Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lecturing at Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
What to do When We're Broken

It is only human to become despondent when we have failed in keeping to our moral, ethical and spiritual standards, succumbing, instead, to temptation. Our Orthodox Faith teaches that we must be compassionate towards others, loving, quick to forgive, exemplar in our Christian living, and always demonstrating to the world that we belong to Christ. Yet we also know we fail, most of the time, in living up to the standards of the Gospels, appearing no different that the pagans.

We look to the example of the saints, and wonder why we seem so far removed from their Christ-like example of living the Gospels. Over and over, we sink in the muck and mire of sin, becoming broken, downtrodden, and sick.
In our brokenness we betray the Gospels, our own standards of behavior, and the expectations of others. We know the truth of the words, "There is none good but One, that is, God (Matthew 19:17)," because we fail, over and over, in our own seeming inability to live as we believe.

We know we have been called to holiness by Christ, and that He gives us the strength, courage, and even the ability, to live our lives out in holiness. Yet, try as we might, we find ourselves utterly failing to live the Gospels, failing in our witness before others, and letting down our friends and family, with behavior that is anything but an example of Gospel living. We are broken, bordering on despair.

Nevertheless, even as we struggle with our sins, we must remember that we were specifically created by God for participation in His Divinity. We have been called by Him, and have become a Royal people, specifically created to participate and share fully in the life of God. The key to this life in God is to be found in repentance. Even in our brokenness, we must not give in to despondency, for our Saviour is quick to forgive. When we have found ourselves falling short of the glory of God, we must turn toward this very God in repentance, knowing that He is quick to forgive.

When we are broken, despair is the enemy, and should be seen as an emotion that has come from the Evil One. Hope and forgiveness are the gifts that come from God. During those times when we have failed in our Christian vocation, we must embrace the hope that comes with a repentant heart, and see, in our brokenness, the reminder that we are to always keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge that we have a God Who is quick to forgive. Despair is the enemy of our salvation, because in despair, the Evil One would have us believe there is no hope, and therefore no salvation.
In our brokenness we must turn our gaze towards our Co-Suffering Saviour, the One Who lifts us up, out of our brokenness, making us whole, and granting us forgiveness and life.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

click on photos to enlarge


It was my joy to have been asked to lecture on the subject of Orthodox Mystical Theology, at Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington. Following the lecture, a number of students accompanied me to the Student Union, for coffee, and further conversation.

Meeting with Evergreen students over coffee.

Tuesday May 1, 2012 / April 18, 2012
Third Week of Pascha. Tone two.

Venerable John, disciple of St. Gregory of Decapolis (820).
New Hieromartyr Bessarion priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Priests Nicholas (1937) and Basil (Derzhavin) (1930) and lay people of the city of Gorodets, Nizhni-Novgorod.
Virgin-martyr Tamara (1942).
Martyrs Victor, Zoticus, Zeno, Acindynus, and Severian of Nicomedia (ca. 303).
Venerable Cosmas, bishop of Chalcedon, and his fellow-ascetic Venerable Auxentius (815-820).
New Martyr John the Tailor of Ioannina, at Constantinople (1526).
"Maximov" Icon of the Mother of God (1299).
Venerable Euthymius the Enlightener of Karelia (1435), and Venerables Anthony and Felix of St. Nicholas Monastery in Karelia.
Monks John and Athanasius of Aegina (Greek).
St. Naucratius, abbot of the Studion (848).
St. Athanasia the Wonderworker of Aegina (9th c.).
St. Basil Ratishvili of the Holy Mountain (13th c.) (Georgia).
Martyr Sabbas the Goth (372).

You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.

We are hoping to retire the mortgage debt of $250,000.00. Having this hanging over our heads, and knowing the bank owns the monastery, is not a good thing. Your prayers are most appreciated, as we need a miracle.

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

Acts 8:5-17

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.

The Sorcerer’s Profession of Faith

But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

The Sorcerer’s Sin

14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

John 6:27-33

27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts.

1 comment:

  1. I came to Orthodoxy through an Evergreen class, and my wonderful professor (and later Godmother) - what a blessing for those students.