World as Sacrament

The Church is a microcosm of the universe “Everything that lives and breathes is sacred and beautiful in the eyes of God. The whole world is a sacrament. The entire created cosmos is a burning bush of God’s uncreated energies. And humankind stands as a priest before the altar of creation, as microcosm and mediator. Such is the true nature…

Blog postponed

Dear Readers, Abbot Tryphon had a tumble today and hit his head while out hiking with the Salish Brotherhood of St. John the Wonderworker. He is being checked out at the hospital.  A head scan came back clear, so we are very thankful for that. But he does have a small fracture below his eye. Please don’t call the monastery…

The Heart

We must guard the heart As we are all filled with thoughts that flood our minds, let us consider each thought and decide whether it be our own, or those of the enemy of our salvation. If they be the latter they should be dispelled and given no room to linger. Negative thoughts that are allowed to grow in our…

Cremation

Cremation versus the Orthodox practice of burial The first time I ever attended a funeral service where cremation of the body of the deceased had taken place was in Portland, Oregon, many years ago. An Episcopal priest friend had died and had requested his body be cremated. Walking into the church and seeing a small box sitting before the altar…

The Need to Mourn

Mourning is an ancient ritual, one in which Jesus participated One of the most tremendously rewarding and challenging aspects of the priesthood is comforting people in their darkest moments of sorrow. Do not be mistaken, and think that priests, monks and chaplains are exempt from the pain of those whom they try to comfort, or that we have magical words…

Our Children

All important for the preservation of Orthodoxy When parishes are forced to close, it is not just because the children have moved away, and the old folks have died off. The problem is much greater than this. With increased numbers of immigrants joining parishes, often with the expressed desire to preserve their Russian identity, we can easily fall prey to…

The Church

A spiritual hospital, a clinic, a hospice, a therapeutic center, and a fitness center 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…

Dangerous Times

“What began in Russia will end in America.” ~(Schema-hieromonk Elder Ignatius of Harbin Manchuria, August 3/16, 1958†) As an American I have clearly seen, over these past forty years or so, a secularization of our nation, with the end result that evil is taking root. Consequently, the American people are being deceived by an atheism that is ripping our own…

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.…

The Gym

The similarities between the trainer and the spiritual father Just after my graduation from college I moved to Portland, Oregon, where I worked at various jobs, including waiting tables in an upscale restaurant (to this day, I’m a good tipper), a bartender in a small Irish pub (I’m mostly Scotish), and working as an orderly in a trauma center. All…

Surrendering

In surrendering we have victory over sin and death All that we have comes down from the Father of Lights. We should not become impatient, wanting more than we are ready to receive, for the Lord knows what is best for us. He measures His giving, according to our need, sometimes delaying the things we’ve asked for. When we give…

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…