St John of Kronstadt on divine love

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St John of Kronstadt on divine love

“Great is Your love, O Lord: You have wholly spent Yourself out of love for me. I gaze upon the cross and marvel at Your love to me and to the world, for the cross is the evident token of Your love to us. ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (Jn. 15:13). Your life-giving Mysteries, Lord, serve as a perpetual glorious proof of Your love for us sinners; for this Your Divine Body was broken for me, for us all, and this Blood was poured out for me, for us all. Lord, I glorify the wonders accomplished by Your Holy Mysteries upon Your believers, to whom I have ministered Them; I glorify the innumerable cures of which I was witness; I glorify Their all-saving action in myself. I glorify Your mercy to me, revealed to me in Them and through Them, and Your life-giving power, acting in Them. Lord, in return for Your great love, grant that I may love You with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself, grant that I may also love my enemies, and not only those who love me.

-St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs, 319-320)

Saint John of Kronstadt (1829-1908) is one of the most beloved Russian saints to whom thousands would come seeking his ascetic and pastoral advice. He served most of his life at St Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral in Kronstadt outside St Petersburg. He wrote widely on many topics, especially on the profound existential need to cultivate transcendent Christian love and forgiveness.

Saint John of Kronstadt (1829-1908) is one of the most beloved Russian saints to whom thousands would come seeking his ascetic and pastoral advice. He served most of his life at St Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral in Kronstadt outside St Petersburg. He wrote widely on many topics, especially on the profound existential need to cultivate transcendent Christian love and forgiveness.

A Servant’s Heart: Abbot Tryphon on offering the Holy Eucharist

THE HOLY OBLATION
The Place Where Heaven and Earth are United

Image       As a priest, I bear the awesome burden of offering the Holy Oblation before the Throne of God, on behalf of all the people whose names are submitted to the monastery, and who are Orthodox. I offer for my spiritual children, and even for the whole world. I commemorate my own beloved parents, Albert and Dolores, who both converted to the Orthodox Faith while in their mid seventies, and who both lived many years in Orthodoxy before reposing in the Lord.

       I remember my best friend in college, Russell, who, like myself, converted from Lutheranism to Orthodoxy, and died at the age of 56, in the pastoral care of my friend Archpriest Nicholas Letten. I offer the Holy Oblation for the people who regularly attend the Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies, here in our monastery’s temple. I offer, like all priests, the Holy Oblation for our nation, our civil authorities, and our armed forces. I offer the Eucharistic sacrifice for our Holy Patriarch Kirill, our Metropolitan Hilarion, for Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco, and my Bishop Theodosy of Seattle. I offer the Oblation for all those who have no one to pray for them, and for those who have died, but are forgotten. I offer the Holy Sacrifice for all the clergy of the Seattle area, and for my brother priests of the diocese. I offer the Holy Sacrifice for myself.
       As a priest, I am a Servant of the Altar, and when I stand before the holy table I am bound together with every priest who has ever served, and with everyone who has laid down his life for Christ, as a martyr. I am bound to every Christian who has ever lived. I am bound to Christ in His Eternal Kingdom wherein the Heavenly Banquet is eternally celebrated, eternally offered, and am falling down, together with all the heavenly hosts, in worship of the Holy Trinity.

The whole of the cosmos is united together in this heavenly offering, for it is the very source of Life itself. This offering is not simply a “symbol” or “memorial” of something that took place in the past, but a place where we meet the Eternal God, for Christ said, “he who eats of My Body, and drinks of my Blood, has life”. Within this celebration we enter into the place where there is neither time, nor space, and we enter into the Heavenly Kingdom, where the Church Triumphant (in heaven) unites with the Church Militant (on earth). We enter into the Communion of Saints!

I am a proponent of frequent communion because we need the Eucharist. It sustains us, encourages us, fortifies us, heals us, transforms us. The early Christians receive whenever they gathered together, for they knew the communal participation in the Eucharistic banquet, was life giving.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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The Very Reverend Igumen Abbot Tryphon is the spiritual leader at All Merciful Saviour monastery located on Vashon Island in Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington State. The monastery is within the canonical jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The monastery’s widely acclaimed and popular Facebook page can be found here. Abbot Tryphon’s popular blog can be accessed here.

A Beautiful Lesson From Abbot Tryphon on Holy Communion

THE ETERNAL BANQUET
The Importance of Frequent Communion

Eternity is an everlasting banquet (the Divine Liturgy) that takes place in the heavenly realm. Every time we participate in the Divine Liturgy we are transported into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in that very banquet. As we receive the Holy Mysteries (Christ’s very Body and Blood), we receive the healing medicine for that which ails us. Our brokenness in both body and soul are given the healing medicine that we so very much need.

God is everywhere present and fills all things. There is no where He is not. Hell fire is none other than the Fire of God, burning those who are unloving and unresponsive to His invitation to commune with Him. God does not send anyone to hell, for we sentence ourselves. Eternity with God necessitates a transformation of our souls, that we be purified in order to be engulfed by God’s uncreated light. Without transformation the fire of God burns us, not because He desires we be burned, but because our fallen nature can not withstand the presence of God without having been purified.The Eucharist is the very medicine that God designed for this transformation. Our response should be one of humble submission to this invitation to commune with the very God Who created us. Holy Communion is meant to be the very agent that changes us, making us whole. The Holy Mysteries give us life. Frequent confession and communion are the means we have for change.

The Eucharist is both mystical and symbolic and is understood to be the genuine Body and Blood of Christ, precisely because bread and wine are the mysteries and symbols of God’s true and genuine presence and His manifestation to us in Christ.

The Holy Eucharist defies analysis and explanation in purely rational and logical terms, precisely because it is a mystery. The Eucharist, as is Christ himself, is a mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven which, as Jesus has told us, is “not of this world.” The Eucharist, because it belongs to God’s Kingdom, is truly free from the earth-born “logic” of fallen humanity.

Saint John of Damascus says, “If you inquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it is through the Holy Spirit … we know nothing more than this, that the word of God is true, active, and omnipotent, but in its manner of operation unsearchable”.

Before the reception of Holy Communion the following prayer is generally recited by the priest on behalf of all. It is each person’s act of personal commitment to Christ, their promise of faith in Him and the Sacred Mysteries of His Church.

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first (1 Timothy 1:15).

I believe also that this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own most precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: Have mercy upon me and forgive me my transgressions, committed in word and deed, whether in knowledge or in ignorance.

And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant. For I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”

May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, 0 Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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The Very Reverend Igumen Abbot Tryphon is the spiritual leader at All Merciful Saviour Orthodox Christian monastery located on Vashon Island in Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington State. The monastery is within the canonical jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The monastery’s widely acclaimed and popular Facebook page can be found here. Abbot Tryphon’s popular blog can be accessed here.