Sunday, December 29, 2013

Interpreting Scripture
The Church's Guide: Holy Tradition

The Bible can only be understood through the Church, for the Holy Scriptures came forth from the Church. The reformers dumped the papacy only to replace that institution with themselves as the ultimate authority. Since reason and logic ruled, there was no room for the intuitive, noetic nature of the heart. Thus the interpretation of the Bible became a debatable subject between believers, ending in new denominations proliferating like rabbits.

The Bible is the written account of the first Christians experience with God and was a living, oral tradition inspired by the Holy Spirit, and put down in written form. To think that it is therefore open to personal interpretation, apart from the Church from which it sprang, is the cause of over thirty-five thousand different denominations today!

The Orthodox Church has kept the early teachings and liturgical traditions precisely because she has refused to interpret Scripture apart from that which was always taught. Her Divine services connect us to the early Church precisely because they are the same liturgical services used by the early Church.

Orthodoxy is increasingly becoming known in the West, and more and more people are being drawn to her. But we don't convert people to Orthodoxy by words and debate, but by the example of our lives. Judging others can not be a part of our witness to the truth of Orthodoxy. Giving witness to the transformational power of the Church is what convicts others of the truth of our faith.

We must pray for our friends and loved ones who do not yet know Orthodoxy, yet we should also give thanks for those who know Jesus Christ. It is a joy to have God as our Father and an extra benefit to have the Church as our Mother. But lest we forget, it is of no value whatsoever to be Orthodox if we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Sunday December 29, 2013 / December 16, 2013
27th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone two.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). Fish Allowed
Week of Holy Forefathers
Prophet Haggai (Aggaeus) (500 B.C.).
New Hieromartyrs Priest Vladimir (1918)
New Hieromartyrs Arcadius, bishop of Bezhetsk, and Priests Elias, Paul, Theodosius, Vladimir, and Alexander priests, Martyr Makarius (1937).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1937).
Venerable Sophia, nun (in the world Solomonia), wife of Grand Duke Basil III (1542).
Martyr Marinus of Rome (283).
Blessed Empress Theophania of Byzantium (893).
St. Memnon, archbishop of Ephesus (5th c.).
St. Nicholas Chrysoberges, patriarch of Constantinople (995).
St. Modestus II, archbishop of Jerusalem (634) (Greek).
Martyrs Promus and Hilarion (Greek).
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

Colossians 3:4-11

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Luke 14:16-24

16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

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