Friday, March 28, 2014

Am I Saved?
Therapeutic Tradition of the Church

Most of us have been asked the question, "are you saved?", at least once in our life. Having it's origin in the protestant soteriology (doctrine of salvation), this question has clearly become part of our American cultural lexicon. The question is often asked by Evangelical Christians as a way of establishing whether we are fellow "born again" Christians, and therefore fellow believers.

Being able to answer in the affirmative clearly gives the "born again" Christian a sense of security. That one would believe a single moment that a declaration of Jesus Christ as one's savior guarantees eternal life, would be comforting. Yet for the Orthodox Christian, the question can be disconcerting, even awkward, for we would never presume to think of ourselves as "saved". We could say we are saved, being saved, and hope to be saved, but we would never be so presumptuous as to declare we are saved. 

Like our evangelical friends, we Orthodox Christians understand Christ's death on the cross was accomplished for our salvation, and that salvation is a gift. We know that we are not saved by our works, and that we, "having been justified by faith (Romans 5:1)", are totally dependent on God's mercy for our salvation. Yet we have a parting of the ways when it comes to the theology of redemption.

As Orthodox Christians the moment we declare our faith in Christ, is the moment we begin our journey. The Holy Spirit imparts the gift of grace, and we begin to participate in the divine energies of God, that we might be transformed and made whole.

Only in Orthodoxy do we find a "therapeutic treatment" tradition. Like the Ancient Church, we believe that an intellectual acceptance of Christ as our Savior is only the beginning of a life journey into the Heart of God. At the moment we declare Christ as our savior, the therapy begins, and we are drawn into the hospital of the soul (the Church), wherein we begin the transformation that leads to deification. The analogous "treatment" of our personality begins at the moment of our declaration, but is completed only with our cooperation with God's grace.

The Holy Scriptures make it clear that faith comes by hearing the Word and by experiencing "theoria" (the vision of God). We accept Christ in the beginning by hearing the Word and seek Him out in order to be healed. The attainment of theoria, saves man. Because evangelicals believe the acceptance of Christ saves man, the Orthodox concept of a "therapeutic tradition", is foreign to them.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we see the image of Christ who cures the wounded man by leading him to the Inn, which is the Church. Christ  is the physician who cures, and the cure takes place within the hospital, which is the Church. We can not say that we are saved, for we have been given this life wherein we are to cooperate with God's grace, and be transformed into His likeness, that we might be capable of spending eternity in His Divine Presence, without being burned.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: Hieromonk Paul holding our beloved cat, Hammi.

Friday March 28, 2014 / March 15, 2014
Fourth Week of the Great Lent: Adoration of Cross. Tone six.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Martyrs Agapius, Publius (Pauplios), Timolaus, Romulus, two named Dionysius, and two named Alexander, at Caesarea in Palestine (303).
New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (1938).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1940).
Hieromartyr Alexander of Side in Pamphylia (270-275).
Martyr Nicander of Egypt (302).
Venerable Nicander, monk, of Gorodets (Novgorod) (1603).
New Martyr Manuel of Crete (1792) (Greek).
St. Hebarestes.
St. Zachariah, pope of Rome (752).

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

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Isaiah 29:13-23

13 Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”

15 Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
16 Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
“He did not make me”?
Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?

Future Recovery of Wisdom

17 Is it not yet a very little while Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
19 The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord,
And the poor among men shall rejoice
In the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the terrible one is brought to nothing,
The scornful one is consumed,
And all who watch for iniquity are cut off—
21 Who make a man an offender by a word,
And lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
And turn aside the just by empty words.
22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

“Jacob shall not now be ashamed,
Nor shall his face now grow pale;
23 But when he sees his children,
The work of My hands, in his midst,
They will hallow My name,
And hallow the Holy One of Jacob,
And fear the God of Israel.

Genesis 12:1-7

Promises to Abram

12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

Proverbs 14:15-26

15 The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps.
16 A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident.
17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,
And a man of wicked intentions is hated.
18 The simple inherit folly,
But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19 The evil will bow before the good,
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor,
But the rich has many friends.
21 He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.

22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.

23 In all labor there is profit,
But idle chatter leads only to poverty.

24 The crown of the wise is their riches,
But the foolishness of fools is folly.

25 A true witness delivers souls,
But a deceitful witness speaks lies.

26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.

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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations.
All donations are therefore tax deductible. We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, our fine line of teas, and make Monastery Jams, all sold on line, and in our gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, tend bee hives, and raise free range chickens for our eggs. With all we do to support ourselves, we still depend on the generosity of our friends and benefactors. You can donate to the monastery through PayPal, or by sending donations directly to the monastery's mailing address.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA
Abbot Tryphon's email address:

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