Monday, October 24, 2011

Ancestral Sin
Christ's Resurrection Paves the Way

The fact that we Orthodox do not accept the doctrine of original sin as espoused in the West, does in no way suggest that we do not need to be born again (born anew). We believe, as did the Early Church Fathers, that we inherit only the results of Adams sin, not his guilt. This is known as ancestral sin because the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, resulted in our inheritance of death, sickness and an inclination toward evil. Christ's death on the cross has its power, not in an atonement sacrifice, but in the conquering of the power of death. Death is trampled down by death.

It is by Christ's resurrection that a way was made for us to be transformed by contact with the Living God, thus becoming his children by adoption.

Although we do not refer to ourselves as "saved", as do Evangelical Christians, we nevertheless believe that we are in need of salvation. (We believe salvation is a process.) Our understanding of  sin in an ancestral way, which is distinct from the concept of original sin and the hereditary guilt that required, consequently, a substitutionary atonement-type of sacrifice, separates us doctrinally from Western Christianity.

Had there not been a fall, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Logos (Word) would still have incarnated into the flesh and taken on our nature. For it is by this condescension by our Creator God to take on the nature of that which He created that we are given the opportunity of being deified (Saint Paul said we shall become as gods). 

Our journey into the heart culminates in theosis, whereby we are joined in everlasting communion with the very God Who created us. Saint Athanasius of Alexandria said, "The Son of God became man, that we might become god." In II Peter 1:4, we read that we have become "...partakers of divine nature." Saint Athanasius further says that theosis is "becoming by grace what God is by nature."

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday October 24, 2011 / October 11, 2011

20th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the seven deacons (1st c.).
Venerable Theophanes the Confessor and Hymnographer, bishop of Nicaea (850).
Venerable Leonid of Optina (1841).
Synaxis of the Saints of Optina: St. Leonid (repose) (1841), St. Macarius (1860), St. Moses (1862), St. Anthony (1865), St. Hilarion (1873), St. Ambrose (1891), St. Anatole (the "Elder") (1894), St. Isaac I (1894), St. Joseph (1911), St. Barsanuphius (1913), St. Anatole (the "Younger") (1922), St. Nektary (1928), St. Nikon the Confessor (1931), New Hieromartyr Archimandrite Isaac II (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Philaret and Alexander priests (1918).
New Hieromartyr Juvenalius (Maslovsky) bishop of Riazan (1937).
Venerable Theophanes, faster of the Kiev Caves (12th c.).
Martyrs Zenaida (Zenais) and Philonilla of Tarsus in Cilicia (1st c.).
Sts. Nectarius (397), Arcadius (405), and Sinisius (427), patriarchs of Constantinople.
St. Gommar, patron of Lier (775) (Neth.).
Venerable Ethelburga, abbess of the monastery of Barking (England) (676) (Celtic & British.).
Venerable Cainnech (Kenneth), abbot of Aghaboe (Ireland) (600) (Celtic & British).
St. Philotheus (Kokkinos) of Mt. Athos, patriarch of Constantinople (1379).
Commemoration of the miracle from the Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut of Phonecia.

click on photos to enlarge

Philippians 2:12-16


Light Bearers

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Luke 7:36-50


A Sinful Woman Forgiven

36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

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