Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Holiness of the Church

During each and every celebration of the Divine Liturgy, we, as the people of God, recite the Nicene Creed. This ancient declaration is the very core of our common faith, and connects us to the teachings of the Ancient Church. In this creed we declare that we believe in "The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". The word "holy" is something we often fail to see as having anything to do with us, personally. The Church is holy, but we are not, we tell ourselves. Yet the first Christians called themselves "the holy", precisely because they knew the Holy Spirit was in their midst, sanctifying the Church. They knew they were not simply members of a religious body, but that they WERE the Church.

Because the Holy Spirit sanctifies the Church, they, as members of the Body of Christ, were sanctified, even if they often fell short of the Glory of God. But how could the Church be holy when she so often experiences moments of darkness, and when even her priests and bishops fall short the standards set forth in the Gospels? How can we call the Church holy, when we are all such sinners?

The Church is holy because her founder is holy, and because Christ has never abandoned His Church. The Church is holy because she is guided by the Holy Spirit. She is holy because she is always being purified and transformed anew, by the Holy Spirit. The Church is not holy because of anything we have done, but because God has made her holy.

If the holiness of the Church was dependent upon her people, most of us would have to be banned from membership. Yet this very holiness is based upon the fact that the Church does not turn away we sinners, but welcomes us with open arms. Because of the great mercy of God, and His tender love for us, we enter the very threshold of the Church with the expectation we will receive healing and forgiveness. It is within the boundaries of the Church that even the weakest of sinners can become holy, for holiness is the destiny of every Christian. Every Christian is called to holiness because our weakness is overcome by the strength of God's mercy. It is not about living extraordinary lives, but about being transformed by an extraordinary God.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday October 3, 2013 / September 20, 2013

15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
Great-martyr Eustathius (Eustace) Placidas, his wife Martyr Theopistes, and their children Martyrs Agapius and Theopistus, of Rome (118).
Holy Martyr and Confessor Michael and his councilor Theodore, wonderworkers of Chernigov (1245).
New Hieromartyr Anatole (Kamensky), archbishop of Irkutsk (1925).
New Hieromartyrs Theoktist and Alexander priests (1937).
Venerable Oleg, prince of Briansk (1285).
Synaxis of All Saints of Briansk.
Martyr John the Confessor of Egypt, beheaded in Palestine, and with him 40 Martyrs (310).
New Martyr Hilarion of Crete (Mt. Athos) (1804) (Greek).
Venerables Theodore and Euprepius and two named Anastasius, confessors and disciples of St. Maximus the Confessor (7th c.).
Martyrs Artemidorus and Thalos (Greek).
St. Meletius of Crete (Greek).
Venerable Kyr John of Crete (Greek).
St. Eustathius, archbishop of Thessalonica (1194).

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

Galatians 3:23-4:5

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Sons and Heirs

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
4 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Luke 4:16-22

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

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