Monday, April 15, 2013

Called to Service
click on photo to enlarge
Service is about People and not about Self

As many of my readers know, I have serviced King County and the Vashon Island community, as a police and fire chaplain for many years. Serving as a chaplain is certainly unusual for the abbot of a monastery, but not when you consider our entry to this island. Twenty-five years ago we arrived as missionary monks, and our move to this island necessitated our reaching out the Vashon community. Most islanders had never met an Orthodox monk, and few knew anything about Orthodoxy.

Making ourselves known was an important part of our attempt to establish a monastic presence, for we were without money or support, and without land. Furthermore, we didn't want to leave the impression with our new neighbors that monastics lived in a vacuum, apart from the greater community. Like our fellow islanders, we needed to make a living, find a permanent residence, and contribute to the overall good of the community.

Over time we were able to become an integral part of this community, making friends, starting a business (Monastery Blend Coffee), and, by the grace of God, establishing the monastery on 16 acres of beautiful, forested land.

As a priestmonk I knew God was calling us to reach out with the Gospel to a community that was, by and large, secular. Since few islanders were members of any faith community, we, like the missionary monks who first came to Alaska from Valaam Monastery in Russia, desired to shared our faith by living it. Thus, when I was approached by the head chaplain of the King County Sheriff's Department, I agreed to serve the island as the first chaplain in over twenty-five years.

Chaplaincy has been a good fit for me, and I have recognized that God's calling is often revealed to us by what feels right in the heart. I'm good at what I do, for I have an inner strength for serving the spiritual and emotional needs of people during some of the most difficult situations that could ever arise. It is a strength that comes from my relationship with Christ, Whom I serve.

Each year I offer the Invocation and the Benediction during the Vashon Island Fire and Rescue Awards Ceremony and Banquet. This formal event is rich in tradition (something we Orthodox love), and I have been honored by this role. Each year I've enjoyed seeing young men and women within the department raised in rank, or recognized for their exemplary service to the department, and the community.

As a man who is only a few years away from becoming seventy, I've often regretted that I am too old to give myself over to full time chaplaincy, either to the military, or a big city police or fire department. That given, I was caught off guard when I was presented with the coveted Chiefs Award. I do not see the award as something to do with me, but as my service as an Orthodox priest, and as a chaplain.

This award is not about me, but about the service to God's people that every chaplain offers, for the love of God, and the love of His people. A chaplain is called to be God's presence amidst tragedy and sorrow, and I am blessed that God has honored me to service the courageous and heroic men and women of who serve this island community with such courage and dedication.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Chief Hank Lipe presents Chiefs Award

Monday April 15, 2013 / April 2, 2013
Fifth Week of the Great Lent. Tone four.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Venerable Titus the Wonderworker (9th c.).
Martyrs Amphianus (Apphianus) and Edesius (Aedesius) of Lycia (306).
Martyr Polycarp of Alexandria (4th c.).
Venerable Gregory, ascetic of Nicomedia (1290).
St. George of Matskveri Monastery (9th c.) (Georgia).
St. Nicetius of Lyons (573) (Gaul).
Virgin-martyr Theodora of Palestine (Greek).
St. Sabbas, archbishop of Crimea (11th c.).

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

Genesis 13:12-18

12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

Proverbs 14:27-15:4

27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.

28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor,
But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.

29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly.

30 A sound heart is life to the body,
But envy is rottenness to the bones.

31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

32 The wicked is banished in his wickedness,
But the righteous has a refuge in his death.

33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of fools is made known.

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people.

35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant,
But his wrath is against him who causes shame.

15 A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

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

1 comment:

  1. Axios! And may God be glorified.

    --Christopher Albee