Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Church
A Living Organism Guided by the Holy Spirit

It is important that we always remember, the Holy Spirit guides the Church. The early Christians worshiped in secret places, and were not able to have formal temples, yet as the Church gained her freedom, public places of worship were built. These new churches were built with a vision and intent to glorify God with the beauty afforded his temples. With these newly built temples, the celebration of the Liturgy of Saint James was, over time, enriched, ever becoming more beautiful. The inspiration for the beauty of these services developed through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The Church is not static, for she is a living organism, guided by Councils of Bishops, who are charged with preserving the faith, guarding their flocks from the danger of heresy, nor the temptations that lead to corrupted practice of the Faith. The Church is not a museum, nor some of depository of historical and cultural importance. She is not a type of court, where people are judged and condemned. She is not a preservation society for a dying faith, or a comfort center for people who've caved in to indifference and lethargy.

The Church is a vibrant institution, and relevant for this coming age. Often misunderstood, judged, or distrusted, she is still the hospital of the soul, wherein we can be healed and made whole. The Church is the place where we can be fed with the medicine that will transform us into the creatures God has intended. The beauty of our temples, and the care and love that is found in the majestic beauty of the services, the vestments, the incense, the icons, all attest to the continuation of the ancient tradition of giving our best to God. The Church is a blessed place wherein heaven comes down to us, and peace of God is able to enter our heart.

The Church is the mother who nurtures, and sometimes even prods us to push forward in faith. Within her walls we are forgiven, we are loved, we are healed, all because we are the children of the Most High. Nothing in this world can provide the transformation of a fallen person, into a saint. Apart from the Church, there is no place where the heart is valued over possessions, or humility valued over status. The Church is where everyone is united with Christ, together. It is within the walls of the Church that we discover that salvation is a corporate thing, and that we are not being saved in a vacuum.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday August 4, 2013 / July 22, 2013
6th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone five.

Synaxis of saints of Smolensk (movable holiday on the Sunday before July 28th).
Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalen (1st c.).
Translation of the relics (404) of Hieromartyr Phocas, bishop of Sinope (117).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Alexis priest (1931).
Venerable Cornelius, monk, of Pereyaslavl, and confessor of Alexandrov Convent (1693).
Venerable Marcella of Chios (1500).
St. Cyril I, patriarch of Antioch (298).
St. Wandregisilus of Caux (668) (Gaul).
St. Cyprian, fool-for-Christ of Suzdal (1622).
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 12:6-14

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Matthew 9:1-8

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic

9 So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house.
Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.


  1. Thank you for your beautiful description of the Church. I will use your words to explain my need to attend a far-away Church to my non-Orthodox friends and family.

  2. Fr. Bless,

    If you ever wonder if your blogging is really doing any good, the answer is a resounding YES!, at least from me...I really needed to "hear" what you wrote today and yesterday. Thank you for your efforts.

    K in the USA