Sunday, September 11, 2011

9 / 11
Sgt. Michael Sharp of Fort Lewis spent the day at the monastery.

The Christian Response to 9/11
Muslim theologian Ayatollah Baqer al-Sadr said, "The world as we know it today is how others shaped it. We have two choices: either to accept it with submission, which means letting Islam die, or to destroy it, so that we can construct a world as Islam requires."

Today we are commemorating one of the most heinous crimes against humanity ever recorded. The attack on the United States that took place ten years ago today will live on in the collective memory of good people throughout the world. The mass murder of thousands of innocent people in the name of religion shocked the world and made Americans realize we were no longer immune to attack.

Since 9/11 the West has been engaged in a war against religious terrorism. We Christians can understand the frustration and anger that motivate such attacks, for the same secularizing forces have been attacking our faith as well. Yet we are particularly scandalized by the terrorism employed by the Islamists in the name of God. We attempt as best we can, and with God's help, to respond with both humility and vigor. We are a people who believe in human rights, yet are faced with a religious ideology that has no democratic tradition and a history of forcing submission upon others.

Like the struggle against fascism and communism, we will most likely be engaged in this battle of religious ideology for a generation or two. In all truth we can not claim to know God's will in everything, so must patiently move forward, fighting for liberty and justice.

For Christians the knowledge that our own country has spread her culture of violence, secularism, greed and immodesty throughout the world, is cause to wonder if it is not God's judgement that we are experiencing. We've lost our own moral and spiritual compass, finding ourselves adrift in a world that is far from our roots in the Gospels.

In this world justice is often impossible to attain without some violence, and with a serenity that passes understanding we must abide in God's grace as we look for the meaning in all of this.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Captain Sean Levine, Orthodox Army chaplain at Fort Lewis,
together with Matushka Jennifer and their sons Andrew and Ethan.

Sunday September 11, 2011 / August 29, 2011

13th Sunday after Pentecost.
Fast. Food with Oil

The Beheading of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.
Fast Day.

Commemoration of Orthodox soldiers killed on battle fields.

Acts 13:25-32


25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’
26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. 28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. 29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers.

Mark 6:14-30


John the Baptist Beheaded

14 Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “It is Elijah.”
And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.”
16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”
And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”
25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
Feeding the Five Thousand
30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.


  1. I am so grateful that your monastery is there for Orthodox military to re-orient their spiritual lives, and of course, you know that I am equally grateful for your service as a police chaplain (which I hope you will be able to continue). In one form or another, we are all engaged in warfare, all the time, whether militarily, or societally (the war against crime), or spiritually -- a legacy of our fallen world, on which we dare not turn our backs. Seems odd to think of warfare as a kind of "love," but when you put it in the context of protecting the innocent and defeating evil -- well, it is.

  2. Glory to Jesus Christ!

    Dear Abbot Tryphon;
    I read your lovely words regularly. Something in this post has bothered me since I read it. Perhaps I should just keep quiet as we dont have to agree in everything. However for what it's worth this is what bothers me:
    "In this world justice is often impossible to attain without some violence."
    This may be true in a sense, but I would say it is only true according to a worldly sense of justice. I think when we look to the Passion of our Saviour, we must say that either your statement is not true, or that "justice" so defined and obtained (through violence, including military violence), is not what God is concerned with.
    St Isaac of course said that we know nothing of God's justice.
    Love of enemies is simply incompatible with killing. If love were compatible with killing, we Christians would have a much harder time explaining why abortion is always wrong.

    In the peace of Christ, that surpasses worldly limitations and calculations of justice;
    -Mark Basil