Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Internet
A cold, sunny day at the monastery 
 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
There is a lot of good that can be discovered on line. A number of years ago I was charged by my archbishop with the task of addressing our Diocesan Pastoral Conference on the subject of Fasting According to the Early Church Fathers. Only after having agreed to the task of preparing such a lecture had I realized that the bulk of our monastery's library was still in boxes, deep in our storage container.

How was I going to put together a lecture of such depth of topic without access to our library? Then it dawned on me, I could google "Fasting According to the Early Church Fathers"! There it was, all the references I could ever have hoped for, right before my eyes! A few weeks of on line research and I had my lecture.

I often google topics that interest me, finding information that would have required hours in the library in the past. I've visited Russian monasteries, watched videos of chanters in Greek monasteries, viewed Orthodox patriarchs serving the Divine Liturgy, all on the Internet. I've read the writings of some of the world's most gifted Orthodox theologians, and read the blogs of some of my favorite fellow clergy. I've received photographs of pilgrimages of brother monasteries, and cartoons emailed to me by fellow clergy.

For all the good that one can find on the Internet there is also a dark side. There's the temptations that usher in pornography for young men, and the music videos of female pop singers that a generation ago would have been banned on TV.  Young people growing into adulthood without having had the experience of a real childhood. Youth who've missed the social skills that come from social situations that are now missing, all because they spend too much time with "friends" who's faces they've only seen on a screen.  Evil men looking for innocent young people to sexually exploit while masquerading as young people.

I've become convinced that the Internet has become the major vehicle for the workings of the Evil One. Our children are not the only vulnerable ones, for many men have become so addicted to the Internet that they spend more time on line than with their wives and children. There are women who ignore the needs of their kids because they're too consumed by the Internet.

Given these observations one would wonder why a monk would be posting on facebook and writing a daily article on a blog. Why would I be using the Internet to upload Podcasts for Ancient Faith Radio? Why would I engage in conversations with people from around the world?

The Internet is a vast network that does a lot of harm, yet it is also a tremendous  vehicle for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Internet is a great way to teach others about the Orthodox Church, sharing the ancient Christian path that has been unknown to most people in the Western world. It is also a wonderful vehicle for connecting Orthodox Christians from many lands, creating friendships and support for living a life that is in opposition to that of this world. It is easier to live the otherworldly life of an Orthodox Christian when you receive support and love from those who are doing so under the extreme conditions of the persecuted.

We  can all help in this missionary outreach by forwarding on articles that touch our lives and quicken our faith. The hearts of family, friends and strangers we've met through the Internet can be transformed by one little inspirational article we've passed on. We can help young people know of Jesus Christ by sharing the Good News through this medium that has become such a normal part of their everyday lives. 

I labor in this vineyard for the Lord, Whom I believe has called me to this online mission. I post my blog articles, together with the daily scripture readings, because I care from the depth of my heart for the next generation. I upload weekly podcasts to Ancient Faith Radio because, like the wonderful Christians who produce this on line radio station that reaches 151 countries with Holy Orthodoxy, I care deeply about our world. I labor for the love of Christ, Whom I serve.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Quarter Master Harbor, Vashon Island

click on photos to enlarge

Wednesday November 16, 2011 / November 3, 2011

23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Martyrs Acepsimas the Bishop, Joseph the Presbyter, and Aeithalas the Deacon, of Persia (376).
Dedication of the Church of the Great-martyr George in Lydda (4th c.).
New Hieromartyrs Basil, Peter, Basil, Alexander, Vladimir, Sergius, Nicholas, Vicentius, John, Peter, Alexander, Paul, Cosmas priests and Simeon deacon (1937).
Virgin-martyr Evdokia (1938).
New Hieromartyr Sergius deacon (1942).
Martyrs Atticus, Agapius, Eudoxius, Carterius, Istucarius (Styrax), Pactobius (Tobias), and Nictopolion, at Sebaste (320).
Venerable Acepsimas, hermit of Cyrrhus in Syria (4th c.).
St. Snandulia of Persia (380).
Venerable Anna, daughter of Prince Vsevolod I Yaroslavich (1112).
Venerable Elias of Egypt.
St. Achaemonides, (or Hormisdas), confessor, of Persia (4th).
St. Winifred of Treffynon (Holywell), N. Wales, (630) (Celtic & British).
Translation of the relicts of St. Edith, nun of Wilton.
St. Theodore, confessor, bishop of Ancyra (8-9th c.) (Greek).
New Martyr Hieromonk George of Neopolis, Asia Minor (1797) (Greek).
Martyrs Dacius, Severus, Andronas, Theodotus, and Theodota (Greek).
St. Hubert of Maastricht (727) (Neth.).
Venerable Nicholas, Radiant Star of the Georgians (1308) (Georgia).
St. Pimen of Zographou, Mt. Athos (16th-17th c.).
The Meeting (1196) of St. Sava (1235) and St. Symeon the Myrrh-gusher (1200) of Serbia at Vatopedi, Mt. Athos.
St. Pirmin, bishop and monastic founder (753) (Germany).

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Paul’s Conduct
 1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

Luke 11:42-46


42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.
45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”
46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

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