Monday, November 25, 2013

The Doors

Opening Wide the Doors of the Church

The subject came up among clergy of our diocese as to whether it was proper to allow a man to attend services while wearing an earring. The point, as it seems to me, is to make him feel welcomed enough to want to be in church to begin with. Requiring the removal of earrings would be counter productive, as styles are constantly changing, and unless it is causing undo distraction for other worshipers, the Church needs to accommodate variations in style.
It was a custom among the Cossacks to wear earrings in the military, as a way of letting commanders know whether the soldier was the only son of his mother, or even the last man in his family. If he was wearing an earring in his left ear, he was the only son of his mother, but if he were wearing an earring in his right ear it meant he was the last man in his family, or the only son of his parents. Wearing earrings in both ears meant he was the sole man in his family line. By Cossack traditions the chieftain or captain was obliged to protect such a special person, and had no right to place the soldier in grave risk, nor send him to certain death in battle.
Style is style, and as such, is ever changing. My own generation were the first long hairs in more than a century (yes, I was a hippie), and sported paisley bell bottoms, tie die shirts and beads. The young have always experimented with their own generational style. Although the priest has a duty to ask those participating in the divine services to dress modestly, so as not to distract other worshipers, he should not allow his personal taste to be a barrier preventing another from worshiping.
Statistics demonstrate our young are leaving the Church, so do we really want to make their departure easier, by placing demands on them that are, ultimately, not that important. I have worked with youth my entire adult life, and they respond to me (both when they come to the monastery and when I visit college campuses) because they sense I accept them JUST AS THEY ARE.

I once met a monk whose neck and hands where all tattooed with a barbed wire design. He is now living in monastic repentance because somewhere along the way he was made to feel welcome in a church. When I met him, I told him he would be a great example to other youth, for the door of repentance is open to all.
The great elder, Archimandrite Sophrony of Saint John the Baptist Monastery in Essex, England, once greeted the visiting daughter of a monk with much joy and sweetness, even though she was wearing a large purple Mohawk. In his deep relationship with God, the elder knew the importance of loving everyone, and making sure each person visiting his monastery experienced the love of Christ. 

We must love everyone into the Church, JUST AS THEY ARE.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

Monday November 25, 2013 / November 12, 2013

23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
St. John the Merciful, patriarch of Alexandria (620).
Venerable Nilus the Faster of Sinai (451).
New Hieromartyrs Constantine, Vladimir, Alexander, Matthew, Demetrius priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Boris (1942).
Blessed John "the Hairy," fool-for-Christ at Rostov (1580).
Prophet Ahijah (Achias) (960 B.C.).
St. Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos (1651).
"The Merciful" Icon of the Mother of God.
New Martyr Sabbas Nigdelinus of Constantinople (1726) (Greek).
New Martyr Nicholas of Constantinople (1726).
St. Leontius, patriarch of Constantinople (1143).
Venerable Emilian of Vergegio in Iberia.
Venerable Lebuinus, missionary monk of the Netherlands (Netherlands).
St. Machar, bishop of Aberdeen (Scotland) (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Sinnell of Cleenish (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Cadwaladr, king of the Welsh (664) (Celtic & British).
New Hieromartyr priest Theodore Gidaspov.
Synaxis of the Russian New Martyrs of Optina: Anatolius, Barnabas, Dositheus, Nectarius, Panteleimon and Vincent.

You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted 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

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5


1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Their Good Example

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

Luke 14:12-15

12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

The Parable of the Great Supper

15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

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