Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Planting of a Monastery (chapter 3)

The House in Medford

With the prospect of winter ahead, we knew our days of camping had come to an end. Visiting a small Orthodox mission parish in Medford, Oregon, we were invited to move into the vacant house next door, formally the home of an old man who had passed away. His daughter, who lived in Texas, agreed to let us live rent free, provided we paid the utility bills.

We contacted a Medford realtor, and continued our search for that elusive rural sight on which to plant our monastery. Day after day we would drive through the mountains and valleys of Southern Oregon, looking at farms and ranches, and praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After the snows of a winter had begun to melt, we happened upon a fifty-acre ranch, with two old houses and three barns, surrounded by federal forestland. Located in the Apple Gate Valley just west of Ashland, it seemed like to perfect location for a monastery. Yet when we approached the county about establishing a monastery on this ranch, we were told it would be impossible, for the land was zoned fifty-acre family farm, and the county was unwilling to recognize our monastic brotherhood as a family, insisting we’d have to be “blood related”. If we wanted a monastery in their county, it would have to be within the city limits of one of their towns.

Holy Week in Seattle

Contesting the constitutionality of a county’s zoning law was not the beginning foundation we wanted for our monastery. We saw this zoning code as a possible sign that this farm was not the place God intended for us. With Great Lent nearing completion, we decided to put off any further decision until after Pascha. Invited to participate in the Holy Week and the Paschal celebration at Saint Spiridon Cathedral in Seattle, by Archpriest Vadim Pogrebniak, the cathedral dean, we drove north into Washington State.

Holy Week was particularly special. We slept on the floor of the old rectory, now serving as the parish office, and attended all the services leading up to the Midnight Paschal Liturgy. On Bright Monday, with Holy Week behind us and Paschal joy in our hearts, we took the ferry to Vashon Island, accepting an invitation to spend two nights in the home of an Orthodox couple we’d met a year earlier, former members of my good friend Archpriest Basil Rhodes’ parish, Saint Nicholas Church, in Saratoga, CA.

Vashon is the largest of the southern most islands in the Salish Sea, surrounded by waters known as the Puget Sound. Eighty-five percent undeveloped forest, Vashon is about the size of Manhattan, New York, but with a rural population of only around 11,000. A diverse population known for its strong arts community, Vashon proved to be one of the most welcoming places I’d ever visited. Two days on the island were enough to convince us this was the place God had called us to be. Before heading back to Medford, Oregon, Father Paul and I had visited a realty office, and arranged to rent a small house.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday October 13, 2012 / September 30, 2012
19th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.

Hieromartyr Gregory, bishop of Greater Armenia (335).
Venerable Gregory, abbot of Pelshme, wonderworker of Vologda (1442).
St. Michael, first metropolitan of Kiev (992).
New Hieromartyr Prokopius priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Peter, Viacheslav, Peter, Symeon, Basil priests, Seraphim deacon, Virgin-martyr Alexandra, Martyrs Alexis and Matthew, Virgin Apollinaris (1937).
New Hieromartyr Leonidas priest (1938).
New Hiero-confessor Hieromonk Seraphim (Zagorovsky), of Kharkov (1943).
Martyrs Rhipsima and Gaiana and companions, of Armenia (4th c.).
St. Meletius, archbishop of Alexandria.
St. Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury (653) (Celtic & British).
St. Michael, great prince of Tver (1318).
St. Theodore Yaroslavich of Vladimir (1246).
Martyr-hermits Tancred, Torthred and Tova, of Thorney.
Martyr Stratonicus (Greek).
Martyr Mardonius (Greek).


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

1 Corinthians 15:58-16:3

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Collection for the Saints

16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.

Luke 5:17-26

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic

17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

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