Saturday, July 27, 2013

Angels Unawares
Abbot Tryphon and Archpriest Basil Rhodes

While sitting in a sidewalk cafe with my friend, Archpriest Basil Rhodes, having a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, we noticed a homeless man stop behind me. The man was staring at our food, so Father Basil asked him if he was hungry. He answered with an enthusiastic "yes", and when Father asked what he'd like to eat, he said "eggs and sausage". Father Basil told him they didn't have such a breakfast here, but gave him five dollars to buy it somewhere else.

The whole time this conversation was taking place with this homeless man, another man, around thirty years of age, was standing nearby, listening to every word. As the homeless man walked away, the younger man walked up and confronted us with the question, "how could you give money to a junky? You are not doing him any good by giving him money. Aren't you men of God?"

I responded by saying that it was not our place to judge anyone, to which he replied, in a confrontational manner, "he's just going to buy drugs with that money. You don't seem to be very intuitive". I told him I'd worked with the homeless before, and that the man was hungry and deserving of our charity. The man said "cheers" and dismissively walked away.

A woman seated at a nearby table called over with the words, "good response". She then came over to our table, knelt down beside me, and with tears in her eyes, identified herself as a social worker, and told us she'd been going through a particularly difficult time, and that the interaction she'd just witnessed had helped her immensely.

I then told this woman the story of the time I was walking with an elderly bishop of the Russian Church, and how I had spotted a filthy homeless man walking towards us. This man's hair was disheveled, filthy with years of dirt, and was wearing torn clothing. He had no soles on his shoes, so with each step we could see the bottom of his feet. Instinctively, I took the elbow of the bishop, and attempted to get him to cross in the middle of the street. The bishop asked why, and I said, "Look at the crazy man coming towards us". The bishop told me we were not crossing, but would continue.

When directly in front of the the man, the bishop stopped, reached out, taking the man's filthy right hand into his own, and placed a twenty dollar bill into the man's hand, covering the bill with the man's left hand. At that moment the man looked up into our eyes, saying nothing. But looking back were the bluest, clearest eyes I had ever seen. They were not the eyes of a homeless man, nor the eyes of a deranged man, eyes filled with wisdom and holiness.

As we walked away, I remarked about the man's eyes, to which the bishop responded by saying, "We just encountered an angel unaware, and we were being tested," recalling the words of Scripture, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2).

After the social worker left, a man seated at a nearby table remarked, "that was a remarkable story, and you made my wife cry". This other couple had witnessed the whole of these encounters.

A moment later, the young man who'd judged us so harshly after the original encounter, returned. He came up, asked forgiveness for having judged us, and said he'd "just seen the homeless man buying yogurt and fruit" with the money we'd given him. I stood up, gave the young man a hug, and we all parted ways.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

The cafe where this took place. (click to enlarge)

Saturday July 27, 2013 / July 14, 2013
5th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.

Apostle Aquila of the Seventy, and St. Priscilla (1st c.).
New Hieromartyr Constantine priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1933).
Venerable Stephen, abbot of Makhrishche (Vologda) (1406).
Martyr Justus at Rome (1st c.).
Venerable Ellius (Hellius) of Egypt (4th c.).
Venerable Onesimus, of Magnesia (4th c.).
Martyr John of Merv (Turkmenistan).
Venerable Nicodemus of Mt. Athos, spiritual writer (1809).
Sts. Vladimir and Agrippina wonderworkers of Rzhev
St. Marcellinus of Utrecht, priest (8th c.) (Neth.).
St. Joseph the Confessor, archbishop of Thessalonica (Greek).
St. Heraclius, patriarch of Alexandria (246).
You can read the life of the saint in red, by clicking on the name.

THANKS 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 for the Day

Romans 8:14-21

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

From Suffering to Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Matthew 9:9-13

Matthew the Tax Collector

As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”


  1. This is my favorite post of yours in a long while Abbot Tryphon. Really great message and inspiring. Brought tears to my eyes as well!

  2. What an incredible Day! Amazing how one interaction can effect so many people.

  3. Beautiful and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.