Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ethiopian Archbishop Loukas, and Abbot Tryphon
May 26, 2011 / May 13, 2011

Fifth Week of Pascha. Tone four.
Virgin-martyr Glyceria at Heraclea (141) and with her Martyr Laodicius, jailer of St. Glyceria.
New Hieromartyrs Basil, Alexander and Christopher, Hieromartyr Macarius and Martyr Sergius (1922).
103 New Hieromartyrs of Cherkassk (20th c.).
Righteous Virgin Glyceria of Novgorod (1522).
Translation of the relics of St. Macarius, archimandrite of Obruch or Kanev (1678).
Martyr Alexander of Rome (298).
St. Pausicacius, bishop of Synnada (606).
St. George the Confessor of Constantinople, with his wife and children (ca. 842).
Venerable Euthymius the New (1028), founder of Iveron Monastery, and his fellow Georgian saints of Mt. Athos: his father John (998), his cousin George (1066), and Gabriel (10th c.) (Greek).
Venerables Amphilochius (1452), Macarius (1462), and Tarasius (1440), abbots, and Theodosius (15 c.), monk, of Glushitsa Monastery (Vologda).
St. Servatius, first bishop of Maastricht (384).
Commemoration of the monks of Iveron Monastery martyred by the Latins in the 13th century (Greek).
Monkmartyr John of the Iveron Monastery on Mt Athos (Greek).
St. Sergius the Confessor of Constantinople (9th c.) (Greek).
Venerable Nicephorus, priest of the monastery of Ephapsios (Greek).
Hieromartyr Alexander of Tiverias. (Greek).
St. Leander of Seville (600).

Words from the Abbot:

Misty Isle Farms, the largest privately owned property on Vashon Island, with more than three hundred acres, sponsors an annual Sheep Dog Trials, every autumn. The dogs are judged according to their ability to quickly herd sheep through fence gates, and around obstacles. Like many Vashon Islanders, I've found this annual event to be fascinating, and have been attending the event for some years, now. Especially interesting, is to observe the synergy between the dogs, and their handlers.

For those of you who have never watched such an event, the dogs dart back and forth, herding the sheep, and, by intimidation, keep the sheep together. This is quite different from the herding that takes place, when a shepherd is involved. Shepherd's herd their sheep in a completely different way. A shepherd will make little sounds, particular to himself, and recognized by his sheep. The hearing of these familiar sounds, has a comforting, and calming, effect upon the sheep, and they willingly follow their shepherd.

In the Gospels, Christ describes Himself to his disciples as "The Good Shepherd," Who willingly lays down his life for His sheep. Like any good shepherd, Jesus  lovingly calls his sheep, and bids us to come forth, follow Him, and enter into the "green pastures" of eternal life. There is no intimidation, as with the sheep dogs, but only the loving sounds of a shepherd, who's sheep recognize a voice that is comforting, and draws them into a safe place.

Bishops and priests, as representatives of the Good Shepherd, are called, as icons of the Christ they serve, to act in the very same manner. Bishops and priest are not, if they be true to their vocations, to lead by intimidation, but with pastoral love, and gentle shepherding. There is no place in the Theology of Priesthood, in the Orthodox Church, for shepherding by intimidation. Bishops, abbots, and priests, in the Orthodox Church, have never been, as was common in the Latin Church, "Lords" over their people, but, rather, servants, and loving shepherds.

In Orthodox monasteries, where the abbot occupies his office for life (much like a bishop,) his rule is one of fatherly leadership. The abbot does not give commands to his monks, to do this, or that, but, rather, suggests. The obedience of the monks is, therefore, not one of obedience as to an overlord, but obedience to a loving father, because the monk is loved by his abbot, and, in return, loves his abbot.

Christ even directed husbands to love their wives in much the same manner, for he told husbands they must love their wives, just as Christ has loved His Church. No medieval lordship over an Orthodox Christian wife. Husbands, like bishops, abbots, and priests, are to follow Christ's example, and imitate the Good Shepherd. Within Orthodoxy, there is no room for abusive husbands, tyrannical bishops, and clericalist priests.

With love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos of the Day:

Father Moses and I had lunch with Ethiopian Archbishop Loukas, and his monastic community. They are nearing completion of their new monastery, which sits next to their cathedral, in Seattle.

Monk Moses, Hieromonk Gebre, and Abbot Tryphon


Scripture Readings for the Day:

Acts 14:20-27

20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Strengthening the Converts
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

John 9:39-10:9

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

John 10

Jesus the True Shepherd
 1 “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.

Click photo to enlarge.

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