Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Domestic Church
 Gathered Around the Hearth

The recent snow storm that hit the Puget Sound region on the 19th of January, was followed by an ice storm, and high winds. The combination was devastating for a region that normally gets very little snow, and where ice storms are even more rare. The resulting power outages left half a million homes without power, with thousands still waiting for their power to be restored. As our monastic community huddled around our gas fireplace, kerosene lanterns and candles providing light, we were reminded that a hundred years ago, this would have been the norm. Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings with reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable.

The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this really dates me), sitting together with my brother and my parents, listening to radio dramas. Before the coming of television, families would gather for evenings in the living room, where children would play with Lincoln Logs, or play board games with their parents. That a time would come where everyone would run off to separate rooms for the evening, was unthinkable.

Evenings spent together as family is important, for these moments not only build a bond between parents and their children, but serve as important times in which to share family values. The old saying that "a family that prayers together, stays together" was a truism that is often forgotten. I remember a Catholic family that lived next to us who had a small family chapel, complete with altar, statues, and candles. Every evening they would gather to pray the rosary. That chapel left a permanent imprint on my mind, even though I was only six years old.

Family meals are also important for building strong moral and spiritual foundations in children. Sitting around the dinner table is a great time for parents to develop strong bonds of trust with their children. Dinner is a perfect time for talking to your children about their friends, or school activities. Family members that disperse throughout the house for the evening, are likely to function as autonomous entities, where family bonds are unlikely to be developed.

The domestic church, which has been such an important part of Orthodox Church tradition, can not be developed in a family where meals, prayer, and social life are all in separate parts of the home.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday January 25, 2012 / January 12, 2012

33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Afterfeast of the Theophany.
  Martyr Tatiana of Rome (226-235).
St. Sava I, first archbishop of Serbia (1235).
Venerable Martinian of White Lake, abbot (1483), and Galacteon, his disciple (1506).
Martyr Mertius of Mauretania (284-305).
Martyr Peter Apselamus of Eleutheropolis in Palestine (309).
Venerable Eupraxia of Tabenna in Egypt (393).
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos "Akathist" and "The Milk-giver".
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos "Popskaya".
Virgin Martyr Euthasia.
Venerable Benedict Biscop, abbot of Wearmouth (689-690) (Celtic & British).
Eight Martyrs of Nicaea (Greek).
St. Elias the Wonderworker, of the Paradise (Greek).
St. Theodora of Alexandria, instructress of nuns (5th c.).
Martyr Philotheus of Antioch (ca. 305).

click on photo to enlarge

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 3:11-4:6


11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Versus Demonic Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James 4

Pride Promotes Strife

 1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

      “ God resists the proud,
      But gives grace to the humble.”

Mark 11:23-26

23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Forgiveness and Prayer
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

The PodCast is always different than the blog article.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post. Prayers for the suffering north west. I agree about family time , particularly unstructured family time. After our dinner, chores, baths... We are all usually back in the room we spend our days homeschooling. Having time to be together - with no directive - is where the opening happens for spontaneous discussions. "Mom I was wondering about...." Also, so much laughter! We may all have a different activity- reading, coloring, drawing, surfing the Internet- but then those things are shared. I've also found some unstructured time during the day to be the time when the children incorporate what they are learning into their play and much greater understanding comes!