Monday, May 20, 2013

Standing against Violence

The Struggle for Peace Must Begin With Me

After yesterday's essay concerning the Orthodox priests who were part of a mob attack on a homosexual demonstration in the country of Georgia, I was reminded of a photo I have in my archives. Instead of leading a violent attack, and being photographed bashing a trash can against the window of a bus that was trying to leave the area with the gay demonstrators aboard, this Greek Orthodox priest had placed himself between violent demonstrators and the police in an attempt to shield police officers from Molotov Cocktails.

Unlike the Georgian priests, this priest is attempting to stop violence. This same image could have played out if the priest or another citizen were to step in to prevent a woman from being assaulted on the street, or a child from being bullied on a playground, for violence has no place in the life of a Christian. We are called to be peacemakers by Christ. In Matthew 5:9 Jesus tells us, "blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God".

The canonical injunction against a priest involving himself in any form of violence is so strong as to prevent him from hunting animals, or killing chickens for his dinner table. I remember an Orthodox clergyman who was suspended from serving Liturgy for six months, because he used physical violence to fend of two muggers.

Too often we pass right on by, ignoring assaults on others. I'm not suggesting we always place ourselves in danger, but if our intervention can deescalate a bad situation, it is our duty to step in. Christ did so when the crowd threatened to stone the woman caught in adultery, and we, as His disciples, are called to do the same. 

How better it would have been if the world's media had been able to publish photos of Georgian Orthodox clergy placing themselves between the angry mob and the gay demonstrators, for by doing so these priests would have been imitating the Lord's protecting the woman who had been caught in adultery. Had these clergy placed their lives on the line for these homosexuals, the world would have been inspired, and would have seen the image of the Prince of Peace showing forth in His servants. 

Jesus placed Himself between the woman caught in sin, and those who would have killed her. This act of mercy by Our Lord was not condoning her sin, just as these Georgian priests would not have been condoning homosexuality, had they protected the demonstrators from the mob.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday May 20, 2013 / May 7, 2013

Third Week of Pascha. Tone two.

Commemoration of the Apparition of the Sign of the Precious Cross over Jerusalem in 351 A.D.
Martyr Acacius the Centurion at Byzantium (303).
Repose of Venerable Nilus, abbot of Sora (1508).
Venerable John of Zedazeni in Georgia, and 12 disciples: Venerables Shio Mgvime, David of Gareji, Anthony of Martq'ophi, Thaddeus of Urbnisi or Stepantsminda, Stephen of Khirsa, Isidore of Samtavisi, Michael of Ulumbo, Pyrrhus of Breta, Zenon of Iqalto, Jesse (Ise) of Tsilkani, Joseph of Alaverdi, and Abibus of Nekressi (6th c.) (Georgia).
Uncovering of the relics (1815) of Venerable Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos.
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos "Zhirovits" (1470) and "Lubech" (11th c.).
New Martyr Pachomius of Patmos (1730) (Greek).
St. Domitianus, bishop of Maastricht (560) (Neth.).
St. John of Beverley, bishop of York (721) (Celtic & British).
St. Lydia of Philippi (1st c.).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Euthymius the Great.
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

The Scripture Readings

Acts 6:8-7:5

Stephen Accused of Blasphemy

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” 15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.

Stephen’s Address: The Call of Abraham

Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’[c] Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him


Acts 7:47-60

47 But Solomon built Him a house.
48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

49 ‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
50 Has My hand not made all these things?’

Israel Resists the Holy Spirit

51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.

Stephen the Martyr

54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

John 4:46-54

A Nobleman’s Son Healed

46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”
50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.
54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

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

JUNE 9 - Monasticism Today: A Journey to the Heart of God
Guest: The V. Rev. Father Tryphon, a monk for almost thirty years, and co-founder and abbot of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, WA. Abbot Tryphon speaks with host Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Radio about all aspects of (Orthodox Christian) monasticism in the 21 century (and perhaps some of his interesting personal journey story).

It will be a live stream -- as AFR is recording it -- but will also be available later as a download on AFR and the AFT archives.

It will stream live via Internet on Ancient Faith Radio TALK is 5 PM - 6:30 PM Pacific (US); 6 PM Mountain; 7 PM Central; and, 8 PM (- 9:30 PM) Eastern.

For foreign countries, please refer to the US standard times and adjust accordingly..

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