Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011 / May 27, 2011

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). Hieromartyr Therapon, bishop of Sardis (259). Translation of the relics (1667) of Venerable Nilus of Stolben Island (1554). Venerable Therapontes, abbot of Byelozersk (White Lake) (1426). Translation of the relics (1472) of Sts. Cyprian (1406), Photius (1431), and Jonah (1461), metropolitans of Kiev. Venerable Therapontes, abbot of Monza (1597). St. John the Russian, whose relics are on the island of Euboea (1730). Virgin-martyr Theodora and Martyr Didymus the Soldier of Alexandria (304). Martyr Julius the Veteran at Dorostolum, Moesia (302) (Romania).
Venerable Bede the Venerable (735) (Celtic & British).
St. Michael of Parekheli, Georgia (8th-9th c.).
St. Basil of Khakhuli, son of King Bagrat III (11th c.).
Martyr Eusebiotus (Greek).
Martyr Alypius (Greek).

Slavic Evangelicals exploring the Saint Seraphim Forest.

Words from the Abbot:

Young people from a Slavic Evangelical academy in the Seattle area made a pilgrimage to the Monastery on Wednesday. It was my joy to give them a tour and share my Orthodox Faith. I spoke at length concerning the depths of the Mystical Theology of our Church and described the heavenly nature of Orthodox worship.  Having shared my personal journey from Evangelical Lutheranism into Orthodoxy, I admitted to a certain sadness in my heart, knowing these wonderful people had abandoned the Orthodox heritage of their ancestors.

Before they left, one of the adults shared that he'd grown up during the Soviet era in an atheistic home. After the fall of communism he'd given himself over to be baptized into the Orthodox Church. He said he didn't remain in Orthodoxy because he was taught nothing about the faith and could not understand the services. He left because he wasn't fed.

He told me that he appreciated my openness in sharing my faith in Christ and my willingness to share Orthodoxy with all of them. He'd learned more about the Orthodox Faith in the few hours he'd spent with me than all the years attending an Orthodox Church in his homeland. Evangelical churches are growing rapidly throughout the former Soviet Union, he added, because the people are hungry for Christ and the Orthodox Church seems like nothing but dead ritual imparted in a language the people do not understand.  He concluded by promising that he and his two fellow teachers would return for further dialogue.

The Greater Puget Sound region has numerous Evangelical churches that are geared to meeting the needs of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians. Some of the largest ethnic churches in the region are made up of these immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Some of these Slavic churches have memberships that put them into the realm of being mega-churches. These protestant churches are succeeding because they are meeting the spiritual, social and educational needs of thousands of immigrants of Slavic blood. 

The ancient faith that is Orthodoxy has far more to offer than any of these late coming denominations and we must do more than we have to make this known. These Slavic immigrants, like most of their American neighbors, have no idea what spiritual treasures are to be found within the sacred walls of Orthodox churches.

My visit with these wonderful people made it abundantly clear to me that they know nothing of Orthodoxy. Most people base their images of Orthodoxy on false information and a misinterpretation of the externals of our faith, leaving them with  the opinion that Orthodoxy is some exotic form of Christianity.
Christ told His disciples to go "into all the world" with His Gospel. We must minister actively in the marketplace and not simply wait for people to come to us. Orthodoxy should NOT be allowed to remain America's best kept secret. Acculturated Orthodoxy lived out in a vacuum and separate from the American mainstream will never take hold. We have no one to blame but ourselves that a Roman Catholic cathedral can have 9,000 members, while an Orthodox cathedral within the same city has hundreds.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Photos of the Day:

Youth from a Slavic Evangelical School visited the monastery together with three of their teachers.

A Ukrainian youth,  celebrating his Viking heritage.

Scripture Readings for the Day: 

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, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Click photos to enlarge.


  1. Father Tryphon,
    Thank you for taking the time to explain the Orthodox faith to us on Monday. We had no idea about the vibrant, life giving teachings of the Orthodox church. I think that many people are in the same boat: they haven't rejected Orthodox Christianity, they simply don't know about it. Keep up your good work. The All Merciful Savior Orthodox Monastery is a testimony to the work of the Spirit in the Orthodox church today.

    -Steve and Katy Erickson

  2. Father, bless! I felt that this post was so poignant, and important, that I forwarded it to a few Orthodox venues: Orthodox Forum and the Indiana list. what you are doing here is vital not only for missionary efforts, but for our survival.

    Rdr. james Morgan
    Olympia WA
    Auriel Ragmon is Laurie Morgan sideways!