Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Poor
The saints serve as our guides in serving the poor

In many parts of the American countryside one can find the remnants of poorhouses (sometimes called workhouses), institutions run by local county or state governments as a means of dealing with the issue of the unemployed poor and homeless. These poorhouses were often located in rural farming communities, and could resemble rather bleak mental hospitals or prisons. Those residing in these poorhouses were seen as dishonorable, lacking moral character, and devoid of any industriousness. They were poor because they were lazy.

These poorhouses resembled reformatories precisely because poverty was seen as the result of a total lack of initiative on the part of the poor. Those who were forced to live in these institutions, either alone, or as families, were subjected to a penal labor regime of manual labor, sometimes even subjected to physical punishment. More often than not, poorhouses shared space with prison farms, and other penal or charitable public institutions, housing paupers (mainly elderly and disabled people) at public expense. These institutions were common in the United States beginning in the middle of the 19th century and declined in use after the introduction of Social Security in 1935.

Most poorhouses operated working farms that produced at least some of the produce, grain, and livestock they consumed. Residents were expected to provide labor to the extent that their health would allow, both in the fields and in providing housekeeping and care for other residents. Rules were strict and accommodations minimal. Hardly the place one would want their elderly relatives to be forced to reside, or a place for our nation's children to be raised. Yet, given the bleak statistics of our nations homeless, these poorhouses were at least warm shelters for desperate families, and homeless elderly.

The Church's Witness to Poverty

Our Orthodox Church is very clear in her teaching regarding the poor. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us by His example as the great philanthropos, and we can do nothing less than follow His example. Christ commanded us to love and serve the poor and the hungry. He told us we must care for the sick and suffering, and that we must visit those in prisons, and cloth the naked.

The Church's liturgical hymns and seasons are filled with the commemoration of saints who were known for their love of the poor. Saint Basil the Great of the third century established Church sponsored hospitals and mental institutions. Saint Nicholas of Myra of Lycia distributed money to those in need. Saint John the Almsgiver was one of the most charitable Patriarchs of the Byzantine Empire. Saint Joseph of Volokhlamsk  emphasized the ancient monastic tradition of hospitality and care for the poor, and Saint  Elizabeth the Grand Duchess established hospitals for the poor and destitute in Russia. The newly canonized saint, Mother Maria Skobtsova, served soup kitchens and established houses of hospitality in World War II France.

These holy saints provided unique examples to the rest of us of what it means to be Christians. They showed forth the Light of Christ by following His example of love for the poor, by giving of their talents, time and money to those in need. Orthodox Christians told up the saints as exemplary people whose lives are worthy of emulating. The show us the way to live out the Gospels, and point, by their lives, the Way of Christ.
Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Archbishop blessing the Theophany Waters
My good friend, Nick Buick (Warden of the Cathedral) prepares to release one of 36 doves.
Abbot Tryphon and Archpriest Peter Perekrestoff
 PHOTOS: I was blessed to be able to serve with Archbishop Kyrill for the Theophany Liturgy at Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco. Following the Great Blessing of Waters, 36 doves were released.
Some of the released doves

Sunday January 20, 2013 / January 7, 2013 33rd Sunday after Pentecost. Tone eight.

Sunday after the Baptism of Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ
Afterfeast of the Theophany.
Synaxis of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John.
Martyr Paphnutius (1938).
New Hieromartyr Basil, priest (1939).
Martyr John (1940).
Martyr John (1942).
New Martyr Athanasius of Attalia and Smyrna (1700) (Greek).
St. Cedd, bishop of Lastingham (664) (Celtic & British).
St. Brannock (Brynach) of Braunton (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Kentigerna, hermitess of Loch Lomond.

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

Ephesians 4:7-13

Spiritual Gifts

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Matthew 4:12-17

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Abbot for reminding us of our basic duties as Christians!