Thursday, July 25, 2013

The All-Pure One
click on photo to enlarge
The Holiness and Purity of the Ever Virgin Mary

The Orthodox Church teaches, as did the early Church, that the Holy Virgin Mary was sinless, not because she was born without sin, as in the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, but because Mary chose not to sin. While we acknowledge Protestants have always under-valued Mary because of their zeal in separating themselves from all things Roman, we Orthodox have maintained the ancient teachings concerning her sinless state.

It is good to keep in mind that what is clear to some, may not be clear to others. The Bible ALWAYS has to be interpreted according to the Mind and Memory of the Church. Although Saint Paul told us that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)", the word "all" throughout the Bible often means "some". It is a general rule that everyone has sinned, but sometimes "all" means almost everyone, and sometimes "many" means everyone, like the words "shed for you and for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28)." In the latter case, "many" means "for all". Like all rules of grammar, there are exceptions.


Everyone born of father and mother is born suffering the effects of the ancestral sin brought about by the disobedience of our first parents. These include pain, sickness, an inclination toward evil rather than good, and of course, death. No one is born guilty of any actual, personal sins. We are born sinless in this sense, but still suffering the effects of the sin of Adam. However, "all have sinned" cannot include our Lord Jesus Christ. It apparently didn't include Enoch either, whom the Bible says was righteous and was therefore assumed up into heaven.

With the Bible, we don't know the truth unless we know the Mind of the Church. In Timothy we read that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth. The Holy Apostle Peter tells us that "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation II Peter 1:20"). The Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth, and only the Church can interpret the Holy Scriptures. Never did Jesus say, "take, read, this is my book".

Ultimately, it is always the Mind of the Church that we must reference for all teachings, including that which is taught and believed regarding the Holy Virgin. The Western teaching that the Holy Virgin was born without sin was not accepted by any Christians until the Papal church adopted this doctrine in the ninth century.

From an Orthodox view, this teaching completely negates the Virgin Mary's virtue, for how could she have represented all of humanity, as the new Eve, had she not been born like the rest of us? It was her purity and virtue that made her the candidate to become the Theotokos (God Bearer). She was chosen to became the living tabernacle of the Logos because of her holiness and her purity. She freely chose to be obedient to the Will of God, whereas the first Eve had chosen disobedience.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Wednesday July 24, 2013 / July 11, 2013
5th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Commemoration of the Miracle (451) of Great-martyr Euphemia the All-praised, of Chalcedon (304). Blessed Equal-to-the-Apostles Olga, princess of Russia, in holy baptism called Helen (969).
Hieromartyr Cindeus of Pamphylia (3rd-4th c.).
"Rzevsk" or "Okovetsk" (1539) and "Borkolabsky" Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos.
"Rudensk" (1687) Icon of the Mother of God.
Venerable Nicodemus of Hilandar and Vatopedi, Mt. Athos (14th c.) (Greek).
New Martyr Venerable Nicodemus of Elbasan and Mt. Athos (1722) (Greek).
Uncovering of the relics of the Monk Arkadius of Vyazemsk and Novotorzhsk (1677).
New Martyr Nectarius of St. Anne's Skete, Mt. Athos (1820) (Greek).
Venerable Leo, monk, of Mandra (Greek).
Martyrs Januarius and Pelagia of Nicopolis in Armenia (310).
New Hiero-martyrs Momcilo Grgurevic, Dobroslav Blazenovic, Milan Bozic, Mihailo Djusic, Jovan Zecevic, Bozidar Jovic, Bogdan Lalic, Trifun Maksimovic, Velimir Mijatovic, Bozidar Minic, Miladin Minic, Marko Popovic, Dimitrije Rajanovic, Budimir Sokolovic, Relja Spahic, Lazar Culibrk, Savo Siljac, Savo Skaljka, Milorad Vukojicic, Ratomir Jankovic, Mihailo Jevdjevic, Dusan Prijovic, Dobrosav Sokovic, Nestor Trkulja, Serafim Dzaric, Andrija Siljak, Slobodan Siljak, and Jovan Rapajic of Serbia (1941-1945) (Serbia).
St. Drostan of Old Deer and Aberdeen (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
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 15:7-16

Glorify God Together

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:

“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”
10 And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”
11 And again:
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”
12 And again, Isaiah says:

“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

From Jerusalem to Illyricum

14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:38-45

The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

An Unclean Spirit Returns

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

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