Monday, August 8, 2011


A Monastic as a Police and Fire Chaplain

It has been a great blessing for me to have been serving as a police and fire chaplain for the past eight years. My interest in chaplaincy began when I was asked by a number of inmates to serve as their Orthodox chaplain in one of the state's prisons. Spending one full day a month in two of the prisons in Monroe, WA., I managed to make a number of friends among the guards. Because such open friendships could be dangerous, should inmates see the chaplain as a friend of the enemy, I had to keep my contact with guards to a minimum.
After eight years of serving the spiritual needs of inmates, I decided that I wanted to serve those in law enforcement and fire service.

Vashon Island's Fire Department, had not had their own chaplain in some thirty years. When you live on an island that is accessible only by ferry, there were many occasions where a chaplain was needed, but none was available, especially in the dead of night when the boats were not running. Following a number of tragic events on the island, I finally offered my services and went through a formal week long training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Center where all police are trained for the entire state, and became a certified chaplain.

Hundreds of hours of additional training, and membership in the Federation of Fire Chaplains and the International Conference of Police Chaplains, has prepared me for priestly service to the whole of this island community in ways that I would never have imagined.

In an age of increasing lawlessness, it is a huge blessing for me to have been called to serve men and women who selflessly place their lives on the line for the rest of us, each and every day. I've ridden with medics who've saved lives right in front of my eyes. I've been on board fire trucks, witnessing firefighters risk their lives to save the homes of fellow islanders. I've witnessed
King County Sheriffs Department deputies give comfort to the widow of a murder victim.

I am grateful to God for the many friendships I've formed over these past eight years, with police and fire fighters. I've shed tears at the funerals of too many officers. I pray daily for the safety and well being of those who serve our communities so gallantly, and ask my readers to unite their prayers with mine.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday August 8, 2011 / July 26, 2011
9th Week after Pentecost.

Tone seven.
Hieromartyrs Hermolaus (305), Hermippus, and Hermocrates at Nicomedia.
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1937).
Venerable Moses the Hungarian, of the Kiev Caves (1043).
Martyr Parasceve of Rome (138).
St. Iakov (Netsvetov) of Atka-Island and Ikogmute, mission priest to the Yup'ik on the Yukon River (1867).
Martyr Oriozela of Reuma in Byzantium (ca. 250) (Greek).
Venerable Ignatius, monk, of Mt. Stirion (Greek).
Virgin-martyr Jerusalem of Byzantium (Greek). /font>
Venerable Gerontius, founder of the Skete of St. Anne, Mt. Athos (13th c.) (Greek).
St. Sava III, archbishop of Serbia (1316) (Greek).

The Scripture Readings for the Day:

1 Corinthians 11:31-12:6


31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

1 Corinthians 12

Spiritual Gifts: Unity in Diversity
 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

Matthew 18:1-11

Who Is the Greatest?
 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Jesus Warns of Offenses
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.


  1. I am a prison chaplain but my experience is much different than yours. I visit to prisons twice a month, almost always in the chapel or gymnasium. I only see people who have signed up for the so called orthodox service. I have been on the pod a few times, but only to see 1 of my guys who've been a bad boy. there has been fruit, 4 baptisms 3 transitioned out of prison, and I see 20 guys currently, but I would love to have the all day more open experience you seem to have had.

    I deal with orthodox believers or inquirers, but you deal with everybody. I would love to see comments about how you deal with non orthodox in different situations.

  2. As a former prisoner I am most gratified to here chaplains working with guards, police, and firefighters. I have a most profound respect for those that work in service of others. I know from experience the difficult and dangerous tasks prison guards deal with every day. I was always treated with respect and dignity by officers. I continue to pray for those officers and those who work in prison ministry.