Wednesday, May 7, 2014

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Priests are ambassadors of Orthodoxy

It was relatively late in my life when I embraced Orthodoxy. Already forty-one, I'd found myself wandering in a spiritual wasteland, knowing I was drying up spiritually, and hoping there was something out there that would fill the void. Orthodoxy had not been in my scope, seeming, as it were, to be some exotic, eastern form of a Christian faith that had become stagnant, for me.

I was aware of the Orthodox claims to being the very Church founded by Christ, and I had witnessed the majesty of her divine services. I'd tasted a small portion of the sublime mystical theology that seemed to be intuitive in nature, rather grounded in the logic and reason that had formed much of Western Christianity. I was aware of her ancient history, and the astounding beauty of her temples.

Yet the seemingly splintered nature of American Orthodoxy put me off, what with the myriad of ethnic expressions of a faith that claimed to be the One True Church, and the strong nationalistic nature of some parishes. Yet, as I think back, American Lutheranism was much the same when I was young, with the Norwegians, Germans, Danes, Finns, Swedes, and Latvians, all separated into difference denominations, with independent administrations.

I'd also adhered to liberal political and religious views, and thought the Orthodox Church's positions to be backward, devoid of charity, and downright medieval. Her clergy, at least the ones I'd met, seemed to be standoffish, and unfriendly. Sad, how we can make sweeping judgements on another man's faith, while standing from the vantage point of looking from the outside. Judging a whole faith while having met but a few of her clergy, in hindsight, is rather sad, but that seems to be a common practice for many.

Now that I am happily within the walls of the Orthodox Church, I try to remember to be open, friendly, and approachable, when out in public. Priests are the ambassadors of the faith, the first to represent Orthodoxy to outsiders. If we are closed off, aloof, and unapproachable, we will be nothing but a barrier to others, for they will not come close enough to Orthodoxy to be able to "taste and see", and we will have failed, as Christ's priests, to have shown forth His light in our lives, for a darken world that needs Orthodoxy, now more than ever.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thanks to your generosity, we have now reached the halfway point in our goal to raise the needed $13,000 for the 2006 Toyota van.

Wednesday May 7, 2014 / April 24, 2014
Third Week of Pascha. Tone two.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Martyr Sabbas Stratelates ("the General") of Rome, and 70 soldiers with him (272).
St. Alexis Toth, priest of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania (1909).
Martyr Sergius (1938).
Hieromartyr Branko of Veljusa, Serbia (1941).
Venerables Sabbas (13th c.) and Alexis the Hermit of the Kiev Caves.
Martyrs Pasicrates, Valentine and Julius in Moesia (Bulgaria) (228).
Martyrs Eusebius, Neon, Leontius, Longinus, and others at Nicomedia (303).
Venerable Thomas the Fool of Syria (550).
Venerable Elizabeth the Wonderworker of Constantinople (540).
"Molchensk" Icon (1405) of the Mother of God.
Saint Luke, Tailor of Mytilene (1564).
New Martyr Nicholas of Magnesia (1795).
Martyr Alexander of Lyons (177) (Gaul).
St. Elias (Iorest) (1678) and St. Sava (Brancovici) (1683), metropolitans of Ardeal, confessors against the Calvinists (Transylvania).
St. Joseph the Confessor, bishop of Maramures (1711) (Romania).
New Martyr Doukas of Mitylene (1564) (Greek).
St. Innocent, presbyter on the Mount of Olives (4th c.).
St. Xenophon, founder of the monastery of St. George (Xenophontos) on Mt. Athos (1018).
New Martyr George in Anatolia (1796).
St. Wilfrid, archbishop of York (709) (Celtic & British).
St. Egbert, bishop of Iona (729) (Celtic & British).
St. Mellitus, archbishop of Canterbury. (Celtic & British).
Uncovering of the relict of St. Yvo, bishop. (Celtic & British).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

The Scripture Readings for the Day

Acts 8:18-25

18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”
25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

John 6:35-39

35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

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All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a monastery of the Western American Diocese, under the
omophor of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. The Monastery is a non-profit 501 C3 organization under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible. We 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.

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PO Box 2420
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for all you do for us! To be Ambassadors, Representatives of our Faith, surely, we need to be equipped and authorized to go out and proclaim the Good News?