Friday, July 15, 2011

 All Things to All Men

A Contemporary Man in an Ancient Church

As a modern, educated man, I have a rather broad interest in the arts, music, poetry, literature and history. My father was a golf pro and my mother was a professional church pipe organist and piano teacher. My maternal grandmother played honkytonk piano, the banjo and taught ballroom dancing. I was formally trained in classical oil painting, but prefer to paint in impressionistic freestyle. My photographic interests are directed toward traditionally expressed scenic photography. I love opera and country western, equally. I hold to liberal views when it comes to the environment, ecology and universal health for all. I'm conservative in regards moral and fiscal issues facing our country today, yet rather libertarian when it comes to individual freedom of expression.

My conservative religious views are tempered by a strong love of people that has afforded me a wide range of friendships, spanning religious, political, cultural and racial barriers. I'm perfectly comfortable enjoying a cup of coffee with a rabbi in the morning, listening to opera with an elderly shut-in the afternoon and spending time with college students in the evening.

These personal things about me are worthy of sharing because they demonstrate the great truth that in Christ, there is room for everyone in the Orthodox Church. I attribute my ability to be comfortable with a wide variety of people to the universality of Orthodoxy. The Church is a living organism that brings healing to the world as a hospital of the soul and as one of her therapists (priests) I am called to be all things to all men (and women). The Christ that I've invited to reign supreme in my life is Lord of all. He loves everyone equally and has called me, as his creature, to emulate this love for all those who cross my path.

In these days of great polarization not seen in this country since the Civil War, it is imperative we Christians not allow political and religious differences to impact the way we interact with others. We must have hearts that are filled with love, not fear. In Christ there is only hope. Economics, politics, governments and all earthly catastrophes are transitory. A life in Christ is eternal.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday July 15, 2011 / July 2, 2011
5th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
The Placing of the Honorable Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos at Blachernae (5th c.). St. Photius, metropolitan of Kiev (1431). St. Juvenal, patriarch of Jerusalem (458). "Pozai" (17th c.), "Theodotiev" (1487) and "Akhtyr" (1739) Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos. St. Juvenal, protomartyr of America and Alaska (1796). Right-believing King Stephen the Great of Moldavia (1504) (Romania). St. Monegunde of Chartres (530) (Gaul).New Martyr Lampros of Makri (1835) (Greek). Uncovering of the relics (2003) of New Hieromartyr Priest Sergius Florinsky of Rakvere, Estonia (1918). Feast of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos (Georgia). St. Oudoceus, bishop of Llandaff. St. Swithun, bishop of Winchester.

The Scripture Readings for the Day:

Romans 16:1-16

Sister Phoebe Commended
 1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
Greeting Roman Saints
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.

Matthew 13:4-9


4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”


  1. It is good to remember the very point you have just made, Batiushka. Namely, that the Orthodox Church, being the Catholic Church, is for everybody, and reaches out to all men in a spirit of true love which is meek and gentle, but never compromises the holy Truth of the Gospel-- and I see that same true love in what you write.

    I'm probably a little more politically conservative than you are, but Orthodoxy has taught me that all of that-- the running of earthly life and worldly governments-- is so very very secondary (tertiary even) to the one thing needful: seeking the Kingdom of Heaven, obeying our Savior, and growing in love and reverent awesome fear of His Holy Name, realizing His presence in us, being purified from our wicked passions, and submission to His all-good and perfect will.

    Please pray for me (Isaac) and for my family: wife (Maria), son (Haralambos) and little sister (Nicole). Thank you, Batiushka!

    Btw, I'm a communicant of St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in House Springs, MO-- with rector Fr. Christopher Stade.

  2. As a nation we are losing our ability to have a civil disagreement - evrything is now personal. I think it's essential that we acknowledge the image of Christ in everyone, even those who disagree with us.


  3. You have painted a past of a cross section of exposure to life which has resulted in a true foundation of understanding of human nature, demonstrating your worth as a priest, a spritual leader and spritual father, issuing sound guidence and direction to all his flock. You are respected by many clergy of different faiths, together with business leaders and mostly revered by police and fireman alike which you so faithfully serve as chaplain, for their needs encountered in the course their respective duties. You are all things to all men and loved by so many. May Christ always be your beacon throughout your life. God Bless You Fr. Tryphon.