Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Ask the Saints?
Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man

Most Protestant churches strongly reject all saintly intercession, citing passages such as 1 Timothy 2:1-5, which says that Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man, as well as Deuteronomy 18:10-11 which seems to forbid invoking departed souls. They also point to the fact that there are no examples in the Bible of living humans praying to dead humans — Jesus Christ being the lone exception, because He is alive and resurrected, and because He is both human and Divine.

Yet the Bible indeed directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us. In Psalms 103, we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!" (Psalms 103:20-21). And in Psalms 148 we pray, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!" (Psalms 148:1-2).

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, we read: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4). And those in heaven who offer to God our prayers aren’t just angels, but humans as well. John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8). The simple fact is, as this passage shows: The saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

Yes, we have Christ as the only intercessor before the Throne, but that never stopped any of our Protestant brethren from asked fellow believers from praying for them. We ask the friends of God to pray for us all the time, when we ask for the prayers of our friends and fellow believers. Asking those who've gone on before us is possible because they are alive in Christ, and offer their prayers to Christ just as do we. We all, both those in heaven and those still upon this earth, pray before the same "sole mediator between God and man", Jesus Christ. It is Christ through whom we approach the Throne of the Father.

Finally, why would we not want to ask for the prayers of those who have already won their place in Paradise, and are already standing before the Throne of God, worshiping the Holy Trinity?

Part of the problem for Protestants to accept the veneration of the saints stems from their reliance on an approach to doctrine and practice as being Bible only based. Proof texts is thus the norm for most protestant debate on the interpretation of any given passage. By the same token, the unity of worship and doctrine found within the Orthodox Church is the fact we've based both our way of worship AND our doctrinal teachings on Holy Tradition and Scripture. Since the Bible comes out of the living oral Tradition of the Church, the scriptures can only be properly interpreted from within the life of the Church. Our unity is based on what has always been taught.

The Orthodox Church proclaims as dogma that which has been taught everywhere and at all times. The Church is catholic because that which she teaches and the way she worships is not only from Apostolic times, but was everywhere taught and practiced in Apostolic times. She is catholic (universal) because she is the same now as she was from the earliest times in her history. Her Holy Tradition is relied upon when interpreting the Bible, because it is from her Tradition from which the Bible emerged.

Another point to think about is how we (from our Protestant upbringing) interpret the concept of Christ as the 'sole mediator between God and man.' The Protestant idea assumes that 'mediator' means 'intercessor'. But, there is a more profound meaning, not merely an intercessor but the reconciliation of God and man in the reality of the hypostatic union of God and man in the person of Jesus Christ. That is, I think, the real meaning of 'mediator'. Confer the meaning of the Latin source of the word, mediare: 'place in the middle', according to the Pocket OED. Doesn't that make clear that the Protestant interpretation is missing the real point? Once we understand that, then the whole argument against the intercession of the saints has no reality.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


Wednesday August 20, 2014 / August 7, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration.
Martyr Dometius of Persia (363) and two disciples.
Translation of the relics (1832) of St. Metrophanes, first bishop of Voronezh (1703).
Venerable Anthony of Optina (1865).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander, Peter, Michael, John, Demetrius and Alexis priests, Elisey deacon and Hieromartyr Athanasius (1937).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest (1938).
Venerable Poemen (Pimen) the Much-ailing of the Kiev Caves (1110).
Venerable Pimen, faster of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Venerable Mercurius, bishop of Smolensk (Kiev Caves) (1239).
Martyrs Marinus the Soldier and Asterius the Senator at Caesarea in Palestine (260).
Venerable Hor (Horus) of the Thebaid (390).
Virgin Potamia of Alexandria.
Venerable Dometius of Philotheou, Mt. Athos (16th c.).
St. Theodora of Sihla (18th c.) (Romania).
Holy Ten Thousand Ascetics of Thebes (Greek).
Hieromartyr Narcissus, patriarch of Jerusalem (213) (Greek).
Venerable Hyperechius of The Paradise (Greek).
Venerable Sozon of Nicomedia (Greek).
Venerable Theodosius the New, healer of Peloponnesus (862) (Greek).
Venerable Nicanor, wonderworker of Mt. Callistratus (1519) (Greek).
Martyr Afra of Augsburg (304).

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













2 Corinthians 3:4-11

The Spirit, Not the Letter

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Glory of the New Covenant

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.


Matthew 23:29-39
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Transfiguration

The Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ
 
The Transfiguration of of Christ is the episode in the New Testament narrative in which Our Lord is transfigured and becomes radiant with bright rays of light. At that moment the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to Him, and He speaks with them. The voice of God the Father calls Him, "Son", as happened at the baptism of Jesus. This miracle is unique among the others that appear in the gospels, in that the miracle happens to Jesus Himself. The Transfiguration is considered the greatest of all miracles, in that it complemented the baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Christ, the others being baptism, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
 
In Christian teaching, the Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus Himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth. The Transfiguration of Christ was the first time in the history of the world, that man was able to come face to face with the Uncreated Light of God. During the Transfiguration, the scales fell from the disciples eyes and they beheld Jesus as He really was/is--filled with the Shekinah glory of God. And, this moment foreshadows what we all will behold, when we stand for all eternity, worshiping in the company of the heavenly hosts, and all the saints, before the Holy Trinity.

May this great feast be filled with blessings, and great joy, for all of you.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


Tuesday August 19, 2014 / August 6, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Fish Allowed

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ
(Second "Feast of the Saviour" in August).
New Hieromartyrs Dimitry (Lyubimov), archbishop of Gdov (1938) and Priest Nicholas Prozorov (1930), priest Andrew (Zimin), priest Sergius (Tikhomirov), Domnik, Lidia and Mary (Zimins).
New Martyr Abbacum of Thessalonica (1628).
St. Theoctistus, bishop of Chernigov (1123).

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



2 Peter 1:10-19

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peter’s Approaching Death

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

The Trustworthy Prophetic Word

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;


Matthew 17:1-9


Jesus Transfigured on the Mount

17 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.


I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

Incense
Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee

From Old Testament times believers have burned incense as an offering when worshiping God. The ancient temple in Jerusalem even had priests whose sole duty was to keep the censer burning twenty-four hours a day.

Ancient pagan kings were often escorted with large fans of peacock feathers and burning incense when entering their palaces. Early Christians took both these symbols for their worship in recognition of Christ as their Sovereign King and Lord. To this day the Orthodox Church uses incense in most of her services, and large circular fans, reminiscent of the peacock fans of ancient times, are held over the Gospel book during the proclamation of God's word during celebrations of the Divine Liturgy.

As a young man attending my very first Orthodox Liturgy, I was struck by the use of incense. The words of the Psalmist King David, "Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee...", is chanted during every celebration of Vespers during the censing of the temple. During every service where there is a great censing of the whole church, the priest (or deacon) censes the frescoes and icons as windows into eternity, as the incense wafts upward as an offering of the people of God.

The people are also censed by the priest in recognition of their having been created in the image and likeness of their Creator God. Incense is so central in Christian worship that it is even used in the worship of the domestic church, where the family gathers in prayer around their own icons, reading the scriptures together, and offering their family prayers to the Lord.

"Let my prayer arise as incense before Thee." Psalm 141:2

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon




Photos: Father Moses being ordained a Reader by Bishop Theodosy.


 

Monday August 18, 2014 / August 5, 2014
11th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)

Forefeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord.
Martyr Eusignius of Antioch (362).
New Martyrs Eudocia (Shikova) and Novices Daria (Timolina), Dar'ia (Siushinskaya), and Maria of Diveyevo (1919).
New Hieromartyr Simon (Shleev) bishop of Ufa (1921).
New Hieromartyr John deacon (1938).
Venerable Job the Gorge-dweller on the Mezen River (Solovki) (1628).
Hieromartyrs Fabian (250) and Antherus (Antheros) (257), popes of Rome.
Martyr Pontius at Cimella in France (257).
Martyrs Cantidius, Cantidian and Sibelius (Sobel), of Egypt.
Righteous Nonna (374), mother of St. Gregory the Theologian.
St. Oswald, king and martyr (642) (Celtic & British).
Venerable John (Jacob) of Neamp, the Chozebite (1960) (Romania).
New Martyr Chrestos of Preveza (1668).
Uncovering of the relics (1967) of St. Arsenius the New of Paros (1877).

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













2 Corinthians 2:4-15

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Triumph in Christ

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, 13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.



Matthew 23:13-22

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.














I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Taste the Presence
Taste the presence of Christ beside you


We all need a good dose of silent prayer each and every day. Finding that perfect place in your home that can become your cave, or prayer closet, will afford you that sacred space wherein you can go deep into the heart and connect with God. That place wherein you can close off your family, your worries, your job, your distractions, and go deep into your heart wherein you will find the peace that comes from Christ.

The Jesus Prayer is the perfect prayer, for it is a prayer of adoration and praise, and a prayer that proclaims that Jesus is Lord and, as God, can grand mercy upon you. The simple prayer which invokes the Holy Name of Jesus can transform your life, and take you into the very Heart of God. This prayer is known as the Prayer of the Heart for the very reason that it is of the heart.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Said with the aid of a Prayer Rope (thus bringing your body into the action of the prayer), this prayer accomplishes Saint Paul's admonition that we should "pray always". It is a prayer that takes you out of yourself and into communion with Christ. It is a prayer that can change your life because through this prayer you can taste the presence of Christ beside you.
 

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photos: We were blessed to host Bishop Theodosy during the celebration of Liturgy on Saturday morning, during which time he ordained Father Moses as a Reader in the Orthodox Church. Our friend, Archpriest Alex Kotar, dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle, and who has been traveling with the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, concelebrated with us, as the holiest of the Russian Diaspora icons graced the temple with it's presence. A festal meal of octopus stew, was served in the trapeza, following the Hierarchical Liturgy. Originally we'd planned to have a quiet Midnight Liturgy in commemoration of our Patronal Feast, but a last minute change brought the bishop to the monastery late Friday evening, thus the unplanned Saturday morning Liturgy.



Sunday August 17, 2014 / August 4, 2014
10th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone one.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Food with Oil

Holy Seven Youths (the "Seven Sleepers") of Ephesus: Maximilian, Jamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodian (Constantine) and Antoninus (250 & 5th c.).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas (Prozgrov) (1930).
New Hieromartyr Michael, Martyrs Simeon and Demetrius (1937)
Martyr Eudocia of Persia (362).
Martyr Eleutherius of Constantinople (4th c.).
New Hieromartyr Cosmas of Aitolia, Equal to the Apostles (1779) (Greek).
"Kazan-Penza" Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Martyr Ia and 9,000 with her in Persia (Greek).
Martyr Thathuil (Greek).

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 4:9-16

For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

Paul’s Paternal Care

14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

Matthew 17:14-23


A Boy Is Healed

14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Jesus Again Predicts His Death and Resurrection

22 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.


I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts:
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/morningoffering


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.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com

Saturday, August 16, 2014

God
Experiencing the reality of God

My own experience with God is many fold, with everything from witnessing the healing of illnesses of many people, including my own heart condition (I was on the operating table, awaiting bypass surgery, but was healed), to standing before numerous myrrh streaming icons, watching the myrrh well up. I once witnessed a cross (about 12 inches long), held by a Coptic priest friend, literally pouring myrrh into a bucket. Miracles like this are not easily dismissed when you are watching it happen. Perhaps the most impressive miracles I have witnessed over my thirty some years as a monk, have been the healing of peoples hearts. Previously evil people, totally focused on themselves, and hateful to others, have been miraculously transformed into loving, caring, individuals who have become filled with the desire to serve others.
 

It is important to remember that our God did not create us as puppets, but rather as persons with the freedom to respond, or not, to His invitation to enter into communion with Him. Just as a loving dad, desiring to help his child take those first steps on his own, will let go of the child's hands, as the mother reaches out from a few feet away, allowing their child the freedom to move independently, so does our God withdraw our sense of His presence, that we might freely reach out to Him. This is because, just as the child is given freedom to make that first step, so we are given the opportunity to respond to God's invitation, by our own free will.
 

I have been able to experience the presence of God because of the freedom I've been granted by a loving God Who has reached out to me, with grace and mercy. I, like everyone, can experience the presence of God through the joyful and awesome encounter with Christ while participating in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. I've experienced God while hearing a good confession, and witnessing the results of the outpouring of God's grace upon the penitent sinner. I experience the presence of God while witnessing the wonder of discovery in the faces of college students who are hearing of the mystical theology of Orthodoxy, for the first time. I experience the presence of God while visiting the old woman who has walked with God her whole life. I experience the presence of the Lord when witnessing the giggle of a child, who is being hugged by his grandmother. I witness the love of God in the face of my confessor, and the fellowship of my brother monks. I experience the love of God while concelebrating with my archbishop, and my brother priests. I experience God in the early hours of the morning, while I do my cell rule.

I experience God in the sunrise, and in the sunset. I experience God in the freshly picked rose, and the lapping of the water while standing at the sea shore. I experience God as I taste the fresh corn from the stalk. I experience God in the purring sound of our cat, Hammi, while holding him in my arms. Finally, I experience God in the solitude of my heart.

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday August 16, 2014 / August 3, 2014
10th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. Food with Oil

Venerables Isaac, Dalmatus, and Faustus, ascetics of the Dalmatian Monastery, Constantinople (5th c.).
Venerable Anthony the Roman, abbot (Novgorod) (1147).
New Hieromartyr Viacheslav deacon (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1938).
Protomartyr Rajden of Tsromi and Nikozi, Georgia (457) (Georgia).
Venerable Cosmas, eunuch and hermit of Palestine (6th c.).
Holy Myrrh-bearer Salome.
Venerable John, confessor, abbot of Patalaria Monastery (Greek).
Venerable Theoctistus the Wonderworker of Optimaton (Greek).
Venerable Theodora of Thessalonica (Greek).
Nine Kherkheulidze brothers, their mother and sister, and 9,000 others, who suffered on the field of Marabde, Georgia (1625) (Georgia).

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













Romans 15:30-33

30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.


Matthew 17:24-18:4


Peter and His Master Pay Their Taxes

24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”
25 He said, “Yes.”
And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?”
26 Peter said to Him, “From strangers.”
Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”

Who Is the Greatest?

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.













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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.

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery  
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Abbot Tryphon's email address:
frtryphon@vashonmonks.com