Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Domestic Church
Amy, whose love for her father (a reader of this blog) took the ferry, and walked all the way to the monastery on a Saturday when there was no bus service, to have this photo appear for her dad.
 Gathered Around the Hearth

The recent storms hitting the Midwest and East Coast of the United States, have resulted in power outages that have left millions of homes without power, with thousands still waiting for their power to be restored. In an age when most depend on electricity for warmth, light, and cooking, these outages are particularly devastating.

Knowing the history of lengthy power outages on Vashon Island, our monastic brotherhood planned ahead for such events. We have a propane fireplace in our library, as well as smaller propane heaters in the cells, which provide heat. We have kerosene lanterns and candles light, and a propane stove top for cooking our meals.

Less than a hundred years ago, this would have been the norm for everyone across the country. Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable.

The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this really dates me), sitting together with my brother and my parents, listening to radio dramas. Before the coming of television, families would gather for evenings in the living room, where children would play with Lincoln Logs, or board games with their parents. That a time would come where everyone would run off to separate rooms for the evening, was unthinkable.

Evenings spent together as family is important, for these moments not only build a bond between parents and their children, but serve as important times in which to share family values. The old saying, "a family that prayers together, stays together" was a truism that is often forgotten. I remember a Catholic family living next to us, had a small family chapel, complete with altar, statues, and candles, where they would gather every evening to pray the rosary. That chapel left a permanent imprint on my mind, even though I was only six years old, and a Lutheran.

Family meals are also important for building strong moral and spiritual foundations in children. Sitting around the dinner table is a great time for parents to develop strong bonds of trust with their children. Dinner is a perfect time for talking to your children about their friends, or school activities. Family members that disperse throughout the house for the evening, are likely to function as autonomous entities, where family bonds are unlikely to be developed.

The domestic church, which has been such an important part of Orthodox Church tradition, can not be developed in a family where meals, prayer, and social life are all in separate parts of the home.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday December 26, 2013 / December 13, 2013
27th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). Food with Oil
Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes at Sebaste (284).
Venerable Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska (1836) and Synaxis of the First Martyrs of the American land.
Virgin-martyr Lucy of Syracuse (304).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest and Martyr John (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Vladimir, Alexander, Jacob priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1938).
New Hieromartyra Emilian and Basil priests (1941).
Venerable Arcadius, monk of Novotorsk (11th c.).
Venerable Mardarius, recluse of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Venerable Arsenius of Latros (8-10th c.).
St. Dositheus metropolitan of Moldavia (1693) (Romania).
Venerable Nicodemus of Romania (Romania).
St. Gabriel, patriarch of Serbia (1659) (Serbia).
St. Odilia, virgin of Alsace (720) (France).
Venerable Innocent, bishop of Cherson (1857).
St. Gabriel, bishop of Imereti, (1896) (Georgia).
St. Columba of Terryglass (549) (Celtic & British).
St. Judoc, hermit of Ponthieu.
St. Ares, monk (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

1 Timothy 6:17-21

Instructions to the Rich

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Guard the Faith

20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
Grace be with you. Amen.

Mark 9:10-16

10 So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.
11 And they asked Him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
12 Then He answered and told them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him.”

A Boy Is Healed

14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”

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