Saturday, July 21, 2012

Strife versus Peace

The Workings of the Enemy of the Church

A number of recent disturbing events within the life of the American Church have left many, including some clergy and monastics, with the sense of gloom, wondering what's coming next. During times like this it is good to remember that nothing has changed during the two thousand years of our Orthodox Christian faith. There have always been attacks on the integrity of the Church. Sometimes these attacks have been directed head on toward the Church, such as the invasion of Islam into Orthodox lands. At other times the Church has experienced attacks within her own walls, with divisions occurring that threatened the integrity and unity of the Church herself. 

Schisms that brought on divisions between Local Churches, sometimes because of political differences. The internal strife that has taken place during various periods between clergy and their bishops, or between bishops, can also be seen in the life of the Church. Saint John Chrysostom, Saint John of San Francisco and St. Nectarios of Pentapolis are but three examples of bishops who suffered injustice at the hands of others. Within the Life of the Church there have also been moments when synods of bishops have had to make difficult, but necesary decisions, knowing some would find fault with the outcome, but being morally and spiritually pressed to move swiftly in spite of criticism.

There have been disputes between monasteries over the concept of land ownership, with some teaching that monastic communities should own no land, while other holy brotherhoods insisted that the independence afforded monasteries by land ownership was an important safety net for the longevity of the community.

This important thing for all of us to remember during periods of strife in the Church is that nothing is new. From the very beginning there has been strife and division, disagreements between members and clergy and bishops. Saint Paul even directed his thoughts regarding those who would say, "I am of Christ", or "I am of Paul". Like blood families, we are all part of the human condition that is the result of the Fall, and we need to remember that attacks against the unity of the Church have always been there, and will always be there, until the end of times.

Of course the root of these attacks and divisions in none other than the evil one himself. Satan hates the Church, and has been attacking every part of the Church from the very beginning. Can we really expect Lucifer to spend all of his time attacking only drunks and cut throats? If he's already got them, why would he not turn most of his evil wrath against the very Church founded by Christ Himself?

During difficult times, where we see brother against brother, it is important that we do not react, do not gossip, and let peace reign in our hearts. The Lord is still in charge, just as a father is still in charge when his little children are battling it out over a broken toy. The promise we have from the Lord Himself, is that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. Divisions will come and go, strife between brothers will always be there, and the Holy Spirit will still continue to guide the Church. We must learn to trust the Lord, leave the guidance of the Church in the hands of our bishops, and work on our own hearts. If we be of a peaceful heart, all will be well. Peace must begin with me.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday July 21, 2012 / July 8, 2012
7th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Appearance of the "Kazan" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1579).
Holy Great-martyr Procopius of Caesarea in Palestine (303).
St. Procopius, fool-for-Christ, wonderworker of Ustiug (Vologda) (1303).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander and Theodore priests (1918).
Righteous Procopius, fool-for-Christ of Usya (Vologda) (17th c.).
Miracle of the Annunciation Icon of the Mother of God at Ustiug (1290).
Reverence list of an "Kazan" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos: at Moscow (1612), Kazan (1579), Petersburg (1721) and Shlisselburg (1702); "Iaroslav" (1588), "Viazniky" (1624), "Nizhnelomov" (1543), "Tobolsk" (1661), "Kaplunovka" (1689), "Tambov" (1695), "Penza" (1717), "Peschanka" (1754), "Chimeev" (1770), "Vysochinovsky" (18th c.), "Vyshensky" (1812).
"Jacobshtad" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (17th c.)
Venerable Theophilus the Myrrh-gusher of Pantocrator Monastery, Mt. Athos (1548) (Greek).
New Martyr Anastasius at Constantinople (1743) (Greek).
Martyrs Epictetus and Astion at Halmyris in Scythia Minor (290) (Romania).
Blessed King Edgar the Peaceable (975) (Celtic & British).
Martyr Theodosia, mother of Great-martyr Procopius. (Greek).
Martyr Mirdat the King of Kartli (410) (Georgia).
Translation of the relics (1779) of Venerable Demetrius Basarbov of Bulgaria (1685).
Synaxis of Saints of Diveyevo: Alexandra, Martha, and Helen.
St. Grimbald, hieromonk of Winchester.
Translation of the relicts of St. Withburga, hermitess of East Dereham.
Virgim-martyr Urith (Hieritha) of Chittlehampton.

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

THANK YOU, to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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

2 Timothy 2:1-10

Be Strong in Grace

2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Matthew 10:37-11:1

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

A Cup of Cold Water

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus

11 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

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