Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Seal of Confession
Nick Buick, releasing one of 36 doves on Theophany
Opening the Doors to Repentance

In the Orthodox Church, the seal of confession is absolute, and there is no situation that will allow for the revelation of anything said in confession. As a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, I, as an Orthodox priest, am one of a handful of chaplains in the Northwest Region who has been told I am exempt under the mandatory reporting laws, due to "the sanctity of the confessional". That said, if there is a case in which a priest hears a very serious confession, one that could become a police issue, the confessor must explain to the penitent that this must be brought before the authorities. If he meets with  refusal, the priest should explain that he is not supposed to give absolution for that sin.

Confession is between God, Who is quick to forgive, and the penitent, with the priest as the witness, as well as the mediator by which absolution is bestowed. Without repentance, there is no salvation, and any priest who would endanger the integrity of the Sacrament of Confession by breaking the seal of confession, exposes himself to the possibility of being deposed from the priesthood, and excommunicated. In Imperial Russia a cleric who violated the seal was liable to the civil courts and subject to the death penalty!

Refusing to pronounce absolution without the penitent agreeing to report himself/herself to the authorities, is really the only approach that a priest can take, without burdening himself with the knowledge that the molestation of either a spouse, or a child, will continue, or that a murderer will not pay the price for his crime.

The Church's strict insistence on the sanctity of the Seal of Confession has been handed down from Apostolic times, and is imperative because it keeps open the doors of repentance to so many people who would otherwise fear going to confession, lest their sins become common knowledge. Yet the penitent must also be made aware that an important part of repenting of one's sins, is the willingness to embrace the consequences under the law.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday January 26, 2013 / January 13, 2013
34th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.

Saturday after the Baptism of Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ
Venerable Pachomius of Kensk (16th c.) (movable holiday on the Saturday after the Baptism of Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ).
Afterfeast of the Theophany.Martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus at Belgrade (315).
Venerable Irinarch of Rostov (1616).
Venerable Eleazar of Anzersk Island at Solovki (1656).
Martyr Peter of Anium, at Eleutheropolis (1st c.).
Venerable James, bishop of Nisibis (350).
Venerable Maximus of Kapsokalyvia Skete, Mt. Athos (1364) (Greek).
Martyrs Athanasius.
St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers (369).
Martyrs Pachomius and Papyrinus in Greece (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

Ephesians 2:11-13

Brought Near by His Blood

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Luke 13:18-29

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

18 Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”

The Parable of the Leaven

20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

The Narrow Way

22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.

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