Saturday, November 10, 2012

 The Struggle

The Construction of the Church,
and the Struggle that Followed

After the pouring of the foundations that would comprise the main core of the monastic compound, we build the first monastic cell. Although this first of what would eventually be seven cabins remained unfinished until most of the final buildings were completed, we felt having one cabin completed, together with the empty foundations, would allow us to share the vision of what would one day be a monastery. Standing before the foundations, with blue prints in hand, would be the way we could inspire potential benefactors to provide the needed funds.

Upon hearing of our financial struggles, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, Bishop Auxentios of Photiki, and Archimandrite Akakios, abbot of Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery, in Etna, California, offered to bring seven monks to our monastery, with the intention of spending one and a half months constructing our monastery's temple. All we needed to do was feed them and provide space for their tents. This may be the only Orthodox temple in the world where the high place was built by two bishops! We will forever be grateful to these Old Calendar Greek monks, who gave so generously of their carpentry skills, and their time, to help a small, struggling Russian monastery.


Just before construction began on the church, the neighboring eleven acres was sold to a young couple from Minnesota. Since we had an easement that allowed us passage to our five acres, this eleven acre property would be pivotal to the success of the monastery. With the help of a spiritual son, John Noe, who was a commercial fund banker, we'd tried for almost a year to find a bank loan that would allow us to purchase the property. Having failed to convince any bank to grant us a loan, the property was finally sold to a young couple from the Midwest.

Soon after hearing the property had been sold, I decided to take one last walk on the Valaam Trail. I'd personally blazed this trail, and the thought of no longer having access was painful to me, but I decided to accept the sale as God's will, and ask our patron saint to protect the future solitude of the monastic community. Taking holy oil from the reliquary of Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, I  poured on the ground, at the entrance of the trail. As I continued my walk, I was surprised to meet the couple for the first time, as they were exploring their newly acquired land. I saw this chance encounter as providential, and a good omen. I was to be proven wrong.

The young man was manager of an American owned factory in South Korea, and they planned to begin construction of their new home following his one year stint. I invited them to join us for coffee in our old farm house, where we were still living, and shared our vision for the future of the monastery. I told them that we would be interested in purchasing their property, should they ever decide not to live there.

Upon their return a year later, the young man was stunned to see our temple had been built. I met him, again quite by accident, as I walked up the road to the newly constructed temple. He made it clear that he was unhappy to see we'd actually built a church larger than he'd expected, and that we had a bell. He'd been told, so he said, that he needn't worry about living next to a monastery, since "the monks are broke and will likely leave the island within a year".

Within a week we heard from an island realtor that the property was once again up for sale. John Noe began, anew, his search for that elusive bank loan. 

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Tomorrow: The Assault 


Saturday November 10, 2012 / October 28, 2012
23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone five.

Great-martyr Parasceva of Iconium (3rd c.).
Martyrs Terence and Neonilla of Syria, and their children Sarbelus, Photus, Theodulus, Hierax, Nitus, Bele, and Eunice (249).
Venerable Stephen of St. Sabbas monastery, hymnographer (807).
St. Arsenius I of Srem, archbishop of Serbia (1266).
Repose of Venerable Job of Pochaev (1651).
St. Demetrius, metropolitan of Rostov (1709).
New Hieromartyr John priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Michael Lektorsky of Kuban (1920).
St. Arsenius of Cappadocia (1924).
Venerable Nestor (not the Chronicler) of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
St. Theophilus, fool-for-Christ of Kiev (1852).
Martyrs Africanus, Terence, Maximus, Pompeius, and 36 others, at Carthage (250).
Hieromartyr Cyriacus, patriarch of Jerusalem (363), and his mother Martyr Anna.
Venerable John the Chozebite, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine (532).
Hieromartyr Neophytus, bishop of Urbnisi, Georgia (587) (Georgia).
St. Firmilian, bishop of Caesareain Cappadocia, and Venerable Malchion, presbyter (269).
St. Febronia, daughter of Emperor Heraclius (632).
Righteous Virgin Parasceva of Pirimin on the Pinega River (Archangelsk) (16th c.).
New Martyrs Angelis, Manuel, George, and Nicholas of Crete (1824) (Greek).
St. Athanasius I, patriarch of Constantinople (Mt. Athos) (1340) (Greek).
Protection of the Mother of God (Greek).

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

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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 8:1-5

Excel in Giving

8 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

Luke 8:16-21

The Parable of the Revealed Light

16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Come to Him

19 Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”
21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

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