Friday, January 13, 2012

The Chaplain
click on photo to enlarge
Chaplaincy: Manifesting God's Love

This year's Northwest Regional Training of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, included a day long seminar on "Principle Based Leadership, the Importance of Ethics", presented by Chief Bob Vernon, retired Police Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

As the conference came to a conclusion I found myself, once again, grateful to God for all the friendships I've formed during these past ten years of service as a police and fire chaplain. I am privileged to count among my friends, some of the finest people I have ever known. These are individuals who've dedicated their lives in compassionate service to others, touching lives in the most difficult of circumstances, and the most trying of times. Ministering to people who's lives have been turned upside down, with the loss of a child, the death of a spouse, or the trauma of a fatal car accident. They have served as God's presence on murder scenes, or house fires. They've held children who's parents have been killed, and comforted an old woman who's husband of sixty years has died. They are pastors to people who've never had a pastor. They are clergy who lend support to a police officer or medic who is traumatized to their very core by an incident that would have most people running the other way.

I've been among chaplains who break down in tears, while recounting situations that would traumatize the toughest of soldiers. I've seen chaplains being strong for their officers, while enduring the pain of loss over the death of police officers or firefighters who were their friends, as well.

Gathering together with fellow chaplains is necessary, not only for continuing education and preparing for profession excellence, but for the support of being with clergy who know what the job is like. Any parish clergyman who has not been a chaplain can know what the police or fire chaplain can endure.

At the heart of the chaplain is his love of Jesus Christ, and a compassionate heart. The chaplain is not someone who steps into a bad situation with a prayer, but with his heart. He is one who is the presence of God in the midst of a tragic event. He makes manifest the very Christ, Whom he serves. He sits in for God, during those moments when no words can be found to comfort someone experiencing great loss. The chaplain sacrifices his own comfort zone that Christ may be made manifest in that moment in time.

Chaplaincy is a very unique calling, one that takes special training and deep commitment. It is not for the faint hearted, but a vocation that is needed in order to make God's love manifest during the most trying of times.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Chief Bob Vernon

Friday January 13, 2012 / December 31, 2011

31st Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Apodosis of the Nativity of Christ. 

Venerable Melania the Younger, nun, of Rome (439).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1937).
Martyr Peter (1938).
Holy Confessor Dositheus, metropolitan of Zagreb (1941).
St. Peter Mogila, metropolitan of Kiev (1646).
Venerable Gelasius, monk, of Palestine.
Venerable Gaius, monk.
Venerable Theophylactus of Ochrid (1126).
Ten Virgin-martyrs of Nicomedia (Greek).
Venerable Zoticus of Constantinople, feeder of orphans (4th c.) (Greek).
St. Anysius, bishop of Thessalonica (406).
Venerable Sabiana, Abbess of the Samtskhe Monastery (11th c.).
Martyrs Busiris, Gaudentius and Nemo (Greek).

I wish to thank those of you who have been contributing towards the principle of our mortgage ($250,000.00). For those of you who can't donate due to the depressed economy, please remember to pray for the monastery. It would be such a great blessing if we were able to retire the mortgage debt altogether.

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

James 2:1-13

Beware of Personal Favoritism
 1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
 1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

      ‘ The stone which the builders rejected
      Has become the chief cornerstone.
       11 This was the LORD’s doing,
      And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
 12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

The PodCast is always different than the blog article.


  1. These posts are the ones I enjoy the most. I am an Orthodox Christian in the Kansas City are and I am a Police Officer, my Priest is great at understanding and helping were he can. Thank you for your service.

  2. Thank you, Father, for this wonderful post. I've been a priest for only 4 years, but I've been a dispatcher for the Paterson Police Department in New Jersey's 3rd largest city for over 27 years now, and have continued to work in that capacity in addition to my pastoral duties.

    Few people outside of the field realize the emotional stress that public safety workers (including the dispatchers) must endure on a daily basis. It's regarded by mental health professionals to be the psychological equivalent of a battlefield experience, but a burden that must be carried for 25 years or more. Unfortunately, just like in battle, the scars often last a lifetime.

    The work of the Chaplain is indispensable, but sadly not every police/fire/EMS agency utilizes them as much as they should. In some cases, they're honorary appointments with no real duties to perform. For those who truly serve, I pray that the Lord will give them the strength to continue. Speaking as one who has been on both sides of the fence so to speak, I can tell you that their work is appreciated beyond words.