Thursday, July 24, 2014

When the family is at odds

It has been somewhat painful for me to read the many angry responses that have come my way since writing the article entitled, "Warmongering". Not because I expect everyone to agree with my views on everything, but because it is a reminder of just out polarized we are as a nation. I am not a Russian, and I've sometimes felt like a stepchild in the Russian Church, not because I've not been welcomed, but because the ethnic identity, as well as the language, of many of my brothers and sisters is not something I share. As a man who is 50 percent Norwegian, and almost 40 percent Welsh, I've found myself happily at home in a very ethnically Russian jurisdiction.

I love things Russian, and chose to enter Orthodoxy through the Russian Church because I felt an organic connection to a people who have a certain earthiness that was familiar to my Scandinavian roots. Loving my fellow Orthodox Christians who are Russian, has in turn led me to appreciate Russian culture, andI Russian values. As one who is also a proud American, I have found myself well aware that there are problems on both sides of the Pacific, and, we who make up the human family are like all families, in that we don't always get along.

Because I am at home among Russian Americans, and have grown to love and respect my Russian and Ukrainian bishops, I am hurt when the president of the country of my birth, disrespects the people and nation who have become, in a profound way, my family. This tug of loyalty between my allegiance to the country of my birth, and my love of the country whose roots are grounded in Orthodoxy, I find myself in the center of a firestorm of rhetoric and mistrust. Like the child of divorce, I love both my parents, and want them to get along. Knowing the good in both, I am pained that they are failing to see the same goodness. I am pained with the knowledge that two parents are struggling to dominate my world, when in all truth, they should be sharing that world in mutual love and respect.

So, I pray for America, and I pray for Russia. I pray the Lord will preserve both great countries in all honesty, peace, justice, and honor. I pray that God, in His loving kindness, will bring our two great countries together for the common good of all humanity. I pray for President Obama, and I pray for President Putin, two brothers of different mothers, both created in the image of the same loving Father.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday July 24, 2014 / July 11, 2014
7th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.

Commemoration of the Miracle (451) of Great-martyr Euphemia the All-praised, of Chalcedon (304).
Blessed Equal-to-the-Apostles Olga, princess of Russia, in holy baptism called Helen (969).
Hieromartyr Cindeus of Pamphylia (3rd-4th c.).
"Rzevsk" or "Okovetsk" (1539) and "Borkolabsky" Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos.
"Rudensk" (1687) Icon of the Mother of God.
Venerable Nicodemus of Hilandar and Vatopedi, Mt. Athos (14th c.) (Greek).
New Martyr Venerable Nicodemus of Elbasan and Mt. Athos (1722) (Greek).
Uncovering of the relics of the Monk Arkadius of Vyazemsk and Novotorzhsk (1677).
New Martyr Nectarius of St. Anne's Skete, Mt. Athos (1820) (Greek).
Venerable Leo, monk, of Mandra (Greek).
Martyrs Januarius and Pelagia of Nicopolis in Armenia (310).
New Hiero-martyrs Momcilo Grgurevic, Dobroslav Blazenovic, Milan Bozic, Mihailo Djusic, Jovan Zecevic, Bozidar Jovic, Bogdan Lalic, Trifun Maksimovic, Velimir Mijatovic, Bozidar Minic, Miladin Minic, Marko Popovic, Dimitrije Rajanovic, Budimir Sokolovic, Relja Spahic, Lazar Culibrk, Savo Siljac, Savo Skaljka, Milorad Vukojicic, Ratomir Jankovic, Mihailo Jevdjevic, Dusan Prijovic, Dobrosav Sokovic, Nestor Trkulja, Serafim Dzaric, Andrija Siljak, Slobodan Siljak, and Jovan Rapajic of Serbia (1941-1945) (Serbia).
St. Drostan of Old Deer and Aberdeen (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.

"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

The Scripture Readings for the Day

1 Corinthians 7:24-35

24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.
25 Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.
32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

Matthew 15:12-21

12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

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  1. There is an "if you are not for us you are against us" mentality abroad. To name US warmongering is not to defend Putin, but nuanced appeals are lost in the drumbeat of the march to war. Solzhenitsyn has a quote from his novel August 1914 about everything changing as events lead up to war, it was as if we were breathing different air. And here we are, 100 years later.

    I too appreciate fine things about Russian culture, the hospitality of Russian people, their beautiful language and interesting food, their unsurpassed literature. It is tragic that such fine nation is reduced by war propaganda and social media memes to cartoon-character status.

    I hope those who took issue with what you wrote will give it a second read. May God preserve us all in peace.

  2. I posted your article entitled "Warmongering" on my facebook page. No one "liked" it. It was ignored. I hope that someday the American people will embrace the wisdom of your words and many like you. We need it. We need to listen rather than rush to judgment. Thanks for your voice and your courage to speak peace in our troubled world. Often, the peacemakers are ridiculed, but truly they (and you) are sons of God. Peace.

  3. When the groupies finish your canonization, will you redo all your pictures with halos added? You wisely keep your slanders against Ukrainian Catholics off the website. Why not post the photo of the Orthodox soldiers kissing Putin's icon?

  4. Dear Fr. Tryphon thank you for your article "Warmongering". I would encourage Americans to seek out alternative news outlets to hear the "other side of the story". The truth will be somewhere inbetween. This is especially true with the Isreali-Palestinian issue.