Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Passing the Crucible
My bodyguards at Pacific Lutheran University
Ministry is Never about Me

This blog article is late, and whenever I am this late, someone, somewhere, will email me, wondering if I am alright. Since many of my essays are posted shortly after midnight, or certainly before eight in the morning, when I'm this late, and given my rather advanced age, people start wondering if I am still among the living. So, know that I am, for now at least, still sitting upright, in my office, composing yet another blog article. I'm exhausted this morning, and am trying to get this off before the arrival of twenty-nine members of a Greek parish, and their priest, who are making a pilgrimage to the monastery, today. Father Photios is a dear friend, so I'll be energized upon their arrival.

During the past three weeks I have had three brother priests, a physician friend, a Swedish Lutheran pastor, and my doctor, ask me when I was going to start cutting back in the amount of projects I'm involved with. Last night, while waiting for a ferry that was delayed by more than two hours, and after having spent the evening attending the board meeting of the Saint Petersburg-Seattle Sister Churches Program (an organization that brings seminarians to the Seattle area for training in various programs, and provides support for a children's hospital and an orphanage in St. Petersburg), I arrived home exhausted. Since I am the only Orthodox priest on the board, it does not seem right that I step down from an organization that does so much for the Russian Orthodox Church.

During the past several months, I have seen a substantial increase in the number of invitations for me to speak on area university campuses. At the same time there has been an upsurge in the number of calls from the 911 Emergency Dispatch, needing my services as a King County Police and Fire Chaplain. Coupled with in increase in the number of visitors to the monastery, with many requesting time to speak with me about spiritual, family, or emotional issues, I find myself amazed that I am still functioning.

Lack of sleep has also added to my overall feeling of exhaustion, as I am often up late, or up very early, trying to get my blog article written, and the podcast for Ancient Faith Radio recorded, and uploaded. Passing the crucible, as the old saying goes, is not something I am even wanting to consider, since I love doing everything I've mentioned. I am reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau, who said, "None are so old as those who've outlived enthusiasm", and I am still enthusiastic!

Ministry is never about the person ministering, but is always about Christ. Everything I'm involved with is, ultimately, about Christ, which makes giving up even a small portion of my activities impossible to consider. I love my life, I love people, I love the Orthodox Church, and I love Christ. I want to share God's love in every way possible, so being called out in the middle of the night by the Sheriff's Department, is an opportunity for me to be God's presence in a crisis. Speaking on a college campus, and hanging out in the student union with students and faculty, is an opportunity to bring the things of God into an environment that is, for the most part, totally secular.

So, I will keep on truckin', as the old sixties saying goes, and, with God's help, and the prayers of my friends, I will not have to drop any of these "projects". I always did want to die with my boots on, so retirement, for me, would be like death, only without the eternal benefits.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday December 5, 2012 / November 22, 2012
27th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Afterfeast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.
Apostles Philemon and Archippus, Martyr Apphia, wife of Philemon, and St. Onesimus, disciple of St. Paul (ca. 109).
Martyrdom of St. Michael, prince of Tver (1318).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir priest (1932).
New Hieromartyr Iosaph bishop of Mogilev, New Hieromartyrs John, Basil, Paul, Jacob, Theodore, John, Ilia, Alexis, Aphanasius priests and Hieromartyr Gerasimus (1937).
Venerable Paraskeva confessor (1952).
St. Yaropolk-Peter, prince of Vladimir in Volhynia (1086).
Martyrs Cecilia, Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus at Rome (288).
Martyr Procopius the Reader at Caesarea in Palestine (303).
Martyr Menignus at Parium (250).
Venerable Agabbas of Syria (5th c.).
Righteous Michael the Soldier of Bulgaria (866).
St. Callistus II, patriarch of Constantinople (Mt. Athos) (1397) (Greek).
St. Clement of Ochrid, bishop of Greater Macedonia (916) (Bulgaria).
St. Germanus of Eikoiphinissa in Macedonia (9th c.).
Martyrs Stephen, Mark, and Mark (another) at Antioch in Pisidia (4th c.).
Martyr Agapion of Greece (304).

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 Timothy 5:22-6:11

22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.
23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.
24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.

Honor Masters

6 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.

Error and Greed

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The Good Confession

11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

Luke 18:15-17

Jesus Blesses Little Children

15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Luke 18:26-30

26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts.


  1. Dear Father, Do keep on truckin' and may God continue to be with you every step of the way and every minute of the day.
    CG (in Australia)