Sunday, October 7, 2012

Old Holy Virgin Cathedral, San Fransisco, CA
Encountering the Holiness and Peace of the Ancient Faith

The very first time I entered an Orthodox church, I felt drawn to Her. There was a tangible, inner tug, and an overwhelming sense of peace, holiness, and awe, emanating from the very walls of the temple. The serving clergy were not the focus of the service, as I'd experienced in my protestant upbringing, but seemed to be moving within the walls of their temple, as if servants, or, given the beauty of their vestments, courtiers to an emperor. The focus was not on men, but on the holiness of God. I felt an overwhelming desire to be a part of this religion, but, at the time, allowed the ethnic, and language, differences to keep me from returning.

Eventually, as is evidenced by my present vocation, I did return, and can not even imagine how I could have stayed away, for some twenty years, after having tasted "the heavenly realm." Orthodoxy is like that, for it seems almost familiar to many first timers, as though we've known this faith from our very conception.

I remember seeing my very first hand painted icon. It was an icon of Christ, and I felt drawn into it, wanting to embrace it (or, perhaps more correctly, being embraced by it.) This first encounter was in 1968, and in the small, private chapel of a friend. This encounter came about a month after I'd driven through Northern California's Redwood National Forest, beholding the thousand year old, towering trees. Both the icon, and the Redwoods, had an enormous impact on my young soul. They both seemed to offer me sanctuary, and a sense of peace. Both made me feel I'd encountered something precious, ageless, and sacred. I still feel the same, as an aging monk.

We humans are material beings, having been given bodies by our Creator. This Creator God has placed us in a material world, surrounded by things we can touch, see, smell, taste, and hear. Orthodox temples, by their very nature, allow us to commune with this very God, Who has given each of us the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear. It is through the material world that God has chosen to unite Himself to us, His creatures. The Logos (The Word), Christ Himself, by Whom everything that is, came into being, has come down from heaven, and embraced us, as His own.

My last trip through the Redwoods, brought back memories of my first encounter with an icon of Christ. How could they not, for it is the very Christ, depicted in the icon, Who created the Redwoods, and all that is beautiful, and sacred.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday October 7, 2012 / September 24, 2012
18th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone one.

Holy Protomartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thecla of Iconium (1st c.).
St. Gabriel, of Pskov-Eleazar Monastery and Kazan (1915).
New Hieromartyr Basil deacon (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Andrew and Paul priests, Hieromartyr Vitaly and Martyrs Basil, Sergius and Spiridon (1937).
New Hieromartyr Nicander priest (1939).
Venerable Nicander, hermit of Pskov (1581).
Martyrdom of St. Galacteon, monk of Vologda (1612).
Venerable Coprius of Palestine (530).
Saint Vladislav of Serbia (1239).
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos of "Mirozh" and "Of the Myrtle Tree" (1198).
Venerable Abramius, abbot of Mirozh (Pskov) (1158).
Venerables Stephen the First-Crowned (in monasticism Simon) (1224), David, and Vladislav (1239), of Serbia.
Righteous Euphrosyne, daughter of St. Paphnutius of Egypt.
Venerable Dorothea of Kashin (1629).
Arrival in America of the first Orthodox Mission: Sts. Herman, Juvenaly, and others (1794).
St. Isarnus of Marseilles (1043).

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 9:6-11

The Cheerful Giver

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

Luke 5:1-11

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

5 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

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