Abbot Tryphon on love for the Saints

Abbot Tryphon

THE SAINTS
Our Friends in High Places
 
We Orthodox are known for our veneration of the saints, recognizing as we do the truth that there is no separation between the Church Militant, here on earth, and the Church Triumphant, in heaven. In the Divine Services we are not gathered together alone as mortals, but we are joined in our worship before the Throne of God by the Cloud of Witnesses, who are joined with us in Christ. This truth is exemplified by our use of icons and frescoes depicting the saints. Their images surround us, reminding us that heaven awaits us, where those who have won the good fight have gained their reward, and stand before the Lord of Glory.
 
When entering our temples we venerate the icons with a kiss, not because we believe the saints reside within these icons, but because we, by our veneration, pass on our love to the archetypes. This is not really any different than if we’d kissed a photo of a beloved relative, whose memory we cherish. In our veneration of the icons, we are not worshiping the saints, reserving adoration only for God, but showing honor and love to our friends. They stand before us as witnesses, by their lives, to the truth that eternal life is a reality, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
 
Because of His redemptive act upon the cross, the saints are not dead, but alive. The saints gaze upon the glory of Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, and through the Holy Spirit they see the sufferings of men on earth. The great grace that resides within the saints allows them to embrace the whole world with their love, and they see how we languish in affliction, and they never cease to intercede for us with God. The saints, having won the good fight, encourage us by their example, and pray for us to be victorious.
 
Their lives give witness to the importance of living in repentance, and placing Jesus above all else, for it is in Jesus Christ that they have gained eternal life. It is in Jesus Christ that we, like the saints who have gone on before us, have the same promise of this life eternal. As our friends, they await the day when we will join them, and they offer their prayers for that end.
 
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.

“. . . And we become new creatures”.

AVOIDING THIS PRESENT DARKNESS

For those who embrace the enjoyment of partying and entertainment, all in an attempt to avoid the hardships and life struggles that make great souls, they will have failed to embrace the essential element that makes this life journey salvific. They will have avoided their service of love by enduring those difficulties that unite them to the love of Christ, and Paradise itself will have been sacrificed.

The Lord promised us that the yoke would be easy, and the burden light (Matthew 11:30), if we but united ourselves to Him. Christ opens the door to Paradise, fills our hearts with His divine love, and we become new creatures. But if we do not have Christ, we do not have love, and all our material gain will have led us down the road to a spiritual void that is darkness. If we do not have Christ, even our fasting, virtue, labor, and prayer will have been meaningless.When we turn to Christ and let His embrace lift us out of the stagnation of this present world, we will have gained everything, eternity will be ours, and love will have filled the void that is this present darkness.
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.

“Born of Love”

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BORN OF LOVE

If we find fault in others, our self-indulgent attitude keeps us from having a successful interaction with God. Prayer is born of love, while fault-finding, idle talk and self-indulgence are the death of prayer. Love and prayer are interconnected because both involve God, and if we love God we are given the power to keep our mind on Him both day and night.

Nothing keeps us from Him, and nothing hinders our communion with him. Even the distractions and temptations of the world fade away as nothing, yet as God’s love grows in us, so does love of our neighbor grow.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: At the time Abbot Tryphon wrote the above reflection, the monks at his monastery received a visit from Ethiopian Tewahedo (Oriental Orthodox) friends.

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.