Friday, August 31, 2012

The Doors
Abbot Tryphon and Archpriest Basil Rhodes at Ft. Ross
Open Wide the Doors to the Kingdom

The subject recently came up among clergy of our diocese as to whether it was proper to allow a man to attend services while wearing an earring. The point, as it seems to me, is to make him feel welcomed enough to want to be in church to begin with. Asking that he remove the earring would be counter productive, as styles are constantly changing, and unless it is causing undo distraction for other worshipers, it is my opinion that the Church needs to accommodate these variations in style.

Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, pointed out that it was a custom among the Cossacks to wear earrings in the military, as a way of letting commanders know whether the soldier was the only son of his mother, or even the last man in his family. If he was wearing an earring in his left ear, he was the only son of his mother, but if he were wearing an earring in his right ear it meant he was the last man in his family, or the only son of his parents. Wearing earrings in both ears meant he was the sole man in his family line. By Cossack traditions the chieftain or captain was obliged to protect such a special person, and had no right to place the soldier in grave risk, nor send him to certain death in battle.

Style is style, and as such, is ever changing. My own generation were the first long hairs in more than a century (yes, I was a hippie) and sported paisley bell bottoms, tie die shirts and beads. The young have always experimented with their own generational style. That said, the Church does have the duty to require those entering into the temple be dressed modestly, so as not to show disrespect to God's house, or distract other worshipers.

We are losing our youth, as statistics are clearly showing, so let us not make it even easier for them to leave by placing demands on them that are, ultimately, not that important. I have worked with youth my entire monastic life, and they respond to me (both when they come to the monastery and when I visit college campuses) because they sense I accept them JUST AS THEY ARE. I know of one Benedictine monk at Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon, who has a tattooed neck and tattooed hands, all with barbed wire design. He is now living in repentance because somewhere along the way he was made to feel welcome in a church. When I met him, I told him that he would be a great example to other youth of the truth that the door to repentance is open wide to all.

The great elder, Archimandrite Sophrony of Saint John the Baptist Monastery in Essex, England, once greeted the visiting daughter of a monk with great joy and sweetness, even though she was wearing a large purple Mohawk. Love and acceptance open wide the Doors to the Kingdom. We must love the young into the Church, just as they are.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Friday August 31, 2012 / August 18, 2012
13th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Afterfeast of the Dormition. 

Martyrs Florus and Laurus of Illyria (2nd c.).
New Martyrs Archimandrite Augustine of Orans Monastery, Proto-priest Nicholas of Nizhni-Novgorod, and 15 people with them (1918).
New Hieromartyr Gregory priest and Martyr Eugene and Michael (1937).
Martyrs Hermes, Serapion, and Polyaenus of Rome (2nd c.).
Martyrs Hilarion, Dionysius, and Hermippus, Hieromartyr Emilian, and others (about 1,000) of Italy (4th c.).
Sts. John (674) and George (683), patriarchs of Constantinople.
Venerable Macarius the Monk of Pelekete (830).
Repose of Venerable John, abbot of Rila (946) (Bulgaria).
The Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God.
Venerable Barnabus and his nephew Venerable Sophronius, monks of Mt. Mela near Trebizond (412) (Greek).
Venerable Christopher, abbot of Mt. Mela Monastery (1694) (Greek).
Venerable Sophronius of St. Anne's Skete on Mt. Athos (Greek).
Venerable Arsenius the New of Paros (1877) (Greek).
Martyr Juliana near Strobilus (Greek).
Martyr Leo, drowned near Myra in Lycia (Greek).
St. Christodoulos the Philosopher, called the Ossetian, of Georgia (12th c.) (Georgia).

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 Corinthians 11:5-21

Paul and False Apostles

For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.
Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!
12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Reluctant Boasting

16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. 17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. 19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.

Mark 4:1-9

The Parable of the Sower

4 And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

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1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how God speaks through us to answer our questions. I was speaking with my roommate just yesterday about how I am living in repentance for having tattoos because it's a constant reminder of my sinful past and I wanted to know how I can get past the guilt. No matter how deep and permanent the ink may be, it's no match for God's saving grace, because He can heal it. My tattoo's may be a reminder of my generation, my sins, but now I know it is also a reminder of his forgiveness and power to save even I, His sinful and wretched servant. Glory to God!