Friday, January 6, 2012

Cloud of Witnesses
 The Saints are Alive in Christ Jesus

Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent.

The saints show us what a glorious destiny we have in God, and through the example of their lives, point the way to our becoming “partakers of divine nature.” The saints, as the cloud of witnesses in heaven, are present in the divine services, worshiping the Holy Trinity with us. They, as our friends, intercede before the Throne of God on our behalf, having won the good fight, and we are encouraged by the memory and example of their lives, as we struggle on our own path to God.

It has been said that there are two kinds of people in the world: sinners who think they are saints, and saints who know they are sinners. A saint is a Christian who lets God's light shine through, and who's life has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

We venerate the Saints as we seek their intercession with God, but we adore and worship only God in Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We venerate the Images (Icons) as well as the relics of the saints and martyrs. Yet according to the decisions and Canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, this veneration relates not to the icons as such, but to their prototypes, or to the persons whom they represent.

The interior walls of our temples are adorned with the icons and frescoes of the saints as a reminder that we are surrounded by the cloud of witnesses, the saints, and that the Church Militant (here on earth) is not separated from the Church Triumphant (in heaven). In Christ, death does not divide us, for the saints are not dead, but alive in Christ Jesus.

Glory to Jesus Christ, Who is glorified in His saints.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday January 6, 2012 / December 24, 2011

30th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Fast. Food with Oil
The Eve of the Nativity of Christ. Nun-martyr Eugenia of Rome, and with her Martyrs Philip her father, Protus, Hyacinth (Jacinth), Basilla, and Claudia (262).
New Hieromartyr Innocentius (1928).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1942).
Venerable Nicholas the Monk of Bulgaria (9th c.).
Venerable Antioch, monk of Palestine (635), and St. Vitimionus of Scete.
New Martyr Achmed (Ahmet) the Calligrapher (or Architect) of Constantinople (1682) (Greek).
Venerable Aphrodisius, monk of Palestine (6th c.).

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

Hebrews 1:1-12

God’s Supreme Revelation
 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
The Son Exalted Above Angels
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say:

      “ You are My Son,
      Today I have begotten You”?
   And again:

      “ I will be to Him a Father,
      And He shall be to Me a Son”?

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:

      “ Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
 7 And of the angels He says:

      “ Who makes His angels spirits
      And His ministers a flame of fire.”
 8 But to the Son He says:

      “ Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
      A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
       9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
      Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
      With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

 10 And:


      “ You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
      And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
       11 They will perish, but You remain;
      And they will all grow old like a garment;
       12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
      And they will be changed.
      But You are the same,
      And Your years will not fail.”

Luke 2:1-20

Christ Born of Mary
 1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

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