus, of Palestine, monk.
St. Leobardus of Marmoutier (6th c.) (Gaul).
Martyr Theodula and her companions Helladius, Boethius, Evagrius and Macarius of Anazarbus in Cilicia, (304).
St. Ephraim the Lesser, the Philosopher (1101) (Georgia).
Venerable Hieromonk Alexi (Shushania) of Teklati (1923) (Georgia).
St. Joachim, patriarch of Turnovo (1235).
St. Ninnidh of Inismacsaint (6th c.) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

Hebrews 13:7-16

Concluding Religious Directions

7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Matthew 5:14-19

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you,till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

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.

Relics

The place of holy relics in the Orthodox Church

Because of the revolution during the period of the Protestant Reformation, the veneration of the saints, came under attack, leading to the burning of the bodies of saints, depriving them of even a Christian burial, and thus leading to perhaps the worst sin of iconoclasm. We see a continuation of this iconoclasm demonstrated by our fear of the dead by our avoidance of even the tradition of Christian burial. Increasingly we choose to cremate the remains of our loved ones, thus denying the truth that we were created in God’s image and likeness. This leads to most Americans looking upon the Orthodox practice of giving the “last kiss” to our loved ones, prior to their burial, with revulsion. We even avoid the subject of death by having their remains cremated, without even gazing, one last time, upon our dead.

Given all this, is it any wonder our Orthodox practice of venerating the relics of those whom the Church has declared as saints, is looked upon as repulsive? The number of times I’ve heard people proclaim the myth that relics of the True Cross are so numerous as to be enough to build a ship, is sickening, whereas the actual count wouldn’t even be enough to reconstruct one cross.

That there is clear evidence for us to venerate the relics of the saints is made clear in Scripture (see 2 Kings 13:21), yet this ancient practice of venerating the relics of saints is hidden from most members of the “denominations”, all the while as we Orthodoxy continue to testify our faithfulness to this ancient Christian Tradition.

Just as we Orthodox realize the benefit of receiving the blessing of a priest, or the spiritual benefit of kissing the icon of a saint, we recognize the grace-filled blessing that comes to us when we venerate the relics of the saints.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: 1) The reliquary of Saint John the Wonderworker, Holy Virgin “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Russian Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco. 2) The icon and relic of Saint John the Wonderworker, in our monastery’s temple.

Saturday October 19, 2019 / October 6, 2019
18th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas (1st c.).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1937).
Virgin-martyr Eroteis of Cappadocia.
New Martyr Macarius at Kion in Bithynia (Mt. Athos) (1590) (Greek).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “O All-Hymned Mother”.
Venerable Cindeus of Cyprus, monk (Greek).

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 15:39-45

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial isanother. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Luke 5:27-32

Matthew the Tax Collector

27 After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” 28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.

29 Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. 30 And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

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.

Fruitless Discussions

The power and influence of good deeds

“For it is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15).

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic tells us in The Prologue from Ochrid that we are better off if we do not engage others in lengthy debates and fruitless discussions, but that we can better change their hearts by our love and good deeds. Arguing with others, even over matters of faith, is usually a fruitless venture, rarely leading the other to ponder the truth of your words. Better to demonstrate truth by holiness of life, patience, and kindness in our response. Entering into heated words most often leads to a standoff, where only the demons win in the end.

“It is difficult, my brethren, to dispute with an atheist; it is difficult to converse with a stupid man; it is difficult to change an embittered man. It is only with the greatest difficulty that you will convince an atheist, a stupid man, or an embittered man, with words.”

“If you argue with an atheist on his own diabolical terms, you simply strengthen the demon of atheism. If you converse with a stupid man in a spirit of derision, the darkness of stupidity will be made the greater. If you think to change a bitter man by anger, you will merely add more fuel to the fire of bitterness.”

Responding to the embittered man, the angry man, or the stupid man, while hoping to win him over, does nothing for him, and eventually gives power to the demon who would devour the man’s soul, and consume your own. Thinking you have to prove the correctness of your point of view does nothing for truth, but only gives power to the demons of pride, anger, and stupidity. The power and influence of good deeds always wins out in the end.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday June 19, 2019 / June 6, 2019
Afterfeast of Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
Venerable Bessarion the Wonderworker of Egypt (466).
Venerable Hilarion the New, abbot of the Dalmatian Monastery (845).
Venerable Raphael confessor (1957).
St. Jonah, bishop of Perm (1470).
Venerable Paisius, abbot, of Uglich (1504).
Venerable Jonah, abbot of Klimetz (1534).
Virgin-martyrs Archelais, Thecla, and Susanna, beheaded at Salerno (293).
“Pimen” Icon of the Mother of God (was brought to Moscow from Constantinople in 1381 by Metropolitan Pimen).
Five virgins of Caesarea in Palestine: Martha, Mary, Cyria, Valeria, and Marcia (Greek).
Venerable Attalus the wonderworker (Greek).
Martyr Gelasius (Greek).
Venerable Photius, monk (Greek).
St. Justus, patriarch of Alexandria (130).
Martyrs Amandus, Amantius, Alexander, Lucius, Alexander, Alexandria, Donatus, and Peregrius at Noviodunum in Scythia Minor (320).
St. Claudius of Besancon (699) (Gaul).
St. Basil of Mangazea, Siberia (1602).
St. Jarlath of Cluain Fois (560) (Celtic & British).

Scripture Readings

Romans 1:18-27

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Matthew 5:20-26

20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly,while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

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.

Drought

Encountering drought in one’s soul

Washington State is experiencing drought, and for the first time in ages, Western Washington is being impacted. When most people think of Seattle, they think of rain, lots of rain. Anyone who would choose to live in the Puget Sound region, better like rain, we tell our visitors. We love lush green forests, and rushing streams. We love the mist that rises over our lakes and rivers, and we love our foggy days. In other words, we Western Washington folk love our rain!

Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of history. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, having a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families. And, I don’t have to remind people of the devastation by fire that impacted California, these past few years.

As we all meditate on the dire possibilities, should this Pacific Northwest drought continue, it is perhaps a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted, with the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.

The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.

During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong directions, in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning to their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: My hot weather cassock, a gift from one of our bishops.

Thursday June 13, 2019 / May 31, 2019
Afterfeast of the Ascension. Tone six.
Venerable David of the Gareji Monastery and Lukiane, Georgia (6th-7th c.) (movable holiday on the Thursday of Holy Ascension).
Apostle Hermes of the Seventy (1st c.).
Martyr Hermias at Comana (160).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Philosoph Ornatsky with his sons Boris and Nicholas, in St. Petersburg (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Hierotheus, bishop of Nikolsk (1928), and his friend Hieroschemamonk Seraphim (Nikolsky) (1923).
Martyr Philosophus at Alexandria (252).
Martyr Marus the Magician who was converted on witnessing the martyrdom of Hermias.
Five Martyrs of Ascalon (Greek).
Martyrs Eusebius and Charalampus (Greek).
St. Eustathius, patriarch of Constantinople (1025).
Finding of the relics of New Martyr Nicholas the Deacon of Lesbos.
Translation of the relics (1591) of St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow (1569), to Solovki.
St. Philotheus, metropolitan of Tobolsk (1727).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 25:13-19

Paul Before Agrippa

13 And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus. 14 When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying: “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, 15 about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him. 16 To them I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’ 17 Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, 19 but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

John 16:23-33

23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World

25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”

29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, thatin Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

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.

Good Clutter

And the beauty of God’s creation

As long as I can remember I’ve been a visually oriented person. I’ve always liked being surrounded by family photos, paintings and photographs on the walls, bookshelves lined with books, and the density, variety and color of an English Cottage Garden. From childhood I’ve loved the beauty of a forest, the deep blue of a lake in mid summer, the colors of the sky at sunset, and the grandeur of a Gothic cathedral. While growing up in Spokane, I was always delighted when we went to the home of my great grandmother, for her home was the very best place for a visually oriented young boy, such as I. Her home, located on South Hill near Manitou Park and Gardens, was filled with potted plants, gilded framed paintings and family portraits, and Victorian divans and lamps.

In the same neighborhood was the home of my great aunt, who had a music room with a four manual pipe organ, with many of the pipes in the floor below. She’d purchased an old theatre organ, and had the whole works installed in her home!

My mother’s mom, whose home was on the north side of Spokane, was a small house, but filled in much the same way. My Grandma Haraldson had a mantel filled with family photos, and an old clock that always drew me in, with it’s chiming on the hour and half hour. It had belonged to her eldest sister, and had been given as a wedding gift back in 1882. I so loved this clock, my grandmother eventually gifted it to me, and it now graces the mantel of our monastery’s library.

All three of these women instilled in me a love of what some would call clutter, but what I found as comforting surrounds. I am, at the heart of it all, more of a Victorian man. Modern I’m not. Anyone who has seen our monastery’s library knows it, for it was designed and decorated by me, down to the massive fire place, chosen by me, and gifted by a San Francisco couple. Orthodoxy, my adopted Faith, with it’s use of icons, beautiful candle stands, fresco’s, carved shrines, and colorful vestments, was a perfect fit for that once young boy from Spokane.

When I left Sandpoint, where I attended high school, for college in Oregon, I was taken by the beauty of the dense foliage found in Portland, the old Park Blocks with their statuary, and the many fountains throughout the downtown core. Lots to take in, again, for a young man so visually oriented. It was during my college days in Oregon that I made my first journey through the Redwood Forest in coastal Northern California. These giants where, and are, a wonder to me. Coastal redwoods are the tallest living species on Earth. The tallest is 367.8 feet, and is 44 feet around at it’s base! To this day, whenever I travel to Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, I always return via the Redwoods, on Highway 101. These massive and ancient trees draw me in, and I always stop to walk trails, in solitude, with these trees, some of which were alive during the time of Christ.

Given all I’ve shared about myself, is it a wonder that Orthodoxy was like coming home? I beheld the interior of Holy Virgin Cathedral on the very same trip I encountered the Redwoods. I felt, in both cases, that I was standing in the presence of God. Both left me with a sense of the awesomeness of God, and transported me to another age, and connected me to that which is eternal. They both took me to a place where there is neither time nor space, but only the eternal.

I’m a visually oriented man, and the Church’s veneration of the holy icons, is of great and everlasting importance to me. As beautiful as a Gothic cathedral can be, it still falls short of the sense of the eternal that is imparted to me when I walk into our monastery’s temple, and am surrounded by “the cloud of witnesses”. Glory to God, Who has shown forth in His saints. And, Glory to God, Who has revealed Himself to us!

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: I flew in Reader Edward Pierson’s AirCam on Thursday, taking these aerial photographs of the monastery.

Friday May 24, 2019 / May 11, 2019
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Hieromartyr Mocius (Mucius), presbyter of Amphipolis in Macedonia (295).
Holy Equals-to-the-Apostles Methodius (885) and Cyril (869), first teachers of the Slavs.
Equal-to-the-Apostles Rostislav, prince of Greater Moravia (870).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1920).
New Hieromartyr Alexander archbishop of Kharkov (1940).
Venerable Sophronius, recluse of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
St. Joseph, metropolitan of Astrakhan (1671).
St. Nicodemus of Pech, archbishop of Serbia (Mt. Athos) (1325).
New Martyrs Dioscorus and Argyrus of Thessalonica (1808) (Greek).
Commemoration of the Founding of Constantinople (330).
Venerable Comgall, founder and abbot of Bangor (ca. 603) (Celtic & British).
St. Bessarion, Archbishop of Larissa (Greek).
Martyr Acacius of Lower Moesia (Greek).
New Martyr Olympia, abbess of Mitylene (1235) (Greek).
Blessed Christesia, called Christopher (1771) (Georgia).
St. Theophylact, bishop of Stavropol and Ekaterinodar (1872).
St. Wiro, Irish missionary bishop to the Netherlands, in Limberg (710) (Celtic & British).
St. Cathan of Bute (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Asaph, bishop of Llanelwy, Wales (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Mayeul, abbot of Cluny (994) (Celtic & British).
St. Tudy, abbot of the Tudy.
St. Comgall, bishop anf founder of Bangor Monastery (601).
St. Bassus.

The name day of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

The Scripture Readings

John 10:9-16

9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep,and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Acts 10:44-11:10

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Peter Defends God’s Grace

11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

John 8:21-30

Jesus Predicts His Departure

21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”

And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; butas My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in 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.

Clericalism

The corrupting influence of clericalism

Orthodoxy has traditionally avoided clericalism, yet in more recent times corruption of priestly service has enter the doors of the Orthodox Church. It has led some clergy to be motivated by a desire for power and prestige, with their sight so clouded as to endanger not only their own souls, but the souls of the laity who are in need of humble, fatherly, pastoral care, and who will suffer under their “pastoral” guidance.

This quest for honor has led many clergy to participate in a culture of abuse, where they even turn on one another in their sad attempt at aligning themselves with “officialdom”. The culture of abuse that is encouraged and fomented by those refusing to live in adherence with the simplicity and humility of Christ’s example, is not much different than that of the grade school pecking order where the bully builds alliances based on fear.

It is the same culture that chooses to ignore destructive behavior which undermines the message of the Church, and displaces the ministry of healing, replacing it with a worldly culture not unlike that of the fiefdoms of medieval Europe. It is a culture that can only be destroyed by implementing reforms that restore the Church as the divine institution founded by the co-suffering saviour.

As the Church founded by Christ, we Orthodox need to return to the basics. Our bishops and priests need to put off all pretensions, and give themselves over to being loving fathers to their people. We clergy need to lead our parishes with biblical standards based on love of our people, and love of Christ, and not rule by fear and tyranny. Priests need to lead not as local governors appointed by Caesar, but simple servants.

We are living in dangerous times, and the people of God must be given the spiritual tools needed to thrive as society falters, and Christianity itself is under increased attack. The road ahead requires bishops and priests to be more than religious officials, they must be holy men who lead their people as loving, caring, and merciful pastors.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday May 20, 2019 / May 7, 2019
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Commemoration of the Apparition of the Sign of the Precious Crossover Jerusalem in 351 A.D.
Martyr Acacius the Centurion at Byzantium (303).
Repose of Venerable Nilus, abbot of Sora (1508).
Venerable John of Zedazeni in Georgia, and 12 disciples: Venerables Shio Mgvime, David of Gareji, Anthony of Martq’ophi, Thaddeus of Urbnisi or Stepantsminda, Stephen of Khirsa, Isidore of Samtavisi, Michael of Ulumbo, Pyrrhus of Breta, Zenon of Iqalto, Jesse (Ise) of Tsilkani, Joseph of Alaverdi, and Abibus of Nekressi (6th c.) (Georgia).
Uncovering of the relics (1815) of Venerable Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos.
Synaxis of All Holy Russian Sovereigns Commemorated on Athos.
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos “Zhirovits” (1470) and “Lubech”(11th c.).
New Martyr Pachomius of Patmos (1730) (Greek).
St. Domitianus, bishop of Maastricht (560) (Neth.).
St. John of Beverley, bishop of York (721) (Celtic & British).
St. Lydia of Philippi (1st c.).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Euthymius the Great.

The Scripture Readings

Acts 10:1-16

Cornelius Sends a Delegation

10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”

So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter’s Vision

9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

John 6:56-69

56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Turn Away

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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.

Thoughts on the Oneness of Creation

What will we experience in the after life?

There is no formal doctrine in the Orthodox Church concerning the afterlife for animals, including our pets. Those Fathers of the Church who have expressed themselves on this matter were simply expressing theological opinions that have not become universally accepted, and remain known as “theologoumena” (personal opinion).

The Church has wisely refrained from pronouncing conclusively regarding the afterlife, for much remains unknown. We will not truly understand what awaits us after this life until we have entered into the afterlife. As Orthodox Christians, we simply accept the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed, reciting the words, “I look for….the life of the world to come.”

By God’s grace and our cooperation with this grace, we expect to inherit eternal life. We believe that all beings who have been a part of our lives will also be there. Some of us would even hope, along with C.S. Lewis, that it might be possible Paradise will also include our beloved pets, and even the animals that have contributed in a myriad of ways to our own well being. Would it be possible that the cow that provided milk for our children, and cheese for our table, might one day join us in a Paradise where there is no death and no pain?

C.S. Lewis describes something like this in his book “The Great Divorce” in which a sanctified lady in paradise is accompanied by a myriad of animals as she walks in glory through the fields of Paradise. As I have enjoyed the affection and loyalty of our monastery’s wonderful Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, it would seem to me a Paradise without this loving little creature, would be wanting. Even the eternal loss of our hens, who’ve provided us with so many wonderful, fresh eggs, and given me so much delight, as I’ve watched them enjoying their free range lives, would seem sad to me.

This is simply my opinion, and I look forward to the possibility of meeting with the many beloved dogs and cats whose lives I have shared, over my sixty-eight years. The saints saw animals as creatures of God, created as gifts of God’s love, and therefore resisted negligence or indifference when these animals were under their charge.

Saint Paul of Obnora was known to converse with birds, and Saint Seraphim of Sarov made friends with a bear. Saint Anthony the Great had a friendship with a lion. Saint Modestos viewed animals as sublime and mysterious gifts from God, and would often bless the livestock of the faithful – praying for their health and survival and glorifying in the vastness and beauty of all that God made. I myself, for some thirteen years, have blessed our cat Hammi, as I’ve let him out of the library after his night of sleep.

The traditional lands of Britain, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, all lands of the Celtic peoples, which, until the 11th century were part of the unified Orthodox Catholic Church and whose saints and spiritual life have much to offer the contemporary world, saw all of reality as a single unity. These saints knew, as all of the holy saints of the Church have known, that the wholeness of creation had been torn apart by the sin of Adam, and was restored by the saving act of Christ. In their lives they embodied the restoration of wholeness in creation, whether by communication with angels and spirits, or by kinship with all of the natural world.

Saint Athanasius said,  “(God) provided the work of creation also as a means by which the Maker might be known … Three ways thus lay open to them, by which they might obtain the knowledge of God. (First), they could look up to the immensity of heaven, and by pondering the harmony of creation come to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father.” Thus, the natural world, seen in the light of Christ, remains a way to know God, that is, a way of salvation.

The oneness of our relationship with Creation is brought to life with the story of Saint Kevin of Glendalough. While standing at prayer in a traditional Celtic monastic position with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross, a blackbird built a nest on his arm and laid her eggs. Saint Kevin, not wanting to disturb her nest, stayed in the position until the eggs were hatched. The saint is said to have stated, “It is no great thing for me to bear this pain of holding my hand under the blackbird for the sake of heaven’s king.”

In the beginning of the restoration of the unity in the entire fallen cosmos, Christ went out into the desert and “He was with the wild beasts, and the angels served Him” (Mark 1:13). These heavenly and earthly creatures who were destined to become the new creation in the God-Man Jesus Christ were assembled around Him. There is a pointed reference to this restoration in the life of St Isaac of Syria, when he wrote:

The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity.

In other words, the state of likeness to God in Christ to which he had risen enabled him to be with the wild beasts just as Adam was in his naming of them. And, I suspect the reason pets are so important to we humans is that they aid in our journey into the restoration of kinship between two different parts of creation. Our pets become like all the animals were in the beginning, when Adam was charged with naming them.

When the human can lie down with the cat, or the dog, or the chicken, (to paraphrase Isaiah) we aid the advancement of the Kingdom just a little, work to recreate Paradise just a little, and so give new meaning to such menial tasks as cleaning out the chicken coop, or the litter box.

Finally, as one of my favorite bishops said, “Animals were with Adam and Eve in Paradise, so why on earth wouldn’t they also be in Heaven (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)?”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: We are all still missing our beloved Hammi, the Norwegian Forest Cat.

Saturday May 11, 2019 / April 28, 2019
Second Week of Pascha. Tone one.
Apostles Jason and Sosipater of the Seventy, and their companions: Martyrs Saturninus, Jakischolus (Inischolus), Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius, Mammius, the Virgin Cercyra, and Christodolus the Ethiopian, at Corfu (1st. c.).
Martyrs Dada, Maximus, and Quintilian at Dorostolum (286).
Virgin-martyr Anna (1940).
St. Cyril, bishop of Turov (1183).
Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon, and Vitalis, who were converted by Apostles Jason and Sosipater.
Venerable Auxibius, bishop of Soli in Cyprus (102).
Venerable Cyriacus, abbot of Kargopol (Vologda) (1462).
Venerable Cronan, abbot of Roscrea, Ireland (7th c.) (Celtic & British).
Martyr John of Romania (Greek).
Nine Martyrs of Cyzicus. (Greek).
Miracle at Carthage (Greek).
Martyr Tibald of Pannonia (304).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 5:21-33

21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Apostles on Trial Again

22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”

26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Gamaliel’s Advice

33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.

John 6:14-27

14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Jesus Walks on the Sea

15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

The Bread from Heaven

22 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone— 23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks— 24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on 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.

Grace

The true Christian life is built on grace

Many people sail through their life thinking happiness is something they have created for themselves. Good fortune, and success in work and play, is something they’ve brought about, either through struggle, or by pure luck. Yet when they experience difficult times, or loss of the things that brought them comfort, they despair.

Sometimes it takes the loss of this established order, to enlighten our darkened hearts to the reality that only happiness that is of an eternal nature will never be lost. For such a man, there is nothing that can take away from the comfort and security he experiences that are of a faith based nature. This is because God’s grace fills his very essence with such peace, nothing, even loss of worldly comforts, can bring about despair.

How can we possibly despair when we know that the God we worship in Trinity, and Who has created us and our world, is become our Co-suffering Saviour, and has showered us with such an abundance of grace, that no hardship that comes our way can detract from the peace and joy that we have experienced in our life in Christ.

Compared to this grace filled life, all else is but folly. Grace has liberated us from all the temporal nature of earthly happiness, and has taken up residence in our heart, from which springs forth the healing that transforms us. This grace makes us whole, and our sickness disappears as though it never was.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: The prayer focus of my cell rule.

Thursday March 28, 2019 / March 15, 2019
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone two.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Martyrs Agapius, Publius (Pauplios), Timolaus, Romulus, two named Dionysius, and two named Alexander, at Caesarea in Palestine (303).
New Hieromartyr Alexis priest (1938).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1940).
Hieromartyr Alexander of Side in Pamphylia (270-275).
Martyr Nicander of Egypt (302).
Venerable Nicander, monk, of Gorodets (Novgorod) (1603).
New Martyr Manuel of Crete (1792) (Greek).
St. Hebarestes.
St. Zachariah, pope of Rome (752).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 11:10-12:2

10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”

11 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea.

12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart,
And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west;
Together they shall plunder the people of the East;
They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab;
And the people of Ammon shall obey them.
15 The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River,
And strike it in the seven streams,
And make men cross over dry-shod.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
Who will be left from Assyria,
As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.

A Hymn of Praise

12 And in that day you will say:

“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’ ”

Genesis 7:11-8:3

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lordshut him in.

17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

Noah’s Deliverance

8 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.

Proverbs 10:1-22

Wise Sayings of Solomon

10 The proverbs of Solomon:

A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing,
But righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.

4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.

8 The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.

9 He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.

10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble,
But a prating fool will fall.

11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.

14 Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

16 The labor of the righteous leads to life,
The wages of the wicked to sin.

17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.

18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool.

19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.

22 The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.

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.

Where is God?

How do we find God in an unbelieving world?

God is a merciful God, quick to forgive, quick to show mercy, quick to embrace us when we turn to Him. In all of eternity our God chose to create humankind in His image and likeness, offering His creatures the opportunity to commune with Him in the endlessness that is time. He’s given us free will, allowing us to choose, or not to choose, a relationship with Him. We, in our freedom, can choose between good (God) and evil (Satan), as is our choice.

We can usually tell the difference between good and evil. Murder and theft are obviously to be found in the evil camp, whereas kindness, philanthropic deeds, mercy and love, are in the camp of holiness, and the divine. Yet so many feel that God is simply a myth, a nice idea, but hardly believable. If this God they’d like to believe in were truly real, wouldn’t He make it easier to see Him, and seek Him out? If we are free to chose God, why doesn’t He make Himself easier to find? Why does this God expect us to believe in Him when we can not see Him, or feel Him? If there be a God, why doesn’t He simply make Himself known, letting us choose or not choose communion with Him?

These are questions that many people pose, at least to themselves. Many want to believe there is a God who cares for them, and is capable of making a difference in their day to day struggles, but just can’t quite surrender to belief. The nihilistic philosophy that has possessed the hearts of many young people today is based on the despair of an age that has seen so many wars, so much poverty, so many murders, so many children abused, and a seemingly hopeless future. How can there be a God when so much suffering abounds in this world? How can there be a God when even innocent people, good people, suffer?

Where is God? He is in the sunrise. He is in the glorious mountains, and the vast sea that stretches beyond the horizon. He is in the tender touch of a mother’s hand on her newborn baby. He is in the protective arm of the police officer who comforts the lost child. He is in the words of absolution pronounced by the priest after a good confession. He is in the smiling face of an old woman at the site of a young couple holding hands. He is in the wonder of the cosmos on a darkened night. He is in the giggle of a small child playing with his grandfather. He is in the warmth of a kitten held in one’s hand. He is in the cross that bore the Son of Man. He is in the bread and wine that become His body and blood. He is the transforming Spirit that changes hearts and makes men saints. He is closer to us than our own breath, more loving than a grandmother’s embrace of a sick child. He is everywhere, for there is no place He can not be. He fills all things. He is everywhere to be seen if only we look with open eyes and open hearts.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday March 27, 2019 / March 14, 2019
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone two.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Benedict of Nursia, abbot (543).
St. Theognostus, metropolitan of Kiev and Moscow (1353).
St. Rostislav-Michael, prince of Kiev (1167).
St. Euschemon, bishop of Lampsacus (9th c.).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of St. Theodore (“Feodorovskaya”) (1613).
Martyr Eustathius and his company at Carrhae, Mesopotamia (741).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 10:12-20

12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”

13 For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
And by my wisdom, for I am prudent;
Also I have removed the boundaries of the people,
And have robbed their treasuries;
So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
14 My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people,
And as one gathers eggs that are left,
I have gathered all the earth;
And there was no one who moved his wing,
Nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”

15 Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
Will send leanness among his fat ones;
And under his glory
He will kindle a burning
Like the burning of a fire.
17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire,
And his Holy One for a flame;
It will burn and devour
His thorns and his briers in one day.
18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field,
Both soul and body;
And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 Then the rest of the trees of his forest
Will be so few in number
That a child may write them.

The Returning Remnant of Israel

20 And it shall come to pass in that day
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

Genesis 7:6-9

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

Proverbs 9:12-18

12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

The Way of Folly

13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.

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.

The Lenten Struggle

Lent is the perfect time to struggle with the ego

Modern psychology has told us we must feel good about ourselves and instructed us to reject the idea of guilt and sin. Sin is seen as religion’s instrument for keeping people in line, making them dependent on an institution that should be relegated to the Dark Ages. In an age where man is elevated to being his own god, religion is seen as a sort of enslavement. Up with self! Down with guilt!

Self as the new god is worshiped and enthroned in the position of  utmost importance at the expense of community. This worship of self has contributed to the downfall of families and societal stability, where careers, social and financial gain, and self fulfillment, reigns supreme.

Divine love does not tolerate this elevated status of self, for the ego is the enemy of our communion with God. Worship of self dooms us to a life of total loss.

We were created for communion with God, and the worship of the ego has led us into a state of spiritual bankruptcy. The total meltdown of moral and spiritual well-being is the direct result of the turning away from spiritual values, and has resulted in the spiritual death of our nation. We need to return to the worship of God, and reject the worship of self.

The denial of guilt and sin is the ultimate example of our having accepted the lie perpetrated by the devil, who is the great deceiver. True happiness and true wealth come only through the fulfillment of our destiny, and that for which we were created, communion with God.  The destruction of the ego begins with repentance and the acquisition of a humble and a contrite heart. The period of Great Lent is the perfect time to do battle with the ego.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Tuesday March 26, 2019 / March 13, 2019
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone two.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Translation of the relics (846) of St. Nicephorus the Confessor, patriarch of Constantinople (829).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1919).
New Hieromartyr Gregory priest (1921).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1938).
Martyr Sabinus (Abibus) of Egypt (303).
Martyrs Africanus, Publius, and Terence of Carthage (3rd c.).
Martyr Alexander of Macedonia (305).
Martyr Christina of Persia (4th c.).
Venerable Aninas the Presbyter of the Euphrates.
Hieromartyr Publius, bishop of Athens and disciple of St. Dionysius the Areopagite (2nd c.).
St. Leander, bishop of Seville (596).
New Hieromartyr Stephen (Bekh), bishop of Izhevsk (1933).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 9:9-10:4

9 All the people will know—
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up
The adversaries of Rezin against him,
And spur his enemies on,
12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

13 For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them,
Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
14 Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel,
Palm branch and bulrush in one day.
15 The elder and honorable, he is the head;
The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err,
And those who are led by them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men,
Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows;
For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer,
And every mouth speaks folly.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

18 For wickedness burns as the fire;
It shall devour the briers and thorns,
And kindle in the thickets of the forest;
They shall mount up like rising smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
The land is burned up,
And the people shall be as fuel for the fire;
No man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand
And be hungry;
He shall devour on the left hand
And not be satisfied;
Every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm.
21 Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh;
Together they shall be against Judah.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Assyria Shall Be Broken

10 “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed
2 To rob the needy of justice,
And to take what is right from the poor of My people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless.
3 What will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the desolation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your glory?
4 Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners,
And they shall fall among the slain.”

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Genesis 7:1-5

The Great Flood

7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that areunclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Proverbs 8:32-9:11

32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”

The Way of Wisdom

9 Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2 She has slaughtered her meat,
She has mixed her wine,
She has also furnished her table.
3 She has sent out her maidens,
She cries out from the highest places of the city,
4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Forsake foolishness and live,
And go in the way of understanding.

7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.

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.

Forgiveness and Love

The capacity to forgive and the capacity to love

The capacity to forgive is directly related to the capacity to love, and it is in our act of forgiving others, that we find forgiveness. For it is in the turning away from our own self-concern, and our own self-will, that we begin to see that our salvation is directly linked to the salvation of our neighbor. To refuse to forgive our neighbor, is to cease having the capacity to love, “for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20)?”

The ability to forgive others requires work on our part, for we must cooperate with the grace that comes as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Since we have been forgiven much, we, in turn, must forgive much. The Lord Himself told us that we must forgive our brother seventy times seventy, no easy feat, to be sure. Yet it is this same Lord Who gives us the power, and the will, to be quick to forgive those who have hurt or offended us. It is this very Christ Who demonstrated the importance of forgiving others, when He forgave those who were crucifying Him. “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: The eastern portion of our monastery’s forest, which we have named Saint Seraphim’s Woods. Access is from the Valaam Trail.

Monday March 25, 2019 / March 12, 2019
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone two.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Theophanes the Confessor of Sigriane (818).
St. Alexander confessor priest (1933).
New Hieromartyrs John, Constantine priests, New Hieromartyr Vladimir (1938).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1943).
Righteous Phineas, grandson of Aaron (1500 B.C.).
St. Gregory the Dialogist, pope of Rome (604).
Venerable Symeon the New Theologian (1022) and his elder Symeon the Reverent of the Studium (987).
The Lydda Icon of the Mother of God Not-Made-by-Hands (1st c.).
Righteous Aaron the High Priest, brother of Prophet Moses the God-Seer.
Venerable Cyrus, monk of Alexandria (6th c.).
St. Alphege, bishop of Winchester, England (951) (Celtic & British).
St. Paul, bishop of Leon in Brittany (572).
St. Nicodemus of Mammola in Calabria (990).
Restoration of the Autocephaly of the Georgian Apostolic Church (1917) (Georgia).
St. Demetre the Devoted, King of Georgia (1289) (Georgia).
St. Theoctistus Dragutin of Serbia (1316).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 8:13-9:7

13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
14 He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble;
They shall fall and be broken,
Be snared and taken.”

16 Bind up the testimony,
Seal the law among my disciples.
17 And I will wait on the Lord,
Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;
And I will hope in Him.
18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the Lord of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

The Government of the Promised Son

9 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

3 You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Genesis 6:9-22

Noah Pleases God

9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

The Ark Prepared

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Proverbs 8:1-21

The Excellence of Wisdom

8 Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
5 O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
7 For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
9 They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, I have strength.
15 By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles,
All the judges of the earth.
17 I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver.
20 I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

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.

How to Forgive

We must put aside all resentment

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (1 Peter 3:9)

The decision to forgive another person a wrong done to us begins when we decide to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. To forgive someone does not mean that we forget what they did to us, for this may be impossible. The memory of the hurt might always remain with you, but when you decide to forgive the person who wronged you, the grip of resentment is put aside. When we forgive someone it is even possible the find yourself filled with compassion and empathy for the person, for the act of forgiveness opens the heart to God’s grace.

When we forgive someone, we are not denying their responsibility for hurting or offending us, nor are we justifying their act. We can forgive them without approving or excusing their transgression against us. The act of forgiving another opens our heart to the peace that brings closure to hurt and pain, and opens us up to the love and peace that comes from living a life without resentment.

If we find ourselves struggling to forgive, it is a good reminder to recall those hurtful things we’ve done to others, and remember when we’ve been forgiven. It is especially good to recall how God has forgiven us, and call upon Him to give us the grace needed to put aside our resentment, and truly forgive the other person. Being quick to forgive, and putting aside all thoughts of revenge will open our heart to a joyful and peaceful life.

Finally, if we pray for those who’ve offended us, we open the door to all kinds of possibilities. When we ask God to help the person whose been unkind and hurtful, our own hearts receive healing, for when we’ve forgiven others, grace abounds.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: They are now saying this is the worst winter storm to hit the Puget Sound Region in ninety-six years.

Tuesday February 12, 2019 / January 30, 2019
38th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom.
Hieromartyr Hippolytus, pope of Rome, and with him Martyrs Censorinus, Sabinus, Ares, the Virgin Chryse, Martyrs Felix, Maximus, Herculianus, Venerius, Styracius, Mennas, Commodus, Hermes, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monagrius, Amandinus, Olympius, Cyprus, Theodore the Tribune, Maximus the Presbyter, Archelaus the Deacon, and Cyriacus the Bishop, at Ostia (269).
Righteous Pelagia of Diveyevo (1884).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1933).
Martyr Stephen (1945).
Venerable Zeno the Faster of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
Venerable Zeno, hermit of Antioch and disciple of St. Basil the Great (414).
Martyr Theophilus the New in Cyprus (784).
St. Peter, king of Bulgaria (969).
New Martyr Theodore of Mitylene (Mt. Athos) (1784) (Greek).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich, Eugene Poselianin (Pogozhev).
St. Adelgonda, foundress of Maubeuge (Neth.) (680).
St. Bathild, queen of France (680).
New Martyr Demetrius of Sliven (1841).

The Scripture Readings

John 10:9-16

9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep,and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Hebrews 13:7-16

Concluding Religious Directions

7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Matthew 5:14-19

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

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.

Orthodoxy

A religion for the sick

Our Orthodox Church has always seen herself as a hospital for the soul, the place where her children can seek healing. It is within her walls that we find the medicine we need to make us holy (whole), and where we can find the means for transformation that opens the doors to the Kingdom of God. It is within her walls that we gain access to our true inheritance, and enter into communion with God.

Adolf Harnack, in his book “The Mission and Expansion of Christianity: The First Three Centuries”, wrote, “Christianity never lost hold of its innate principle; it was, and it remained, a religion for the sick. Accordingly it assumed that no one, or at least hardly any one, was in normal health, but that men were always in a state of disability.”

Christ is the Great Physician, and established His Church that we might all be healed of the sickness that has separated us from the Father. Nothing in this world offers this promise of healing, and nothing in this world can open the gates to Paradise. Only through Christ’s Church can we hope to be saved, and only through His Church can heaven and earth be united as one.

In the Church we find combined in one, a spiritual hospital, a clinic, a hospice, a therapeutic center, and a fitness center, for treatment to provide the spiritual cure, maintain wellness for its patients (faithful members). Is it any wonder, then, that the Church should be the very center of each and every day, taking precedence over everything else, including work, leisure time, and entertainment?

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday September 29, 2018 / September 16, 2018
18th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Saturday after the Universal Elevation of the Precious and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord
Great-martyr Euphemia the All-praised, of Chalcedon (304).
New Hieromartyr Gregory Raevsky priest (1937).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1942).
Translation of the relics of St. Alexis of Moscow (2001).
Repose of St. Cyprian, metropolitan of Kiev (1406).
St. Kushka of Odessa confessor (1964).
St. Sebastiana, disciple of St. Paul the Apostle, martyred at Heraclea (86).
Martyr Melitina of Marcianopolis (2nd c.).
Martyrs Victor and Sosthenes at Chalcedon (304).
Venerable Dorotheus, hermit of Egypt (4th c.).
Martyr Ludmilla (927), grandmother of St. Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs.
New Martyrs Isaac and Joseph, who suffered at Karnu, Georgia (808) (Georgia).
The Icon of the Mother of God, named “Support of the Humble”(1420).
Venerable Procopius, abbot, of Sazava in Bohemia (1053).
St. Ninian, bishop of Whithorn (Candida Casa) ( 432) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Edith, nun, of Wilton, England (984) (Celtic & British).
Venerable Cyprian of Serbia (Serbia).

The Scripture Readings

1 Corinthians 15:39-45

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from anotherstar in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

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.”

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.

The Oneness of Creation

What will we experience in the after life?

There is no formal doctrine in the Orthodox Church concerning the afterlife for animals, including our pets. Those Fathers of the Church who have expressed themselves on this matter were simply expressing theological opinions that have not become universally accepted, and remain known as “theologoumena” (personal opinion).

The Church has wisely refrained from pronouncing conclusively regarding the afterlife, for much remains unknown. We will not truly understand what awaits us after this life until we have entered into the afterlife. As Orthodox Christians, we simply accept the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed, reciting the words, “I look for….the life of the world to come.”

By God’s grace and our cooperation with this grace, we expect to inherit eternal life. We believe that all beings who have been a part of our lives will also be there. Some of us would even hope, along with C.S. Lewis, that it might be possible Paradise will also include our beloved pets, and even the animals that have contributed in a myriad of ways to our own well being. Would it be possible that the cow that provided milk for our children, and cheese for our table, might one day join us in a Paradise where there is no death and no pain?

C.S. Lewis describes something like this in his book “The Great Divorce” in which a sanctified lady in paradise is accompanied by a myriad of animals as she walks in glory through the fields of Paradise. As I have enjoyed the affection and loyalty of our monastery’s wonderful Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, it would seem to me a Paradise without this loving little creature, would be wanting. Even the eternal loss of our hens, who’ve provided us with so many wonderful, fresh eggs, and given me so much delight, as I’ve watched them enjoying their free range lives, would seem sad to me.

This is simply my opinion, and I look forward to the possibility of meeting with the many beloved dogs and cats whose lives I have shared, over my sixty-eight years. The saints saw animals as creatures of God, created as gifts of God’s love, and therefore resisted negligence or indifference when these animals were under their charge.

Saint Paul of Obnora was known to converse with birds, and Saint Seraphim of Sarov made friends with a bear. Saint Anthony the Great had a friendship with a lion. Saint Modestos viewed animals as sublime and mysterious gifts from God, and would often bless the livestock of the faithful – praying for their health and survival and glorifying in the vastness and beauty of all that God made. I myself, for some thirteen years, have blessed our cat Hammi, as I’ve let him out of the library after his night of sleep.

The traditional lands of Britain, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, all lands of the Celtic peoples, which, until the 11th century were part of the unified Orthodox Catholic Church and whose saints and spiritual life have much to offer the contemporary world, saw all of reality as a single unity. These saints knew, as all of the holy saints of the Church have known, that the wholeness of creation had been torn apart by the sin of Adam, and was restored by the saving act of Christ. In their lives they embodied the restoration of wholeness in creation, whether by communication with angels and spirits, or by kinship with all of the natural world.

Saint Athanasius said,  “(God) provided the work of creation also as a means by which the Maker might be known … Three ways thus lay open to them, by which they might obtain the knowledge of God. (First), they could look up to the immensity of heaven, and by pondering the harmony of creation come to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father.” Thus, the natural world, seen in the light of Christ, remains a way to know God, that is, a way of salvation.

The oneness of our relationship with Creation is brought to life with the story of Saint Kevin of Glendalough. While standing at prayer in a traditional Celtic monastic position with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross, a blackbird built a nest on his arm and laid her eggs. Saint Kevin, not wanting to disturb her nest, stayed in the position until the eggs were hatched. The saint is said to have stated, “It is no great thing for me to bear this pain of holding my hand under the blackbird for the sake of heaven’s king.”

In the beginning of the restoration of the unity in the entire fallen cosmos, Christ went out into the desert and “He was with the wild beasts, and the angels served Him” (Mark 1:13). These heavenly and earthly creatures who were destined to become the new creation in the God-Man Jesus Christ were assembled around Him. There is a pointed reference to this restoration in the life of St Isaac of Syria, when he wrote:

The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity.

In other words, the state of likeness to God in Christ to which he had risen enabled him to be with the wild beasts just as Adam was in his naming of them. And, I suspect the reason pets are so important to we humans is that they aid in our journey into the restoration of kinship between two different parts of creation. Our pets become like all the animals were in the beginning, when Adam was charged with naming them.

When the human can lie down with the cat, or the dog, or the chicken, (to paraphrase Isaiah) we aid the advancement of the Kingdom just a little, work to recreate Paradise just a little, and so give new meaning to such menial tasks as cleaning out the chicken coop, or the litter box.

Finally, as one of my favorite bishops said, “Animals were with Adam and Eve in Paradise, so why on earth wouldn’t they also be in Heaven (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)?”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday September 8, 2018 / August 26, 2018
15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Commemoration of the Meeting of the “Vladimir” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and the deliverance of Moscow from the Invasion of Tamerlane in 1395.
Martyrs Adrian and Natalia and 23 companions of Nicomedia (4th c.).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest and St. Gregory confessor, priest (1938).
Blessed Mary Diveyevo (1931).
New Hieromartyr Victor priets, Martyr Demetrius, Peter and New Hiero-confessor Archpriest Roman Medved of Moscow (1937).
New Hieromartyr Nectarius (Trezvinsky), bishop of Yaransk (1937).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Nicholas the Confessor, metropolitan of Almaty (2000).
Venerable Adrian, abbot of Ondrusov (Valaam) (1549).
The Pskov Caves Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, named the “Tenderness” (1542).
Blessed Cyprian of Storozhev, former outlaw (16th c.).
Venerable Adrian, abbot of Poshekhonye (1550).
Vladimir-Eletsk Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God (1395).
Venerable Tithoes of the Thebaid (4th c.), disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (4th c.).
Venerable Ibestion the Confessor, Egyptian ascetic.
St. Zer-Jacob, missionary of Ethiopia.
Venerable Adrian of Uglich (1504), disciple of St. Paisius of Uglich.
Finding of the relics of Venerable Bassian of Alatyr Monastery (17th c.).
Monk Ioasaph, prince of India (Greek).
Martyrs Atticus and Sisinnius (Greek).
The miraculous renewal of the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos in Harbin (Manchuria) (1925).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 1:39-49

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

The Song of Mary

46 And Mary said:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.

Luke 1:56

56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

1 Corinthians 4:17-5:5

17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.

18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

Immorality Defiles the Church

5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Matthew 24:1-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple

24 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these thingsmust come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will befamines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

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.

True Peace

True Peace is the Way of the Cross

In an age that seems to be forever witnessing wars between nations, and civil wars within nations, peace seems to be something that is about as possible as the alchemy that would turn metal into gold. Peacemakers struggle to find peaceful solutions for the conflicts between nations, political parties, religions, neighbors, and even within families. Peace is something we all hope for, but never seem to see in our lifetime. When peace comes to one part of the world, war breaks out in another part of the world. War seems to always have the upper hand, while peace seems only the dream of pacifists, dreamers, and poets.

In the nineteen-sixties, many had hoped peace was about to reign in our world, for pop philosophers and hippies thought they were ushering in a new age. In preparation for this Age of Aquarius, young people grew their hair long, wore flowers in their hair, and embraced a lifestyle that was to last forever. The musical Hair even touted the ideal, and a whole generation “tuned in, turned on, and dropped out”.

When the Soviet Union imploded, and with it we saw the end of the Cold War, many believed war would be no more. The West no longer had as an enemy, the Soviet Union.  It didn’t take long for all to realize peace was still beyond our grasp, and wars between nations and peoples was to continue. We were no longer at war with Communism, but with Islam, or other ideologies. So, peacemakers still struggle for the cause of peace, but on different fronts.

Peace is that evasive goal that still strikes hope in the hearts of men, however improbable its attainment may seem. We Christians have always had the acquisition of peace as a central theme in corporate prayers. The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom has petitions for peace throughout, and the first three litanies are petitions for peace. The priest even prays for “an angel of peace, and a guardian of our souls”. An Angel of Peace was assigned as our personal guardian angel, at the moment of our baptism.

Peace is such a central theme in the life of the Church that nineteenth century Russian Saint Seraphim of Sarov said, “Acquire peace and a thousand around you will be saved”. The personal acquisition of peace begins with repentance, that moment in time when we have a change of mind, and decide to follow the path to wholeness.

Peace is not just an idea, but an active force for change. When we pray in the Liturgy for “peace for the whole world”, we are praying not just for this world, but for the entire cosmos. We are praying for peace for people, peace for animals, peace for plants and rocks, peace for the sun and moon and stars. When praying for peace we realize that peace is a gift of grace from heaven, and this peace is beyond comprehension, for it is the peace of Christ.  It is “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)”.

True peace is bound up in the sacrificial offering of Christ on the cross. Peace is interdependent with sacrifice. The services of the Church bring us into the atmosphere of peace, for this peace comes from God. Peace can enter the world only if it takes root in the hearts of humans, and this peace requires sacrifice. The transformation of the cosmos begins with you. Peace enters the universe when it takes root in your heart.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday June 18, 2018 / June 5, 2018
4th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Hieromartyr Dorotheos, bishop of Tyre (361).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1931).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1943).
Translation of the relics of the Blessed Igor-George, tonsured Gabriel, great prince of Chernigov and Kiev (1150) to Chernigov.
Blessed Constantine, metropolitan of Kiev (1159).
Repose of St. Theodore Yaroslavich (1233), brother of St. Alexander Nevsky.
Finding of the relics (1599) of Venerables Jonah (1561) and Bassian, monks, of Petroma (Solovki).
Martyrs Marcian, Nicander, Hyperechius, Apollonius, Leonides, Arius, Gorgias, Selenias, Irenaeus, and Pambo, of Egypt (305-311).
Venerable Theodore the Wonderworker, hermit of the Jordan (583).
Venerable Anubius, confessor and anchorite of Egypt (5th c.).
Venerable Abba Dorotheos of Palestine (620).
“Igor” Icon of the Mother of God (1147).
Venerable Peter, monk, of Korisha, Serbia (1275) (Serbia).
New Martyr Mark of Smyrna, who suffered in Chios (1801) (Greek).
St. Illidius (Allyre), bishop of Clermont (385) (Gaul).
Hieromartyr Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, England, archbishop of Mainz (Germany) (754) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Christopher of Rome (Greek).
Martyr Conon of Rome (Greek).
St. Dorotheus, abbot at Chiliokama on the Black Sea (11th c.).
Sts. Agapius and Nicodemus, stewards of Vatopedi (14th c.).

The Scripture Readings

Romans 9:18-33

18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As He says also in Hosea:

“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”

29 And as Isaiah said before:

“Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Present Condition of Israel

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Matthew 11:2-15

2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he [a]sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; thelepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

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.

Simple Living

Living a simple life contributes toward inner healing

Our monastery has a large organic vegetable garden, believing as Orthodox monks that we should give witness to sustainable living. Raising free range chickens, and eating only organic eggs, fits in with our overall goal of living as good stewards of the earth. We are hoping to come up with the needed funds to have the solar panels that were donated, mounted on the roofs of our library and monastic refectory, thus allowing us to set a good example to the island community of sustainable living.

As Orthodox Christians we must be concerned with how we impact the earth. Demonstrating sustainability and simple living is all a part of our overall plan to honor that which God has given us.

Our hens and ducks, like all animals, are God’s creatures. That they have feelings, as is quite evident to anyone who has raised them, requires us to treat them with respect and tenderness. By raising these free range foul, we are refusing to contribute to the pain and suffering that “egg factories” inflict on hens, forced to live an unspeakably horrible life cramped in small cages, and treated as egg producing machines, rather than creatures created by a loving God.

Living simple lives as good stewards of all that which God has given us, helps us to practice love and compassion. If we do not learn to love the natural world, and all animals, we can hardly expect to learn love and compassion towards other humans, and ultimately, to love God, the Creator of all. Simple living helps us avoid the temptations of overconsumption, and all the other distractions that keep our minds on things that do not support the spiritual life, and contribute towards our inner healing.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Father Martin working in our large organic vegetable garden, and Father Peter tending the ducks and chickens.

Wednesday May 30, 2018 / May 17, 2018
Afterfeast of Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

Apostle Andronicus of the Seventy and his fellow laborer Junia (1st c.).
Venerable Euphrosyne (Princess Eudocia) of Moscow (1407).
Martyrs Solochon, Pamphamer, and Pamphalon at Chalcedon (298).
St. Stephen, archbishop of Constantinople (893).
Translation of the relics (1551) of Venerable Adrian, abbot of Ondrusov (Valaam) (1549).
St. Melangell, virgin hermitess of Wales (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
Venerables Nectarius (1550) and Theophanes (1544) of Meteora (Greek).
Venerable Athanasius the New, wonderworker of Christianopolis (18th c.) (Greek).
Great-martyr Nicholas of Sophia (1555).
St. Jonah Atamansk, priest of Odessa (1924).

The Scripture Readings

Romans 1:18-27

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [e]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Matthew 5:20-26

20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly,while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

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.

Disappointment

Building our endurance and confidence

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise (Hebrews 10:35-36)”

When we find ourselves caught up in what we want, or what we think we need, we become despondent that things are not going the way we’d hoped. Disappointed, we start to wonder why God has failed to give us that which we’ve so sought after, that thing, or situation, that became the dominate theme of our prayers. Caught up in trying to reach a goal, and failing, we forget that it may not have been God’s will for us from the very beginning. Relying on our own notion of what we need, we end up disappointed, or even disillusioned, and we blame God.

Much of what we think we need is born from our own immaturity, for as we’ve focused on what we think we need, we fail to quietly surrender to the will of God, and fail to trust in the knowledge that God knows what we really need. We fail during such times to trust God, and surrender to His will for us. We forget that God knows what we really need, and fail to consider the long term good. When we quit struggling against the will of God, we find the grace sufficient to prayerfully enduring our trials, knowing that God gives us that which is salvific. Like a loving earthly father, our God allows us to endure that which will make us strong, and He will lead us to victory over our fallen nature. Prayerfully enduring trials will, in God’s time, make us stronger, and we will become more faithful children of the Most High.

This kind of faithful living leads us to know the truth of the words, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).” When we trust God, those moments of disappointment make sense, and the bigger picture is clearly set before us.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Monk Peter sounding the simandron, a monastic percussion instrument used as the first call to worship in monasteries. Tradition has it that Noah used a simandron to call the animals into the ark.

Sunday May 20, 2018 / May 7, 2018
Seventh Sunday of Pascha: The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Tone six.

“Chelnsk” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos named “Tenderness”(movable holiday on the 7th Sunday of Pascha).
Commemoration of the Apparition of the Sign of the Precious Cross over Jerusalem in 351 A.D.
Martyr Acacius the Centurion at Byzantium (303).
Repose of Venerable Nilus, abbot of Sora (1508).
Venerable John of Zedazeni in Georgia, and 12 disciples: Venerables Shio Mgvime, David of Gareji, Anthony of Martq’ophi, Thaddeus of Urbnisi or Stepantsminda, Stephen of Khirsa, Isidore of Samtavisi, Michael of Ulumbo, Pyrrhus of Breta, Zenon of Iqalto, Jesse (Ise) of Tsilkani, Joseph of Alaverdi, and Abibus of Nekressi (6th c.) (Georgia).
Uncovering of the relics (1815) of Venerable Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos.
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos “Zhirovits” (1470) and “Lubech” (11th c.).
New Martyr Pachomius of Patmos (1730) (Greek).
St. Domitianus, bishop of Maastricht (560) (Neth.).
St. John of Beverley, bishop of York (721) (Celtic & British).
St. Lydia of Philippi (1st c.).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Euthymius the Great.

The Scripture Readings

John 21:1-14

Breakfast by the Sea

21 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”

They answered Him, “No.”

6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

Acts 20:16-18

16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.

The Ephesian Elders Exhorted

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,

Acts 20:28-36

28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

John 17:1-13

Jesus Prays for Himself

17 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, andYours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

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.

Cloud of Witnesses

The saints are alive in Christ Jesus

Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent.

The saints show us what a glorious destiny we have in God, and through the example of their lives, point the way to our becoming “partakers of divine nature.” The saints, as the cloud of witnesses in heaven, are present in the divine services, worshiping the Holy Trinity with us. They, as our friends, intercede before the Throne of God on our behalf, having won the good fight, and we are encouraged by the memory and example of their lives, as we struggle on our own path to God.

It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world: sinners who think they are saints, and saints who know they are sinners. A saint is a Christian who lets God’s light shine through, and who’s life has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We venerate the Saints as we seek their intercession with God, but we adore and worship only God in Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We venerate the Images (Icons) as well as the relics of the saints and martyrs. Yet according to the decisions and Canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, this veneration relates not to the icons as such, but to their prototypes, or to the persons whom they represent.

The interior walls of our temples are adorned with the icons and frescoes of the saints as a reminder that we are surrounded by the cloud of witnesses, the saints, and that the Church Militant (here on earth) is not separated from the Church Triumphant (in heaven). In Christ, death does not divide us, for the saints are not dead, but alive in Christ Jesus.

Glory to Jesus Christ, Who is glorified in His saints.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: The icon of the Protection of the Holy Virgin was painted by Matushka Ann Margitich, while the icon of Saint Gregory the Theologian was painted by John Shayne Swenson.

Friday May 4, 2018 / April 21, 2018

Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Hieromartyr Januarius, bishop of Benevento, and his companions: Festus, Proclus, and Sosius, deacons; Desiderius, reader; and Eutychius and Acutius, laymen, at Pozzuoli (305).
Hieromartyr Theodore of Perge in Pamphylia, his mother Philippa, and Martyrs Dioscorus, Socrates, and Dionysius (2nd c.).
Uncovering of the relics (1999) of St. Theodore of Sanaxar (1791).
St. Alexis, priest of Bortsumany, Nizhni-Novgorod (1848).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1918).
St. Nicholas confessor, priest (1933).
New Hieromartyr Alexis priest (1938).
New Hieromartyr Protopresbyter Basil Martysz of Teratyn (Chelm and Podlasie, Poland) (1945).
Martyrs Isaacius, Apollo, and Codratus of Nicomedia (303).
St. Maximus (Maximian), patriarch of Constantinople (434).
The Mozdok Icon of the Mother of God.
Martyr Alexandra the Empress (303).
Venerable Jakov (James) of Stromynsk.
St. Niphon, bishop of Novgorod (Kiev Caves).
Venerable Beuno, abbot of Clynnog, England (ca. 640) (Celtic & British).
St. Maelruba of Apur Crossan (722) (Celtic & British).
St. Ethilwald, hermit of Farne. (Celtic & British).
St. Anastasius of Sinai (beg. of 8th c.).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 10:44-11:10

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Peter Defends God’s Grace

11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

John 8:21-30

Jesus Predicts His Departure

21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”

And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in 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.

Taste the Presence

Taste the presence of Christ beside you

We all need a good dose of silent prayer each and every day. Finding that perfect place in your home that can become your cave, or prayer closet, gives you that sacred space where you can go deep into the heart and connect with God. It will be that place where you can close off your family, your worries, your job, your distractions, and go deep into your heart where you find the peace that comes from Christ.

The Jesus Prayer is the perfect prayer, for it is a prayer of adoration and praise, and a prayer that proclaims that Jesus the is Lord that can grant mercy upon you. The simple prayer which invokes the Holy Name of Jesus can transform your life, and take you into the very Heart of God. This prayer is known as the Prayer of the Heart for the very reason that it is of the heart.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Said with the aid of a Prayer Rope (thus bringing your body into the action of the prayer), this prayer accomplishes Saint Paul’s admonition that we should “pray always”. It is a prayer that takes you out of yourself and into communion with Christ. It is a prayer that can change your life because through this prayer you can taste the presence of Christ beside you.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday April 30, 2018 / April 17, 2018
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.

Hieromartyr Simeon, bishop in Persia, and those with him: Martyrs Abdechalas and Ananias presbyters, Usthazanes, Fusicus (Pusicius), Ascitrea, and Azat the Eunuch (341).
Venerable Acacius, bishop of Melitene (435).
Venerable Zosimas of Solovki (1478).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Michael confessor, priest (1935).
New Hieromartyr Theodore priest (1942).
Uncovering of the relics (1641) of Venerable Alexander of Svir (1533).
Martyr Adrian of Corinth (151).
St. Agapitus, pope of Rome (536).
Venerable Macarius of Corinth (1805).
St. Paisius, fool-for-Christ of Kiev (1893).
St. Ephraim the Great of Matskveri Monastery (9th c.) (Georgia).
Monk-martyr Donnan of Eigg and those with him (618) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 10:1-16

Cornelius Sends a Delegation

10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”

So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter’s Vision

9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

John 6:56-69

56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Turn Away

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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.

Spiritual Drought

Encountering drought in one’s soul

Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of history. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, having a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families.

With parts of the country experiencing continued drought, it is perhaps a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted, with the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.

The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.

During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong directions, in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning to their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco. The holy relics of Saint John the Wonderworker reside in this beautiful cathedral.

Saturday March 17, 2018 / March 4, 2018
Fourth Saturday of the Great Lent. Tone seven.
Great Lent. Food with Oil

Parents’ Saturday. Remembrance of the dead.
Venerable Gerasimus of the Jordan (475).
Venerable Gerasimus, monk, of Vologda (1178).
St. Daniel, prince of Moscow (1303).
New Hieromartyrs Archpriest Dimitry Ivanov of Kiev (1933) and Priest Vyacheslav (Leontiev) of Nizhegorod (1937).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1938).
Blessed Basil (Basilko), prince of Rostov (1238).
Saints of Pskov martyred by the Latins: Venerable Ioasaph of Snetogorsk Monastery and St. Basil of Mirozh Monastery (1299).
Martyrs Paul, his sister Juliana, and Quadratus, Acacius, and Stratonicus, at Ptolemais in Syria (273).
Venerable James the Faster of Phoenicia (Syria) (6th c.).
Translation of the relicts (938) of Martyr Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs (935).
St. Gregory, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus.
St. Gregory, bishop of Assos near Ephesus (1150).
St. Julian, patriarch of Alexandria (189).
St. Peter (Michurin), youth of Tobolsk (Siberia) (1820).

The Scripture Readings

Hebrews 6:9-12

A Better Estimate

9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus Heals a Deaf-Mute

31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. 32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

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.

False Religiosity

Without repentance, our Christianity is nothing but religiosity

It is very easy to live our lives in hypocrisy if we are not mindful of the pitfalls of the spiritual life. We can become Pharisees without even noticing, if we let our Christianity be artificially lived. Living our lives as though we have been rehearsed by a stage director, we will have accomplished nothing, and will remain no more than an actor. Putting on the mask of Christianity, is not living in Christ. An honest, daily examination of our conscience, together with regular guidance by our confessor, is the only way we can live a Christian life that will lead to transformation of the heart.

If we simply put on a show of being a Christian, without any true repentance, we will remain mired in false religiosity, and our heart will grow dark. Christ must be invited into the heart on a daily basis, through prayer, and honest examination of our conscience, without which there can be no spiritual growth. We can not play at being a Christian, for to do so will lead to spiritual death.

We must “put on Christ’, daily, and make sure our public expression of our faith is not being acted out for others, but is ever entering into a deeper relationship with this very Christ. Playing at spirituality only leads to spiritual death. If our life does not give witness to Christ in us, and if our attention is given over to self promotion, or a desire to please others, but avoids honest examination of our sins, we will be like fruit that dies on the vine.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday March 8, 2018 / February 23, 2018
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Hieromartyr Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (167).
New Hieromartyrs Alexis, Nicholas priests and Martyr Sergius (1938).
New Hieromartyr priest Nicholas Dmitrov.
Uncovering of the relics (1998) St Matrona the Blind of Moscow (1952).
Venerable Polycarp, monk, of Briansk (1620-21).
Venerables John, Antioch, Antoninus, Moses, Zebinas, Polychronius, Moses, and Damian, ascetics of the Syrian desert (5th c.).
Venerable Alexander, founder of the order of the Unsleeping Ones (430).
Venerable Moses, monk, of White Lake (1480).
Venerable Gorgonia, sister of St. Gregory the Theologian (372) (Greek).
Venerable Damian of Esphigmenou, Mt. Athos (1280) (Greek).
New Monk-martyr Damian the New of Philotheou, who suffered at Larissa (1568) (Greek).
St. John the Harvester of Stylos in Calabria (11th c.).
Venerable Cosmas of Zographou, Mt. Athos (1281).
New Hieromartyr Lazarus of the Peloponnese (1618).
St. Nazarius, abbot of Valaam (1809).
St. Mildburga, abbes of Much Wenlock..
Martyr Clement (Greek).
Martyr Thea (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 11:10-12:2

10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”

11 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea.

12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart,
And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west;
Together they shall plunder the people of the East;
They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab;
And the people of Ammon shall obey them.
15 The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River,
And strike it in the seven streams,
And make men cross over dry-shod.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
Who will be left from Assyria,
As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.

A Hymn of Praise

12 And in that day you will say:

“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”

Genesis 7:11-8:3

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark— 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lordshut him in.

17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit[a] of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

Noah’s Deliverance

8 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.

Proverbs 10:1-22

Wise Sayings of Solomon

10 The proverbs of Solomon:

A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing,
But righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.

4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.

8 The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.
9 He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.

10 He who winks with the eye causes trouble,
But a prating fool will fall.

11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.

14 Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

16 The labor of the righteous leads to life,
The wages of the wicked to sin.

17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray.

18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips,
And whoever spreads slander is a fool.

19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.

22 The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.

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.

Becoming a Philanthropist

Becoming our home grown philanthropic selves

As any history buff knows, these times we are living in can sometimes seem like reruns. News reports are filled with stories of wars, disasters, dictators, attacks on the innocent, increased crime, and the ever present persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. We’ve witnessed the increased attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt, as well as the expulsion of the entire Christian population from parts of Syria. Political unrest is happening in many parts of the world, and genocide is being perpetrated upon ethnic groups in parts of Africa. The number of families found homeless is nearing the percentages that were found in the Great Depression.

Times like ours call for us to become spiritually fit so that we can be beacons of light among those who have lost all hope. The challenges that face all of us are not for the faint of heart, yet the spiritually fit can triumph over anything, and we must continue trying to encourage this new generation of young people, and equip them for whatever may be coming.

We have before us many challenges, and hardships, and those who have developed a strong faith must be willing to sharing their faith based strength with those who are on the edge.

A study of history can show us that we are not the only people who’ve faced these problems, and we will not be the last. What is missing, it seems to me, is the sense of community, of a people who are united to find solutions, and not simply war with each other. The present political climate in the United States, with it’s polarization of good people, can not lead to the solutions we need to turn things around. What is needed is for people of faith to step forward and help those who have lost homes, jobs, and hope, and offer help in whatever way we can. Walling ourselves off from those who’ve fallen through the cracks will not make things better.

During times like these we must refocus our attention on the things that build up community. Rather than giving ourselves over to entertainment, or on-line friendships (which are not always bad), we can involve ourselves in active philanthropic activities, such as volunteering in soup kitchens, tutoring homeless kids, manning childcare centers that help parents have the freedom to find jobs, or perhaps  volunteer to be job counselors. We can look in on the elderly lady living next door, or the young mother whose husband is serving in the military. We can join others who serve Meals on Wheels programs that make sure the elderly and shut-ins eat balanced and nutritious meals.

We can volunteer to teach English as a second language to immigrant families, or drive seniors to doctor appointments. We can fill the gas tank of a struggling family at the next pump, or pay for the groceries for the single mother standing behind us in the checkout line.

When seeing someone on the bus that is looking lost in worry, we can offer to pray for them, or even invite them to church with us on Sunday. We can purchase a few extra hamburgers, with the intention of giving them to the homeless people asking for spare change at the entrance to the fast food restaurant. We can offer to sit with a sick relative or neighbor, and let the caregiver have a few hours to get outside for some much needed leisure time. We an offer to take a neighbor out to lunch, who we know is going through some difficult times. We can buy a fistful of McDonald’s coupons, and give them to anyone who asks for a handout. The coupons are not that expensive, the person gets several meals out of them, and when you’re desperate for a meal, it’s a real treat. As we hand the person the coupons we can ask them to pray for us, so they are able to preserve their dignity, and feel less like a beggar.

Whatever struggles we have on our plate will seem like nothing, once we’ve given ourselves over in service to others. Even when we are struggling to make ends meet, the power of giving can change our life for the better. By becoming philanthropists, and focusing on others in need, our own problems will seem less serious. We can even rally fellow parishioners or neighborhood friends who feel the same way, and start a project together, and thus help a lot of people in need.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: This was taken on one of my favorite hikes, around Fisher Pond on Vashon Island.

Wednesday March 7, 2018 / February 22, 2018
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Uncovering of the relics of the Holy Martyrs at the gate of Eugenius at Constantinople (395-423).
New Hieromartyr Priest Michael Lisitsyn of Ust-Labinskaya, Russia (1918).
New Martyrs Joseph Smirnov protoierey, John Kastorsky deacon, Vladimir Ilinsky priest. John Perebaskin (1918).
New Martyr Theoktista Michailovna, fool-for-Christ of Voronezh (1936).
New Hieromartyrs Michael, John, Victor, John, Sergius, Andrew priests, New Hieromartyr Sergius and Antipa, Virgin-martyr Parasceva, Martyr Stephen, Virgin-martyrs Elizabeth, Irina and Barbara (1938).
Martyr Andrew (1941).
New Hieromartyr Philaret (1942).
Martyrs Maurice and his son Photinus, and Martyrs Theodore, Philip, and 70 soldiers, at Apamea in Syria (305).
Venerables Thalassius, Limnaeus, and Baradates, hermits of Syria (5th c.).
Venerable Athanasius the Confessor of Constantinople (826).
St. Telesphorus, pope of Rome (127).
St. Papius of Hierapolis (2nd c.).
Venerable Peter the Stylite of Mt. Athos (Greek).
St. Abilius, patriarch of Alexandria (98).
St. Titus, bishop of Bostra in Arabia (378).
Holy Nine Children of Kola: Guarami, Adarnasi, Bakari, Vache, Bardzini, Dachi, Djuansheri, Ramazi, and Parsmani (6th c.) (Georgia).
St. Leontius of Lycia (6th c.).
Sts. Babylus and his wife Comnita of Nicosa (7th c.).
Martyr Anthusa and her 12 servans (Greek).
St. Blaise, bishop (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 10:12-20

12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”

13 For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
And by my wisdom, for I am prudent;
Also I have removed the boundaries of the people,
And have robbed their treasuries;
So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
14 My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people,
And as one gathers eggs that are left,
I have gathered all the earth;
And there was no one who moved his wing,
Nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”

15 Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord[a] of hosts,
Will send leanness among his fat ones;
And under his glory
He will kindle a burning
Like the burning of a fire.
17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire,
And his Holy One for a flame;
It will burn and devour
His thorns and his briers in one day.
18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field,
Both soul and body;
And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 Then the rest of the trees of his forest
Will be so few in number
That a child may write them.

The Returning Remnant of Israel

20 And it shall come to pass in that day
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

Genesis 7:6-9

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

Proverbs 9:12-18

12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

The Way of Folly

13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
14 For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
15 To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.

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.

When Bad Things Happen

Where is God when bad things happen?

We often wonder why God allows bad things to happen, sometimes even questioning if God cares at all about the evil things that happen to good people. Yet we forget that our God created us in such a way that we can freely return His love for us, and that in this freedom, we can even love others. We have all been given the freedom to do what we want, and to live our lives the way we please. The Lord lets us do drugs. He lets us be disrespectful to our parents, or cruel to those we decide are beneath us. He lets us avoid paying our taxes, or commit fraud for our own gain. God lets us avoid going to the services in our temples, while allowing us to choose partying with our friends on a Saturday night, over communing with our Creator God.

Our God allows us to spend all our time pursuing entertainment, and mindlessly focusing on social networking, to the exclusion of communing with Him. He lets us speed and cross the centerline into oncoming traffic, and although He doesn’t like it when we do, He refrains from forcing Himself on us.  He lets us make bad decisions, but is sad because He knows what will come of it.

Our God, Who is ever loving, caring, and compassionate, watches over each and every one of us. God even has hopes and plans for us just like our families do. But just like our earthly parents, He allows us to make our own choices on what we want to do, and, like our friends and families, is saddened when we make bad choices. Bad things happen, not because God doesn’t care, but because, in our free will, we, His creatures, make bad things happen by choosing  to do what we want, regardless of the consequences.

Finally, we live in a fallen world. This is not God’s doing, but our own. God did not create evil, we did, and the end result was that death entered our world. Christ came to destroy the power of death by His own death, and holy resurrection.

Love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: The Point Defiance Ferry to Vashon Island.

Tuesday March 6, 2018 / February 21, 2018
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Venerable Timothy of Symbola in Bithynia (795).
St. Eustathius (Eustace), archbishop of Antioch (337).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander, Daniel and Gregory priests (1930).
New Hieromartyr Constantine priest, Paul deacon (1938).
Virgin-Martyr Olga (1938).
St. George, bishop of Amastris on the Black Sea (805).
“Kozelshchanskaya” (1881) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.
St. John the Scholastic, patriarch of Constantinople (577).
St. Zachariah, patriarch of Jerusalem (633).
Hieromartyr Severian, bishop of Scythopolis (452).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 9:9-10:4

9 All the people will know—
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up
The adversaries of Rezin against him,
And spur his enemies on,
12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

13 For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them,
Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
14 Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel,
Palm branch and bulrush in one day.
15 The elder and honorable, he is the head;
The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err,
And those who are led by them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men,
Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows;
For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer,
And every mouth speaks folly.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

18 For wickedness burns as the fire;
It shall devour the briers and thorns,
And kindle in the thickets of the forest;
They shall mount up like rising smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts
The land is burned up,
And the people shall be as fuel for the fire;
No man shall spare his brother.
20 And he shall snatch on the right hand
And be hungry;
He shall devour on the left hand
And not be satisfied;
Every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm.
21 Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh;
Together they shall be against Judah.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

10 “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed
2 To rob the needy of justice,
And to take what is right from the poor of My people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless.
3 What will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the desolation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your glory?
4 Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners,
And they shall fall among the slain.”

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.

Genesis 7:1-5
The Great Flood

7 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that areunclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Proverbs 8:32-9:11

32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”

The Way of Wisdom

9 Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2 She has slaughtered her meat,
She has mixed her wine,
She has also furnished her table.
3 She has sent out her maidens,
She cries out from the highest places of the city,
4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Forsake foolishness and live,
And go in the way of understanding.

7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.

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.

The Journey

Transformation through the Lenten Journey

The Byzantine Court was filled with sycophants, busying themselves with building alliances that would help them rise in status and influence. During the thousand years of the empire, a few emperors were tricked into believing these sycophants were truly their friends, and could be trusted, when in actuality they were being played, and these flatterers were not their friends. These sycophants were quick to change allegiances should a better opportunity arise, and many an emperor was, in the end, betrayed by those whom they’d thought could be trusted.

These flatterers lacked courage, and in their dishonesty faked loyalty to the Emperor, and in the end, the whole of the Empire would suffer. Had these people been true citizens of the Empire, and not focused on their own advancement, the Emperor would have enjoyed the loyalty of a citizen who put the Empire before self. In the end, the Emperor would be betrayed, and the Empire would have suffered yet another round of intrigue.

As we continue on this Lenten journey, let us reexamine our own relationships. Are we sycophants, or do we speak from the heart, without thought for self promotion? Are we true friends to those with whom we share our lives, or are we always thinking only of ourselves? Do we really desire to serve those who are over us, or do we think only of our own advancement? Do we really desire to grow in the Faith, or are we only focused on the here and now? Are we like the emperor, only surrounding ourselves with flatterers, people who tell us what we want to hear, or are we ready to receive the feedback that would actually help us grown spiritually?

Let us in all humility beseech the Lord, during this Great and Holy Fast, and seek the transformation that is ours through His grace, offering ourselves as a living sacrifice, expecting, because of His loving kindness, to be made whole. Finally, let us not be flatters and betrayers of others, but true friends, always putting ourselves last. Let us love God above all else, and let us love others as ourselves. With God’s help, this Lenten journey will be the most spiritually profitable of them all.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday March 5, 2018 / February 20, 2018
Third Week of the Great Lent. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Venerable Leo, bishop of Catania in Sicily (ca. 780).
Abbot Macarius and 34 monks and novices of Valaam Monastery martyred by the Lutherans: hieromonk Titus, schemamonk Tikhon, monks Gelasius, Sergius, Varlaam, Sabbas, Conon, Silvester, Cyprian, Pimen, John, Simonas, Jonah, David, Cornelius, Niphon, Athanasius, and Serapion, and novices Varlaam, Athanasius, Anthony, Luke, Leontius, Thomas, Dionysius, Philip, Ignatius, Basil, Pachomius, Basil, Theophilus, John, Theodore, and John (1578).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1938).
St. Yaroslav the Wise (1054).
Venerable Agatho, wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (13th-l4th c.).
Beheading of Venerable Cornelius, abbot of the Pskov Caves (1570), and his disciple St. Bassian of Murom.
Hieromartyr Sadoc (Sadoth), bishop of Persia, and 128 Martyrs with him (342).
Venerable Agatho, pope of Rome (682).
Venerable Bessarion the Great, wonderworker of Egypt (466) (Greek).
St. Cindeus, bishop of Pisidia (Greek).
Hieromartyr Eleutherius, bishop in Byzantium (2nd c.).
St. Eleutherius, bishop of Tournai (531).
St. Eucherius, bishop of Orleans (740).

The Scripture Readings

Isaiah 8:13-9:7

13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.
14 He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble;
They shall fall and be broken,
Be snared and taken.”

16 Bind up the testimony,
Seal the law among my disciples.
17 And I will wait on the Lord,
Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;
And I will hope in Him.
18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the Lord of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

The Government of the Promised Son

9 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

3 You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Genesis 6:9-22

Noah Pleases God

9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

The Ark Prepared

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Proverbs 8:1-21

The Excellence of Wisdom

8 Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
5 O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
7 For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
9 They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, I have strength.
15 By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles,
All the judges of the earth.
17 I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver.
20 I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

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.

The Abbot and I

Hammi the Norwegian Forest Cat, and his Norwegian Abbot friend

Soon after moving our monastery from a rental house and into the temporary quarters of an old trailer house, Hammi arrived. We startled each other midway between the foundations of what is now the library and the trailer. I reached down to him and he came right over to greet me. Picking him up, I took him to the trailer and introduced him to Father Paul. Both of us had talked about the need of getting a cat as a mouser. This cat seemed to be ideal.

Father Paul was less enthusiastic, since we were both allergic to cat dander. Father was a bit upset when I opened a large can of salmon, giving a small portion to this visiting cat, yet within a week the cat was sleeping on Father Paul’s bed and we were wondering why we were not having allergic reactions to our new housemate.

From the beginning this cat was a real ham, so we named him Hammi. It was a number of years before we discovered Hammi was a Norwegian Forest Cat, known for having personalities similar to dogs, and NO cat dander. Perfect fit!

Anyone who’s ever visited the monastery has been met in the parking lot by our beloved Hammi. He always runs down to greet visitors, accompanying them up the steps to the courtyard. Whenever we are sitting on the porch or in the library, Hammi is usually nearby. If he sees one of us heading into the forest for a walk, Hammi is right there with us.

Hammi the Norwegian Forest Cat

Many Orthodox children are familiar with the book, The Abbot and I, a story told by a cat who resides in the cell of the abbot of a monastery. When children visit with their parents and meet Hammi and the Abbot, they are of course reminded of this book. I have a copy in my study and will gladly read it to visiting children.

Anyone who’s ever had a pet knows how important they can be to the life of a family. Children learn to be responsible and compassionate when caring for their pets. Older people, especially whose living alone, find companionship and unconditional love from their pets.

Our lives are enriched when we share our homes with animals, for that special bond which develops between we humans and our pets enriches and sustains us. Truly, pets are gifts from God.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday January 12, 2018 / December 30, 2017
32nd Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Sviatki. Fast-free

St. Macarius, metropolitan of Moscow (1563).
Virgin-martyr Anysia at Thessalonica (298).
Martyr Zoticus of Constantinople, feeder of orphans (4th c.).
New Hieromartyr Priest Sergius Florinsky of Rakvere, Estonia (1918).
Virgin-martyr Mary (1946).
Apostle Timon the Deacon (1st c.).
Martyr Philoterus of Nicomedia, and with him six soldiers and one count (311).
Venerable Theodora, nun of Caesarea in Cappadocia (8th cen.).
Venerable Theodora, nun, of Constantinople (940).
New Martyr Gideon of Karakallou, Mt. Athos (1818) (Greek).
Martyrs Magistrianus, Paulinus, Umbrius, Verus, Severus, Callistratus, Florentius, Arianus, Anthimus, Ubricius, Isidore, Euculus, Sampson, Studius, and Thespesius, who suffered under Julian the Apostate (4th c.).
Opening of the relics (1652) of Venerable Daniel of Pereyaslavl (1540).
St. Egwin, bishop of Worcester (717) (Celtic & British).
St. Tryphon, bishop of Rostov (1468).
St. Leo the Archimandrite (Greek).
St. Isaacius of Dalmaton (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

John 10:1-9

Jesus the True Shepherd

10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

1 Peter 1:1-2

Greeting to the Elect Pilgrims

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

1 Peter 1:10-12

10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

1 Peter 2:6-10

6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”

8 and

“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

12 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some.6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.

9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
11 This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

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.

The Afterlife

The afterlife, and the oneness of creation

There is no formal doctrine in the Orthodox Church concerning the afterlife for animals, including our pets. Those Fathers of the Church who have expressed themselves on this matter were simply expressing theological opinions that have not become universally accepted, and remain known as “theologoumena” (personal opinion).

The Church has wisely refrained from pronouncing conclusively regarding the afterlife, for much remains unknown. We will not truly understand what awaits us after this life until we have entered into the afterlife. As Orthodox Christians, we simply accept the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed, reciting the words, “I look for….the life of the world to come.”

By God’s grace and our cooperation with this grace, we expect to inherit eternal life. We believe that all beings who have been a part of our lives will also be there. Some of us would even hope, along with C.S. Lewis, that it might be possible Paradise will also include our beloved pets, and even the animals that have contributed in a myriad of ways to our own well being. Would it be possible that the cow that provided milk for our children, and cheese for our table, might one day join us in a Paradise where there is no death and no pain?

C.S. Lewis describes something like this in his book “The Great Divorce” in which a sanctified lady in paradise is accompanied by a myriad of animals as she walks in glory through the fields of Paradise. As I have enjoyed the affection and loyalty of our monastery’s wonderful Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, it would seem to me a Paradise without this loving little creature, would be wanting. Even the eternal loss of our hens, who’ve provided us with so many wonderful, fresh eggs, and given me so much delight as I’ve watched them enjoying their free range lives, would seem sad to me.

This is simply my opinion, and I look forward to the possibility of meeting with the many beloved dogs and cats whose lives I have shared, over my seventy-two years. The saints saw animals as creatures of God, created as gifts of God’s love, and therefore resisted negligence or indifference when these animals were under their charge.

Saint Paul of Obnora was known to converse with birds, and Saint Seraphim of Sarov made friends with a bear. Saint Anthony the Great had a friendship with a lion. Saint Modestos viewed animals as sublime and mysterious gifts from God, and would often bless the livestock of the faithful – praying for their health and survival and glorifying in the vastness and beauty of all that God made. I myself, for some eighteen years, have blessed our cat Hammi, as I’ve let him out of the library after his night of sleep.

The traditional lands of Britain, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, all lands of the Celtic peoples, which, until the 11th century were part of the unified Orthodox Catholic Church and whose saints and spiritual life have much to offer the contemporary world, saw all of reality as a single unity. These saints knew, as all of the holy saints of the Church have known, that the wholeness of creation had been torn apart by the sin of Adam, and was restored by the saving act of Christ. In their lives they embodied the restoration of wholeness in creation, whether by communication with angels and spirits, or by kinship with all of the natural world.

Saint Athanasius said,  “(God) provided the work of creation also as a means by which the Maker might be known … Three ways thus lay open to them, by which they might obtain the knowledge of God. (First), they could look up to the immensity of heaven, and by pondering the harmony of creation come to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father.” Thus, the natural world, seen in the light of Christ, remains a way to know God, that is, a way of salvation.

The oneness of our relationship with Creation is brought to life with the story of Saint Kevin of Glendalough. While standing at prayer in a traditional Celtic monastic position with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross, a blackbird built a nest on his arm and laid her eggs. Saint Kevin, not wanting to disturb her nest, stayed in the position until the eggs were hatched. The saint is said to have stated, “It is no great thing for me to bear this pain of holding my hand under the blackbird for the sake of heaven’s king.”

In the beginning of the restoration of the unity in the entire fallen cosmos, Christ went out into the desert and “He was with the wild beasts, and the angels served Him” (Mark 1:13). These heavenly and earthly creatures who were destined to become the new creation in the God-Man Jesus Christ were assembled around Him. There is a pointed reference to this restoration in the life of St Isaac of Syria, when he wrote:

The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity.

In other words, the state of likeness to God in Christ to which he had risen enabled him to be with the wild beasts just as Adam was in his naming of them. And, I suspect the reason pets are so important to we humans is that they aid in our journey into the restoration of kinship between two different parts of creation. Our pets become like all the animals were in the beginning, when Adam was charged with naming them.

When the human can lie down with the cat, or the dog, or the chicken, (to paraphrase Isiah) we aid the advancement of the Kingdom just a little, work to recreate Paradise just a little, and so give new meaning to such menial tasks as cleaning out the chicken coop, or the litter box.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Tuesday November 21, 2017 / November 8, 2017
25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers: the Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel.
New Martyr Michael the Blessed of Chernigov (1922).
New Hieromartyr Paul priest (1937).
Righteous Martha, princess of Pskov (1300). Venerable Tyssilio, abbot of Meifod (Powys) (7th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Willihad, bishop of Bremen (Germany).
New Martyr Michael the Blessed of Chernigov (1922).

The Scripture Readings

Matthew 13:24-30

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Matthew 13:36-43

The Parable of the Tares Explained

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Hebrews 2:2-10

2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

The Son Made Lower than Angels

5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Bringing Many Sons to Glory

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Luke 10:16-21

16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”

The Seventy Return with Joy

17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus Rejoices in the Spirit

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

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.

Spiritual Drought

Encountering drought in one’s soul

When most people think of Seattle, they think of rain, lots of rain. Anyone who would choose to live in the Puget Sound region better like rain, we tell our visitors. We love lush green forests, and rushing streams. We love our mountains, snow capped year round. We love the mist that rises over our forests, lakes and rivers, and we love our foggy autumn days. We love our rain!

Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of history. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, having a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families.

As we all meditate on the dire consequences of climate change, with increased flooding and hurricanes in some parts of the country, while other states experience longer periods of drought, it is perhaps a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted with the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.

The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.

During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong places, all in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning to their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: Our first rain in months, and we are rejoicing! Father Philosoph Uhlman, of Victoria, B.C. spent two days with us.

Monday September 18, 2017 / September 5, 2017
16th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.

Holy Prophet Zacharias and Righteous Elizabeth (1st c.), parents of St. John the Forerunner.
Martyrdom of St. Athanasius, abbot, of Brest, by the Latins (1649).
New Hieromartyr Alexis, archbishop of Velikoustiuzh, Martyr Euthymius (1937).
Martyrdom of the Holy Passion-bearer Gleb of Russia, in holy baptism David (1051).
Martyrs Thiphael and his sister, Thivea (or Vivea) (98-138).
Martyr Sarbelus of Edessa.
Virgin-martyr Rhais (Raisa) of Alexandria (308).
Martyrs Juventinus and Maximus at Antioch (4th c.).
Martyrs Urban, Theodore, Medimnus, and 77 Companions at Nicomedia (370).
Martyrs Abdas, Hormizd, and Sunin of Persia (ca. 424).
Appearance of the Holy Apostle Peter to Emperor Justinian at Athira near Constantinople.

The Scripture Readings

Galatians 4:28-5:10

28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

Christian Liberty

5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Love Fulfills the Law

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Mark 6:55-7:8

55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. 56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.

Defilement Comes from Within

7 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”

6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

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.

The After Life

Thoughts on the oneness of creation

There is no formal doctrine in the Orthodox Church concerning the afterlife for animals, including our pets. Those Fathers of the Church who have expressed themselves on this matter were simply expressing theological opinions that have not become universally accepted, and remain known as “theologoumena” (personal opinion).

The Church has wisely refrained from pronouncing conclusively regarding the afterlife, for much remains unknown. We will not truly understand what awaits us after this life until we have entered into the afterlife. As Orthodox Christians, we simply accept the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed, reciting the words, “I look for….the life of the world to come.”

By God’s grace and our cooperation with this grace, we expect to inherit eternal life. We believe that all beings who have been a part of our lives will also be there. Some of us would even hope, along with C.S. Lewis, that it might be possible Paradise will also include our beloved pets, and even the animals that have contributed in a myriad of ways to our own well being. Would it be possible that the cow that provided milk for our children, and cheese for our table, might one day join us in a Paradise where there is no death and no pain?

C.S. Lewis describes something like this in his book “The Great Divorce” in which a sanctified lady in paradise is accompanied by a myriad of animals as she walks in glory through the fields of Paradise. As I have enjoyed the affection and loyalty of our monastery’s wonderful Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, it would seem to me a Paradise without this loving little creature, would be wanting. Even the eternal loss of our hens, who’ve provided us with so many wonderful, fresh eggs, and given me so much delight, as I’ve watched them enjoying their free range lives, would seem sad to me.

This is simply my opinion, and I look forward to the possibility of meeting with the many beloved dogs and cats whose lives I have shared, over my sixty-eight years. The saints saw animals as creatures of God, created as gifts of God’s love, and therefore resisted negligence or indifference when these animals were under their charge.

Saint Paul of Obnora was known to converse with birds, and Saint Seraphim of Sarov made friends with a bear. Saint Anthony the Great had a friendship with a lion. Saint Modestos viewed animals as sublime and mysterious gifts from God, and would often bless the livestock of the faithful – praying for their health and survival and glorifying in the vastness and beauty of all that God made. I myself, for some thirteen years, have blessed our cat Hammi, as I’ve let him out of the library after his night of sleep.

The traditional lands of Britain, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, all lands of the Celtic peoples, which, until the 11th century were part of the unified Orthodox Catholic Church and whose saints and spiritual life have much to offer the contemporary world, saw all of reality as a single unity. These saints knew, as all of the holy saints of the Church have known, that the wholeness of creation had been torn apart by the sin of Adam, and was restored by the saving act of Christ. In their lives they embodied the restoration of wholeness in creation, whether by communication with angels and spirits, or by kinship with all of the natural world.

Saint Athanasius said,  “(God) provided the work of creation also as a means by which the Maker might be known … Three ways thus lay open to them, by which they might obtain the knowledge of God. (First), they could look up to the immensity of heaven, and by pondering the harmony of creation come to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father.” Thus, the natural world, seen in the light of Christ, remains a way to know God, that is, a way of salvation.

The oneness of our relationship with Creation is brought to life with the story of Saint Kevin of Glendalough. While standing at prayer in a traditional Celtic monastic position with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross, a blackbird built a nest on his arm and laid her eggs. Saint Kevin, not wanting to disturb her nest, stayed in the position until the eggs were hatched. The saint is said to have stated, “It is no great thing for me to bear this pain of holding my hand under the blackbird for the sake of heaven’s king.”

In the beginning of the restoration of the unity in the entire fallen cosmos, Christ went out into the desert and “He was with the wild beasts, and the angels served Him” (Mark 1:13). These heavenly and earthly creatures who were destined to become the new creation in the God-Man Jesus Christ were assembled around Him. There is a pointed reference to this restoration in the life of St Isaac of Syria, when he wrote:

The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity.

In other words, the state of likeness to God in Christ to which he had risen enabled him to be with the wild beasts just as Adam was in his naming of them. And, I suspect the reason pets are so important to we humans is that they aid in our journey into the restoration of kinship between two different parts of creation. Our pets become like all the animals were in the beginning, when Adam was charged with naming them.

When the human can lie down with the cat, or the dog, or the chicken, (to paraphrase Isaiah) we aid the advancement of the Kingdom just a little, work to recreate Paradise just a little, and so give new meaning to such menial tasks as cleaning out the chicken coop, or the litter box.

Finally, as one of my favorite bishops said, “Animals were with Adam and Eve in Paradise, so why on earth wouldn’t they also be in Heaven (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)?”

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: I just returned from British Columbia, where I spoke to members of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, BC, and Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church (OCA), in Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Mikhail Kikhail, MD, and his dear wife Nancy, of Coquitlam, B.C., graciously hosted me during my stay. I’ve included a photo of me with their sweet dog, Tiki.

Saturday September 2, 2017 / August 20, 2017
13th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.

Prophet Samuel (6th c. B.C.).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1938).
Hieromartyr Philip, bishop of Heraclea, and with him Martyrs Severus, Memnon, and 37 soldiers at Plovdiv in Thrace (304).
St. Hierotheus of Hungary (10th c.) and St. Stephen I king of Hungary (1038).
Martyr Lucius the Senator of Cyprus (ca. 310).
Martyrs Heliodorus and Dosa (Dausa) in Persia (380).
Putting in again the relics of St. John, bishop of Suzdal and St. Theodore, bishop of Rostov and Suzdal (1879).
Martyr Photina, at the Church of Blachernae (Greek).
St. Philibert of Jumieges (685) (Gaul).
St. Oswin, king and martyr of Northumbria (651) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

1 Corinthians 2:6-9

Spiritual Wisdom

6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Matthew 22:15-22

The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.”

So they brought Him a denarius.

20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”

21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.

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.

A Peaceful Heart

Don’t react, be at peace

Each day brings on new challenges regarding the health of our soul. Those moments when a family member or coworker makes a remark that is meant to anger us, are those times we need to guard our heart. When those around us are gossiping about someone, that is an opportunity for us to keep silent. The driver who has just cut us off on the freeway; the woman who pushes her way in front of us in the check out line; the rude neighbor; all are moments in time when we can take control of our emotions, and grow stronger spiritually.

Trials and temptations, when confronted with a peaceful heart, bring forth healing and make the soul that much stronger and healthier. Reacting does nothing but bring forth paralysis of the soul, binding us to our fallen nature. Receiving all these temptations with a peaceful heart and not reacting to outside negative stimulus, helps strengthen us for the next round of trial and temptation. Little by little, we will find that the Peace of Christ fills our every waking moment, and brings on a joyful spirit and a peaceful heart.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday August 21, 2017 / August 8, 2017
12th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

St. Emilian the Confessor, bishop of Cyzicus (820).
St. Philaret of Ichalka, Ivanovo (1913).
New Hieromartyr Joseph (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1937).
New Hieromartyr Nicodemus (Krotov) archbishop of Kostroma and Galich (1938).
Venerable Gregory, iconographer of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
Translation of the relics (1566) of Venerables Zosimas (1478) and Sabbatius (1435) of Solovki.
Second translation of the relics (1992) of Venerables Zosimas, Sabbatius, and Herman of Solovki.
St. Myron, bishop of Crete (350).
Martyrs Eleutherius and Leonides of Constantinople, and many infants with them.
Venerable Gregory of Sinai (Mt. Athos) (1346).
“Tolga” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1314).
Martyr Gormizdas of Persia (418).
New Martyr Triandaphyllus of Zagora in Thessaly (1680) (Greek).
Twelve Ascetics of Egypt (Greek).
Two Martyrs of Tyre (Greek).
Martyr Styracius (Greek).
New Martyr Anastasius (Spaso) of Radovishte in Strumica who suffered at Thessalonica (1794) (Greek).
St. Gregory, wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
St. Zosimas the Sinaite of Tumana Monastery, Serbia (14th c.).
Monk-martyr Euthymius, abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist at Garesja, Georgia (1804).

The Scripture Readings

2 Corinthians 5:10-15

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Mark 1:9-15

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[a] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Jesus Announces the Good News

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

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.

The Spiritual Dust Bowl

Encountering drought in one’s soul

Like much of the country, Washington State experienced a major drought a few years ago. When most people think of Seattle, they think of rain, lots of rain. This year, during a seven month period, we had a total of four feet of rain. The Pacific Northwest broke a hundred and twenty-two year record for rain, in fact. Anyone who would choose to live in the Puget Sound region, better like rain, we tell our visitors. We of the Puget Sound love lush green forests, and rushing streams. We love our mountains, snow capped year round. We love the mist that rises over our lakes and rivers, and we love our foggy autumn days. We love our rain!

Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of time. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, which had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families, in the twenties and thirties.

Perhaps this is a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted, with the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.

The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.

During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong directions, in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning to their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday June 17, 2017 / June 4, 2017
2nd Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. Fish Allowed

St. Metrophanes, first patriarch of Constantinople (325).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1918).
New Martyrs: Archbishop Andronicus of Perm (1918) and Archbishop Basil of Chernigov (1918).
Venerable Methodius, abbot of Peshnosha (1392), disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
Martyrs Frontasius, Severinus, Severian, and Silanus of Gaul (1st c.).
Martyr Concordius of Spoleto (175).
Hieromartyr Astius, bishop of Dyrrachium in Macedonia (110).
Venerable Zosimas of Cilicia, bishop of New Babylon (Egypt) (6th c.).
Hieromartyr Ioannicus, metropolitan of Montenegro and Littoral (1945).
Sts. Mary and Martha, sisters of St. Lazarus (1st c.).
Venerables Eleazar and Nazarius, wonderworkers of Olonets (15th c.).
Venerable Sophia of Thrace (10th-11th c.).
Venerable  John, abbot of Monagria near Cyzicus (761).
Venerable Alonius of Scete in Egypt (5th c.).
St. Titus, bishop of Byzantium (3rd c.).
Hieromartyr Apotacius and Martyrs Camarus, Zoticus, Gaddanus, Ninnitus, Julius, Attalus, Eutyches, Amasus, Carinus, Saturninus and 30 others, beheaded at Noviodunum in Scythia Minor (320).
St. Optatus, bishop of Milevum in Numidia (376).
St. Petroc of Cornwall (594) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

Romans 3:19-26

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

God’s Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Matthew 7:1-8

Do Not Judge

7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

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.

Empathy

Empathy allows us to see through the other persons eyes

I recently came across a study done by Arthur P. Ciaramicoli and Katherine Ketcham, published in a book titled, “The Power of Empathy”. In this book the authors discuss the attitudes and actions that contribute to empathy, which they believe is a teachable skill with far-reaching effects. In this excerpt they show how empathy leads to tolerance.

“Empathy leads us to tolerance, for only with empathy can we build bridges to others who seem so unlike us. Only with empathy can we reach out to people we initially want to push away because we imagine that in their brutality or their simplicity or their stupidity they are not like us. Empathy reminds us that the evil in others is a potential that we also carry within our own hearts. The capacity to hate, to exact revenge, to refuse forgiveness, even to take a life is in you as it is in me as it is in all human beings. That humbling realization and acceptance of our own shadow inevitably and unfailingly leads us to tolerance.

“Empathy allows us to see the connections between us, making strangers less strange, foreigners less foreign. When we adopt other people’s perspectives, we do more than step into their shoes — we use their eyes, we borrow their skin, we feel their hearts beating within us, we lose ourselves and enter into their world, as if we were them. I emphasize those words once again because they are so critically important and so often misunderstood. With empathy, we do not step into others’ experience to see it with our eyes — empathy demands that we see it with their eyes. Through that experience we are fundamentally changed, for we see with a sudden, startling clarity that we are the other. All the good and the bad that we see in them we can also recognize in ourselves. The hurt, the shame, the fear of humiliation, the desire for revenge — these are as much parts of our own souls as the quest for honesty, the humble spirit, the forgiving heart.

“Tolerance begins with the willingness to listen. Listening with empathy means that you put yourself aside and enter the other person’s experience. You are, literally, all ears. Tolerance also involves the ability to listen, which is not the same as the willingness to listen. Many people are willing listeners, but they interrupt, take off on tangents, offer advice, and pronounce judgments — in other words, they cut off empathy through their untutored listening skills. Listening is an art that takes time, discipline, and practice.

“A third step in the process of developing tolerance is to look for extenuating circumstances, which means, simply, that we seek a broader understanding of other people’s behaviors. When we can see the whole picture, rather than focusing in on one piece of it, we develop a more expansive range of emotional responses. Tolerance can be viewed as a way of understanding the ‘extenuating circumstances’ of other people’s lives.”

I find the results of this study to be profoundly Christian. There is nothing I could share that would add one iota to the words of these authors, so I simply share their thoughts for my readers to ponder, just as I myself am doing. It is, however, important to consider that the enemy of empathy is power. Those who are in positions of power over others, often have trouble being empathetic. For anyone holding positions of power, be they bosses, clergy, heads of departments, politicians, or even parents, empathy must be fostered by learning to listen to others. The department head who fires an underling because of office gossip, without taking the time to look at the whole picture, fails at being empathetic. When power becomes absolute, the ability to empathize is sacrificed.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday June 7, 2017 / May 25, 2017
Afterfeast of Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

Third Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist (850).
Virgin-Martyr Helen (1938).
New Hieromartyr Tavrion (1939).
St. Innocent archbishop of Cherson (1857).
Hieromartyr Therapon, bishop of Cyprus (4th c.).
St. Dodo, prince of Georgia (6th c.).
Synaxis of Saints of Volhynia: Saints Yaropolk, Stephen, Macarius, Igor and Juliana.
Commemoration of the reunion of 3,000,000 Uniates with the Orthodox Church at Vilna in 1831.
Martyrs Pasicrates, Valentinian, Julius and others at Dorostolum (302).
St. Aldehelm, bishop of Sherborne.
Martyr Celestine (Greek).
St. Olbian, monk (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 7:17-30

17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus

18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. 19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’” 21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, thelepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

24 When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

Romans 1:18-27

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Matthew 5:20-26

20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

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.

Sustainable Living

Stewards of what God has given us

Our monastery has two large organic vegetable gardens, and we purchase all our additional food from organic sources. We believe living without chemicals to be much healthier for ourselves and the planet. Raising free range chickens and ducks, and eating only organic eggs fits in with our overall view of living as good stewards of the earth. We are hoping to soon have the solar panels that were donated to the monastery installed, so we can give witness to the importance of sustainable living. As Christians we should be concerned with how we impact the earth, and sustainability and simple living is all a part of taking better care of our planet as custodians of what God has given us.

Our hens and ducks, like all animals, are God’s creatures. They have feelings, as is quite evident to anyone who’s raised them, and they deserve to be treated with loving care. I can only image the pain and suffering that “egg factories” inflict on hens that are forced to live an unspeakably horrible life cramped in small cages, treated as egg producing machines, rather than creatures created by a loving God.

It is important we treat all animals with love and respect. Our foul will live out their lives beyond their egg producing years and will never be slaughtered for eating. But if one is going to eat meat, he should make sure the animals destined for his table were raised with kindness and are not subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering.

The earth belongs to God, and the animals, plants, soil, and water, are all meant by God as gifts that sustain us as travelers into His Kingdom. Our God expects us to be good stewards of the natural world, and guardians of this material realm. We should never take for granted the beauty that surrounds us, and the animals that share the miracle that is life.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


Sunday May 21, 2017 / May 8, 2017
Sixth Sunday of Pascha: The Blind Man. Tone five.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian (98-117).
Venerable Arsenius the Great of Scetis (448).
Venerables Arsenius the Lover of Labor (14th c.) and Pimen the Ascetic (12th c.), of the Kiev Caves.
Translation of the relics (1785) of Venerable Arsenius of Novgorod, fool-for-Christ (1570).
Venerable Hierax of Egypt (5th c.).
The Monks Zosima and Adrian of Volokolamsk (15-16th c.).
St. Emilia (375), mother of Sts. Macrina, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa.
Venarable Cassian, recluse and faster of the Kiev Caves (13-14th c.).
St. Macarius of Ghent, archbishop (1012) (Neth.).
St. Iduberga, foundress of Nijvel (652) (Neth.).
Commemoration of the healing of blinded Stephen by the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Cassiopia.
Hiermartyrs Indract and Comp, at Shapwick.
St. Wiro, bishop of Utrecht.
St. Odger, hierodeacon, of Odilienberg.
St. Milles the Melode, monk(Greek)



The Scripture Readings

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Acts 16:16-34

Paul and Silas Imprisoned

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.

But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Saved

25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

John 9:1-38

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

9 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”

9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.”

He said, “I am he.”

10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”

11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool off Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”

12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?”

He said, “I do not know.”

The Pharisees Excommunicate the Healed Man

13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”

Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”

27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.

True Vision and True Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”

38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped 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.

Thank You!

For your continued prayerful and financial support

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations.All donations are therefore tax deductible. We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, and a little gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, raise bees, and have chickens and ducks for our fresh, free range, organic eggs.

The monastery is dependent on the generosity of our friends, supporters, and benefactors. Just as these have been difficult economic times for many American families, the monastery has also struggled to make ends meet, pay our monthly mortgage, heat the buildings, and place food on the table for ourselves, and our many visitors.

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal (visit our website at vashonmonks.com),  or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Thank you, and may God bless you,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday May 12, 2017 / April 29, 2017
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Nine Martyrs at Cyzicus: Theognes, Rufus, Antipater, Theostichus, Artemas, Magnus, Theodotus, Thaumasius, and Philemon (3rd c.).
Venerable Memnon the Wonderworker of Corfu (2nd c.).
Venerable Nektarius of Optina (1928).
Venerable Amphilochius of Pochaev (1970).
Martyrs Diodorus and Rhodopianus, deacon, at Aphrodisia in Anatolia (284-305).
St. Basil, bishop of Ostrog in Montenegro (Serbia) (1671).
Saint John of Romania.
Holy Martyrs of Lazeti (Georgia) (17th-18th c.).
Venerable Secundellas the Deacon, in Gaul (Gaul).
Apostles Jason and Sosipater of the Seventy (Greek).
St. John, metropolitan of Thebes, the new merciful one (12th c.) (Greek).
St. John Tolaius, patriarch of Alexandria (482).
St. Nicetas, abbot of Synnada (9th c.).
St. Arsenius, archbishop of Suzdal (1627).
New Martyr Stanko the Shepherd of Montenegro (1712).
St. Nicephorus of Sebaze (9thc.).
St. Endelienta (Endellion), nun-recluse of Cornwall.

The Scripture Readings

Acts 10:44-11:10

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Peter Defends God’s Grace

11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

John 8:21-30

Jesus Predicts His Departure

21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”

And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in 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.

Loving One’s Neighbor

Loving our neighbor requires commitment

When we commit to behaving as though we love others, making every effort to be kind and generous towards them, a wonderfully surprising thing happens. We eventually actually do love others. Learning to truly love our neighbor takes commitment on our part. We must will ourselves to learn to love everyone.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: A youth group from Annunciation Orthodox Church in Milwaukie, OR, camped over the weekend, did projects to help the monastery, and attended the services. On Sunday Subdeacon Gideon Pete of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Tacoma, WA, joined us for Liturgy, and Father Michael Johnson, second priest of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle, brought a group of parishioners on a pilgrimage to the monastery.

Monday May 8, 2017 / April 25, 2017
Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark (63).
Martyr Sergius (1938).
Venerable Basil Polianomerulsk (1767) (Romania).
Venerable Sylvester, abbot of Obnora (1379).
“Constantinople” Icon (1071) of the Mother of God.
St. Macedonius, patriarch of Constantinople (516).
St. Aninanus, second bishop of Alexandria (86).
Hieromartyr Stephen, bishop of Antioch (479).
Martyr Nice (Greek).
Eight anchorites who were martyred. (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 10:1-15

The Seventy Sent Out

10 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. 5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’ 12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.

Woe to the Impenitent Cities

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.

Acts 10:1-16

Cornelius Sends a Delegation

10 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”

So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually. 8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Peter’s Vision

9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

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.