Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Holy of Holies

The Link Between the Old 
and New Testament Temples

Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building behind the Iconostasis (icon screen). This is a continuation of and corresponds to the Holy of Holies in the ancient Israelite temple in Jerusalem.

The whole area behind the iconostasis is called the altar, and is considered the most sacred part of the temple. While great respect must be shown throughout the Church, the altar is very special. It is here that the Holy Spirit descends making the offering of bread and wine in to the Body and Blood of Christ.

Only those who receive the specific blessing of the bishop or the priest may enter, since no one has the right to go behind the iconostasis. The Church allows only those who have a particular reason to be there, a specific task or function, to enter. A blessing must be received each and every time, even if a person serves regularly behind the iconostasis. No one should ever simply wander into the altar without a blessing.

The Holy Table, the proskomedia table (table of preparation), and the discos and chalice, should never be touched by anyone other than a bishop, priest or deacon. The sacredness of these items, set apart for divine worship, is such because they have all been blessed by the Church for the worship of God.

We approach our God with fear and awe, bowing down in worship before His Throne in wonder. We worship the Holy Trinity with the same reverence as did the ancients. The very God Who created us, and Who condescended to join His Divinity with our humanity, is worshiped in temples just as beautiful as that which He commanded to be built in the Holy City, because He has invited us into communion with Him. The worship we offer on this earth is an image of that which is taking place before the Throne in Heaven.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Tuesday March 4, 2014 / February 19, 2014
First Week of the Great Lent. Tone three.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil

Apostles Archippus and Philemon of the Seventy, and Martyr Apphia (1st c.).
St. Theodore of Sanaxar Monastery (1791).
New Martyr Demetrius(1942).
Martyrs Maximus, Theodotus, Hesychius, and Asclepiodotus of Adrianopolis (305-311).
Venerables Eugene and Macarius, presbyters, confessors at Antioch (363).
Venerable Dositheus of Palestine (6th c.), disciple of St. Abba Dorotheus.
Venerable Rabulas of Samosata (530).
Venerable Conon, abbot in Palestine (555).
New Hieromartyr Nicetas of Epirus (1809).
Venerable Philothea, nun-martyr, of Athens (1589) (Greek).
St. Mesrop the Translator of Armenia (439).
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

Isaiah 1:19-2:3

19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Degenerate City

21 How the faithful city has become a harlot!
It was full of justice;
Righteousness lodged in it,
But now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
Your wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebellious,
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.

24 Therefore the Lord says,
The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel,
“Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries,
And take vengeance on My enemies.
25 I will turn My hand against you,
And thoroughly purge away your dross,
And take away all your alloy.
26 I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice, And her penitents with righteousness.
28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together,
And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For they[a] shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees
Which you have desired;
And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens
Which you have chosen.
30 For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades,
And as a garden that has no water.
31 The strong shall be as tinder,
And the work of it as a spark;
Both will burn together,
And no one shall quench them.

The Future House of God

2 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Genesis 1:14-23

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

Proverbs 1:20-33

The Call of Wisdom

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

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