Friday, August 22, 2014

The Dark Side
When we experience the "dark side" of the Church

For those who have experienced what has been called the "dark side" of the Church, the struggle to remain faithful to the Orthodox Faith can seem daunting. The dark side is the result of the sinful, fallen nature of all of us who make up the Body of Christ. It is that part of each of us that is yet to have been transformed, and made whole. This is especially difficult for pious believers when that dark side rears it's ugly head through those who serve the Church as her clergy. But if we see this dark side for what it is, and know that it is not actually coming from the Life of the Church, but from the great Enemy of our souls, we realize that our common fallen nature is vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, who as the enemy of God, attacks those who serve the Church with an especially hardened hatred. When priests and bishops are seen as operating in a shameful way, and we see no love in them, we can find ourselves wondering if there is anything to the Church. When the Church fails us, be it her clergy, or fellow members of a parish, we can feel especially betrayed, and wonder why we remain at all.

Like all human institutions, the Church can fall short of her calling, and her special vocation as hospital of the soul, can appear no different than any other human institution. Rather than receiving the needed love, and the resulting healing of the soul, the parishioner may feel as thought they've been abused. Parish intrigue can turn the hospital into an insane asylum, and we come away feeling hurt and disrespected. We look at political organizations, businesses, institutions of higher education, and other human based institutions, and see this dark side of the human condition, and we can see that this dark side is really not about the divinely instituted Church, nor her clergy, but about the Evil One.

When we look at our common enemy, we see that this dark side is really not about the Church, but about ourselves, and our own common failure to submit our whole selves, and all our life, into the hands of Our Saviour. It is in this submission to Christ, that healing will take place, and we will be made whole. That is the point in which we can stop blaming our clergy, or our bishops, and take the blame upon ourselves. The dark side is coming from within our own fallen nature, and it is we who are in need of acting according to the gospel message. We are the enemy of Christ, and it is our sin that is responsible for the dark side that resides within the life of Christ's Church.

 
When we confront our own fallen nature, and blame only ourselves for the debilitating dark side, we usher in the Light of Christ, and all is made whole. When we've done that, we are no longer able to see the sin of others, and we look upon everyone that seems to have failed us, in a new light. We look at them as Christ. Be it Christ crucified, or Christ glorified, we see only Christ. It is then that we emerge out of the long, dark tunnel, having been purified by the action of the Holy Spirit. We are made whole (holy), and the failures of others are no longer noticed by us, and we see only the love of Christ in the faces of our brothers and sisters. The dark side is transformed, and we are made stronger for having suffered as we did, and we will have experienced the truth in the saying that God allows difficulties, humiliations, and hardships, as the way to draw us closer to Him, and make us stronger.
 
When this happens, we will know that God is Our Father, and He desires His children to grow in wisdom and strength. Because of His great love for us, He allows us to experience pain and rejection, knowing it will make us stronger. Just as an earthly father knows an overprotected child does not grow in wisdom and strength, God, as the good father, changes us into loving, compassionate, and giving persons, and the darkness shall be no more.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon




Friday August 22, 2014 / August 9, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration.
Apostle Matthias (63).
Synaxis of All Saints of Solovki.
New Martyr Margaret (1918).
Martyr Anthony of Alexandria.
Venerable Psoes of Egypt (4th c.).
Martyrs Julian, Marcian, John, James, Alexius, Demetrius, Photius (Phocas), Peter, Leontius, and Mary, of Constantinople (726).
Venerable Macarius, abbot of Oredezh (1532).
St. Alexis Medvedkov, archpriest of Uzine (1934).
The Restoration of the Temple of the 40 Martyrs.

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day

2 Corinthians 4:13-18

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

Seeing the Invisible

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


Matthew 24:27-33

27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

The Coming of the Son of Man

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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

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

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Passing the Crucible



Ministry is never about the person ministering

This morning we had fifteen senior citizens visit the monastery, followed by a few other visitors in the afternoon. Our monastery has been inundated with visitors since the middle of this past winter, and there seems to be no letup in the number of pilgrims wanted to spend time at the monastery, including numerous men who have requested to stay for a few days in retreat.

Given the large number of visitors, and increased demands on my time with lectures at area colleges, and my work as a police and fire chaplain, I am exhausted to the point that I've found it difficult to keep up with my commitments to my blog postings, and to the podcast recordings for Ancient Faith Radio. Passing the crucible, as the old saying goes, is not something I am even willing to consider, since I feel a passionate calling for everything I do. I am reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau, who said, "None are so old as those who've outlived enthusiasm", and I am still enthusiastic!

This coming Saturday, I will be delivering one of two keynote addresses at Doxacon Seattle, a convention of Orthodox writers of science fiction and fantasy. Since I am no authority on the subject, I covet your prayers, that my words be an encouragement to those who would spread the gospel message through the art of writing fiction. This event, like all speaking engagements I accept, is all about Christ.

Ministry is never about the person ministering, but is always about Christ. Everything I'm involved with is, ultimately, about Christ, which makes giving up even a small portion of my activities impossible to consider. I love my life, I love people, I love the Orthodox Church, and I love Christ. I want to share God's love in every way possible, so being called out in the middle of the night by the Sheriff's Department is an opportunity for me to be God's presence in a crisis, just as speaking to college classes is an opportunity of sharing my Orthodox faith.

So, I will "keep on truckin'", as the old sixties saying goes, and with the prayerful support of my friends I will not have to drop any portion of my missionary activities. I always did want to die with my boots on, so retirement would be like death, only without the eternal benefits of heaven. Please, dear friends, continue to pray for me, that God, Who has called me to ministry, will continue to give me the strength to do His will.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


Photos: 1
) Senior citizens from Tukwila, WA visited the monastery on Wednesday. 2) Hammi, our Norwegian Forest Cat, had to show off for our visitors. 


click on photo to enlarge
 

Thursday August 21, 2014 / August 8, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration.
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).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.


"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day













2 Corinthians 4:1-6


The Light of Christ’s Gospel

4 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


Matthew 24:13-28


13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.


The Great Tribulation

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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

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

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Ask the Saints?
Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man

Most Protestant churches strongly reject all saintly intercession, citing passages such as 1 Timothy 2:1-5, which says that Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man, as well as Deuteronomy 18:10-11 which seems to forbid invoking departed souls. They also point to the fact that there are no examples in the Bible of living humans praying to dead humans — Jesus Christ being the lone exception, because He is alive and resurrected, and because He is both human and Divine.

Yet the Bible indeed directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us. In Psalms 103, we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!" (Psalms 103:20-21). And in Psalms 148 we pray, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!" (Psalms 148:1-2).

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, we read: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4). And those in heaven who offer to God our prayers aren’t just angels, but humans as well. John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8). The simple fact is, as this passage shows: The saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

Yes, we have Christ as the only intercessor before the Throne, but that never stopped any of our Protestant brethren from asked fellow believers from praying for them. We ask the friends of God to pray for us all the time, when we ask for the prayers of our friends and fellow believers. Asking those who've gone on before us is possible because they are alive in Christ, and offer their prayers to Christ just as do we. We all, both those in heaven and those still upon this earth, pray before the same "sole mediator between God and man", Jesus Christ. It is Christ through whom we approach the Throne of the Father.

Finally, why would we not want to ask for the prayers of those who have already won their place in Paradise, and are already standing before the Throne of God, worshiping the Holy Trinity?

Part of the problem for Protestants to accept the veneration of the saints stems from their reliance on an approach to doctrine and practice as being Bible only based. Proof texts is thus the norm for most protestant debate on the interpretation of any given passage. By the same token, the unity of worship and doctrine found within the Orthodox Church is the fact we've based both our way of worship AND our doctrinal teachings on Holy Tradition and Scripture. Since the Bible comes out of the living oral Tradition of the Church, the scriptures can only be properly interpreted from within the life of the Church. Our unity is based on what has always been taught.

The Orthodox Church proclaims as dogma that which has been taught everywhere and at all times. The Church is catholic because that which she teaches and the way she worships is not only from Apostolic times, but was everywhere taught and practiced in Apostolic times. She is catholic (universal) because she is the same now as she was from the earliest times in her history. Her Holy Tradition is relied upon when interpreting the Bible, because it is from her Tradition from which the Bible emerged.

Another point to think about is how we (from our Protestant upbringing) interpret the concept of Christ as the 'sole mediator between God and man.' The Protestant idea assumes that 'mediator' means 'intercessor'. But, there is a more profound meaning, not merely an intercessor but the reconciliation of God and man in the reality of the hypostatic union of God and man in the person of Jesus Christ. That is, I think, the real meaning of 'mediator'. Confer the meaning of the Latin source of the word, mediare: 'place in the middle', according to the Pocket OED. Doesn't that make clear that the Protestant interpretation is missing the real point? Once we understand that, then the whole argument against the intercession of the saints has no reality.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


Wednesday August 20, 2014 / August 7, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration.
Martyr Dometius of Persia (363) and two disciples.
Translation of the relics (1832) of St. Metrophanes, first bishop of Voronezh (1703).
Venerable Anthony of Optina (1865).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander, Peter, Michael, John, Demetrius and Alexis priests, Elisey deacon and Hieromartyr Athanasius (1937).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1938).
Venerable Poemen (Pimen) the Much-ailing of the Kiev Caves (1110).
Venerable Pimen, faster of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Venerable Mercurius, bishop of Smolensk (Kiev Caves) (1239).
Martyrs Marinus the Soldier and Asterius the Senator at Caesarea in Palestine (260).
Venerable Hor (Horus) of the Thebaid (390).
Virgin Potamia of Alexandria.
Venerable Dometius of Philotheou, Mt. Athos (16th c.).
St. Theodora of Sihla (18th c.) (Romania).
Holy Ten Thousand Ascetics of Thebes (Greek).
Hieromartyr Narcissus, patriarch of Jerusalem (213) (Greek).
Venerable Hyperechius of The Paradise (Greek).
Venerable Sozon of Nicomedia (Greek).
Venerable Theodosius the New, healer of Peloponnesus (862) (Greek).
Venerable Nicanor, wonderworker of Mt. Callistratus (1519) (Greek).
Martyr Afra of Augsburg (304).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.


"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day













2 Corinthians 3:4-11

The Spirit, Not the Letter

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Glory of the New Covenant

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.


Matthew 23:29-39
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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

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

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Transfiguration

The Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ
 
The Transfiguration of of Christ is the episode in the New Testament narrative in which Our Lord is transfigured and becomes radiant with bright rays of light. At that moment the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to Him, and He speaks with them. The voice of God the Father calls Him, "Son", as happened at the baptism of Jesus. This miracle is unique among the others that appear in the gospels, in that the miracle happens to Jesus Himself. The Transfiguration is considered the greatest of all miracles, in that it complemented the baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Christ, the others being baptism, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
 
In Christian teaching, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus Himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth. The Transfiguration of Christ was the first time in the history of the world, that man was able to come face to face with the Uncreated Light of God. During the Transfiguration, the scales fell from the disciples eyes and they beheld Jesus as He really was/is--filled with the Shekinah glory of God. And, this moment foreshadows what we all will behold, when we stand for all eternity, worshiping in the company of the heavenly hosts, and all the saints, before the Holy Trinity.

May this great feast be filled with blessings, and great joy, for all of you.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


Tuesday August 19, 2014 / August 6, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Fish Allowed

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ
(Second "Feast of the Saviour" in August).
New Hieromartyrs Dimitry (Lyubimov), archbishop of Gdov (1938) and Priest Nicholas Prozorov (1930), priest Andrew (Zimin), priest Sergius (Tikhomirov), Domnik, Lidia and Mary (Zimins).
New Martyr Abbacum of Thessalonica (1628).
St. Theoctistus, bishop of Chernigov (1123).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.


"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day



2 Peter 1:10-19

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peter’s Approaching Death

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

The Trustworthy Prophetic Word

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;


Matthew 17:1-9


Jesus Transfigured on the Mount

17 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.


I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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

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

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

Incense
Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee

From Old Testament times believers have burned incense as an offering when worshiping God. The ancient temple in Jerusalem even had priests whose sole duty was to keep the censer burning twenty-four hours a day.

Ancient pagan kings were often escorted with large fans of peacock feathers and burning incense when entering their palaces. Early Christians took both these symbols for their worship in recognition of Christ as their Sovereign King and Lord. To this day the Orthodox Church uses incense in most of her services, and large circular fans, reminiscent of the peacock fans of ancient times, are held over the Gospel book during the proclamation of God's word during celebrations of the Divine Liturgy.

As a young man attending my very first Orthodox Liturgy, I was struck by the use of incense. The words of the Psalmist King David, "Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee...", is chanted during every celebration of Vespers during the censing of the temple. During every service where there is a great censing of the whole church, the priest (or deacon) censes the frescoes and icons as windows into eternity, as the incense wafts upward as an offering of the people of God.

The people are also censed by the priest in recognition of their having been created in the image and likeness of their Creator God. Incense is so central in Christian worship that it is even used in the worship of the domestic church, where the family gathers in prayer around their own icons, reading the scriptures together, and offering their family prayers to the Lord.

"Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee." Psalm 141:2

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon




Photos: Father Moses being ordained a Reader by Bishop Theodosy.


 

Monday August 18, 2014 / August 5, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Forefeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord.
Martyr Eusignius of Antioch (362).
New Martyrs Eudocia (Shikova) and Novices Daria (Timolina), Dar'ia (Siushinskaya), and Maria of Diveyevo (1919).
New Hieromartyr Simon (Shleev) bishop of Ufa (1921).
New Hieromartyr John deacon (1938).
Venerable Job the Gorge-dweller on the Mezen River (Solovki) (1628).
Hieromartyrs Fabian (250) and Antherus (Antheros) (257), popes of Rome.
Martyr Pontius at Cimella in France (257).
Martyrs Cantidius, Cantidian and Sibelius (Sobel), of Egypt.
Righteous Nonna (374), mother of St. Gregory the Theologian.
St. Oswald, king and martyr (642) (Celtic & British).
Venerable John (Jacob) of Neamp, the Chozebite (1960) (Romania).
New Martyr Chrestos of Preveza (1668).
Uncovering of the relics (1967) of St. Arsenius the New of Paros (1877).

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.


"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day













2 Corinthians 2:4-15

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Triumph in Christ

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.



Matthew 23:13-22

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.














I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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

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

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com