Category Archives: General

Sheep Among Wolves

As the summer months have come to a close many young people are heading off to college, some for the very first time. A scripture passage comes to my mind as I think of these wonderful young people preparing to leave home: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).” College professors almost universally enjoy challenging young college students to question authority, yet are taken aback when their own authority is questioned. They know they are addressing a class of impressionable minds and almost make sport of attacking the positions of their students.

My advice to Orthodox students is to refuse to be intimidated and don’t be discouraged. Most of these professors took years to acquire the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their belief system, or lack thereof, including atheism. These professors usually only ask you to question the authority of those who have instructed you thus far, such as your parents or your religious leaders, but are highly indignant when someone questions their authority. Their pattern of teaching is nothing new, for there have been antagonists like them from before recorded history. Furthermore, their arguments are nothing new, for there were teachers of atheism and other false teachings who confronted the Apostle Paul when he was preaching the gospel in Athens. The arguments may be new to you, but suffice to know these challenges to your faith have been answered by a great many apologists since the beginning of Christianity.

Textbooks, be they geared towards history, science, or philosophy, have always tended to expound anti-Christian viewpoints, and it is important to remember that publishing companies produce textbooks that will sell to such academic mindsets. Christianity may be ridiculed as being closed minded and backward looking, but academics can not claim to be insulated from the same unhealthy trait. Some of the most closed minded individuals I have ever known were academics. I find it interesting that Christian writers expounding the Christian Faith are often accused of being biased, while secularists thinkers expose their own arrogance, hypocrisy and narrow mindedness, disallowing others their freedom of opinion. Dismissing the faith of young people, these pompous academics move to crush that which they themselves do not understand.

The best advice I can offer the young Orthodox Christian heading off to college is this: know from the moment you enter the classroom that the professor is a better debater than you, so don’t place yourself in his scope. If you do, expect to be blown out of the water. Secondly, don’t be embarrassed by your commitment to your Orthodox faith. My experience teaching on both secular and religious campuses is that most students are secretly wishing to find a spiritual basis for the meaning of life. They may secretly envy you for your faith. My final advice, “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).”

Build a support system for yourself by gathering together with other college students to form a chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Meet on a weekly basis for worship, study, and networking. Get to know your faith to the degree that you can stand up to the best of them when defending your beliefs. If you do, you may one day be the reason an atheist professor finds Christ, and becomes an Orthodox Christian.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example…in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very Rev. Fr. Tryphon is a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) and abbot of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington.

New Chandelier Blessing

On Sunday October 25th, we celebrated the blessing of our new chandelier during liturgy which has been donated in honor and memory of Max Rosenfield. The Kerpchar Family graciously hosted a wonderful dinner after the liturgy.


Here are some quotes that Father Luke mentioned during service about the chandelier with links to the full articles below:

“…its ring is embellished with arches, very-slightly horseshoe shaped, which lend a splendid crown-like elegance.”  –  Andrew Gould, “A Chorus Chandelier for a Timber Frame Church”, Orthodox Arts Journal, January 9, 2014


“Winding through an ever-changing progression of ornamental foliage and beasts is an inscription from Revelation 21:5 “There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This use of this verse on a chandelier has precedent in ancient Romanesque art, and it is fitting to the Orthodox idea of every church as an outpost of the Kingdom of God, shining from within with the light of God’s grace.“ – Andrew Gould, “A Chorus Chandelier for a Timber Frame Church”, Orthodox Arts Journal, January 9, 2014


“A church interior should give a sense to incomers that this is a special place, a sacred space, not separate from but nevertheless distinct from the world outside. If the lighting inside is as intense as daylight, or is just like a well-lit work place, then we have little reminder that this is a place set side. One can think of low lighting as an evocation of the sepulchre from which the resurrection light breaks forth, or the mouth of a spring from which gushes the water of life to “bring life wherever it flows” (Ezekiel 47:9).” –  Aidan Hart, “Lighting in Orthodox Churches: Liturgical Principles and Practical Ideas” Orthodox Arts Journal, August 27, 2015


3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6And he said unto me, These sayings [are] faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7Behold, I come quickly: blessed [is] he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” – Revelations 22:3-7


*… because in Orthodoxy the entire temple represents the New Jerusalem. The meaning of the fixture in an Orthodox temple is complex, and can best be understood by examining the word ‘choros’. In ancient Greek, it was the word for a circular clearing in the forest, a meadow. In classical mythology it is the place where lovers gather secretly for trysts, where satyrs and nymphs dance to the pan flute. Churchmen boldly adopted this word to denote the circular liturgical space under the dome, a sunlit clearing in the forest of columns. Here God and man meet for their lover’s dance, and couples hold hands and walk in circles to be married, like the pagans of old. The chandelier is called choros after the circular space that it adorns. It is the wedding crown, an ornament of pure joy to celebrate the union of God and man, like the flowers and birds that ornamented the forest clearing.” – Andrew Gould “Holy Ascension Chorus”, Orthodox Arts Journal, June 14, 2012


“The surviving Byzantine choroi do not include inscriptions, so for our choros we had to choose a text of our own. In consultation with the donor, we settled upon Revelation 21:5 “There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This verse is similar to the inscription on the Aachen corona, however it does not describe the architecture of the city, but only the quality of light, and the eternal triumph of the blessed. It is a verse fitting to the role of the Orthodox choros—an instrument of illumination at the center of a temple which is itself the Heavenly City.”  – Andrew Gould “Holy Ascension Chorus”, Orthodox Arts Journal, June 14, 2012


Save the Date: Nicholas Mihaly to be ordained Deacon

By the Grace of God, Nicholas Mihaly will be ordained deacon by His Grace, Bishop Gregory, on Sunday May 24 at St. Johns Church, 600 Silver Lane, Stratford, CT.

There will be no church service at Danbury on that Sunday. All are encouraged to attend the ordination. There will be a breakfast following the ordination at the Trumbull Marriott Merritt Parkway. The cost is $23 per person. Meal reservation have to be in by May 10. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the church hall.

For those who would like to bowl this also the ACRY bowling Tournament that is being hosted by the Silver Lane Chapter. His Grace Bishop Gregory will be here also. There is a grand banquet the same Sunday, May 24. The cost for the banquet is $50 for adults.

Holy Week: An Explanation

Great Lent and Holy Week are two separate fasts, and two separate celebrations.  Great Lent ends on Friday of the fifth week (the day before Lazarus Saturday).  Holy Week begins immediately thereafter. Let’s explore the meaning of each of the solemn days of Passion Week.

Raising_Lazarus.previewLazarus Saturday:  Lazarus Saturday is the day which begins Holy Week.  It commemorates the raising of our Lord’s friend Lazarus, who had been in the tomb four days.  This act confirmed the universal resurrection from the dead that all of us will experience at our Lord’s Second Coming.  This miracle led many to faith, but it also led to the chief priest’s and Pharisees’ decision to kill Jesus (John 11:47-57).

Palm_Sunday_0Palm Sunday (The Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem):  Our Lord enters Jerusalem and is proclaimed king – but in an earthly sense, as many people of His time were seeking a political Messiah.  Our Lord is King, of course, but of a different type – the eternal King prophesied by Zechariah the Prophet.  We use palms on this day to show that we too accept Jesus as the true King and Messiah of the Jews, Who we are willing to follow – even to the cross.

Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:  The first thing that must be said about these services, and most of the other services of Holy Week, is that they are “sung” in anticipation.  Each service is rotated ahead twelve hours.  The evening service, therefore, is actually the service of the next morning, while the morning services of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday are actually the services of the coming evening.

Understanding that, let’s turn to the Services of Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (celebrated Palm Sunday , Monday and Tuesday evening).  The services of these days are known as the Bridegroom or Nymphios Orthros Services.  At the first service of Palm Sunday evening, the priest carries the icon of Christ the Bridegroom in procession, and we sing the “Hymn of the Bridegroom.”  We behold Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, bearing the marks of His suffering, yet preparing a marriage Feast for us in God’s Kingdom.

Each of these Bridegroom Orthros services has a particular theme.  On Holy Monday, the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated.  Joseph is often seen as a Type of Christ.  Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery by them.  In the same way, our Lord was rejected, betrayed by His own, and sold into the slavery of death.  The Gospel reading for the day is about the barren fig tree, which Christ cursed and withered because it bore no fruit.  The fig tree is a parable of those who have heard God’s word, but who fail to bear the fruit of obedience.  Originally the withering of the fig tree was a testimony against those Jews who rejected God’s word and His Messiah.  However, it is also a warning to all people, in all times, of the importance of not only hearing the God’s word, but putting it into action.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins is read on Holy Tuesday.  It tells the story of the five virgins who filled their lamps in preparation for receiving the bridegroom while the other five allowed their lamps to go out, and hence were shut out of the marriage feast.  This parable is a warning that we must always be prepared to receive our Lord when He comes again.  The theme of the day is reinforced by the expostelarion hymn we sing:  “I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter.  O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me.”  The theme of Holy Wednesday is repentance and forgiveness.  We remember the sinful woman who anointed our Lord in anticipation of His death.  Her repentance and love of Christ is the theme of the wonderful “Hymn of Kassiane” which is chanted on this night, reminding us one more time, before “it is too late,” that we too may be forgiven if  we repent.

Holy Unction:  The Mystery or Sacrament of Holy Unction is celebrated on Holy Wednesday evening. Actually this service can be celebrated any time during the year, especially when one is ill.  However, because of our need for forgiveness and spiritual healing, we offer this service during Holy Week for the remission of our sins.  We should prepare for this service in a prayerful way, as we do for Holy Communion.

Crucifixion_600pxGreat and Holy Thursday:  On Holy Thursday we turn to the last events of our Lord and His Passion.  Thursday morning begins with a Vesperal Divine Liturgy commemorating the Mystical Supper. As previously mentioned, this is actually Holy Thursday evening’s service celebrated in the morning in anticipation.  Everyone who is able should make an effort to receive Holy Communion at this service as it was at the Mystical Supper that our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist.  At this Liturgy a second Host is consecrated and kept in the Tabernacle.  It is from this Host that Holy Communion is distributed to the shut-ins and the sick throughout the coming year.

Thursday evening actually begins the services of Great and Holy Friday.  The service of the Twelve Passion Gospels commemorates the solemn time of our Lord’s Crucifixion.  After the reading of the fifth Gospel, the holy cross is carried around the church in procession, and Christ’s body is nailed to the cross in the center of the church.

takingdownfromcrossGreat and Holy Friday:  This is a day of strict fast.  As little as possible should be eaten on this day.  It is the only day in the entire year that no Divine Liturgy of any kind can be celebrated.  In the morning we celebrate the Royal Hours.  These solemn hours are observed as we read the various accounts and hymns concerning the crucifixion.  In the afternoon we celebrate the Vesper service of the taking down of Christ’s body from the cross.  During the Gospel reading, our Lord’s body is taken off the cross and wrapped in a new, white linen sheet.  This act commemorates the removal of Christ’s body from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38-42). Later in the service, the Epitaphios, or winding-sheet, with Christ’s body on it is carried in procession and placed in the recently decorated tomb.  In the evening the Lamentations Orthros service is sung.  This service begins in a solemn manner, but by the end of the service we are already anticipating the Resurrection of our Lord.  Remember again, that the Holy Friday evening Orthros is actually the first service of Holy Saturday, the day in which we commemorate our Lord’s body resting in the tomb while His all-pure soul descends into Hades to free the faithful of the Old Covenant.


Great and Holy Saturday:  This day is a day of hope and waiting.  In the morning we celebrate a Vesperal Divine Liturgy which commemorates Christ’s victory over death.  Bright vestments are worn as we anticipate Christ’s Resurrection.  Laurel leaves are strewn throughout the church during the service, because in the ancient world laurel leaves were a sign of victory.  As the leaves are strewn, the choir chants “Arise O God and Judge the earth, for to Thee belong all the nations.”  The Old Testament story of Jonah in the belly of the whale is read at this service because Jonah is seen in the Church as a Type of Christ.  As Jonah was three days in the belly of the great fish, and was then safely deposited back onto land, so our Lord was three days in the tomb before His glorious Resurrection.  The Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday concludes the services of Holy Week, and brings us to the eve of Great and Holy Pascha.

from: Antiochian Archdiocese website

House Blessings

Fr. Luke will be scheduling house blessings. Do not be afraid to call Father to schedule a time. Please keep your calendar open and flexible.

Preparing your home for the blessing:

  1. Your home does NOT have to be spotless, but should be free of clutter on the floor, like toys, which may cause Father to trip or fall.
  2. A table should be prepared with a white cloth where an icon, a candle, a small bowl, holy water and a list of first names of everyone you want Father to pray for during the service for their health. If you do not have Holy Water, please let Father know and he will bring a bottle of for you to keep.
  3. If you have any small items, like crosses or icons, that you want blessed, place them on the table and let Father know.
  4. Turn off all radios and TVs. Take the phone off the hook during the short blessing service. Cell phones should be turned off. Just remember to place the phone back on the hook and turn on your cell phone at the end of the service.
  5. Close all doors to rooms you do not want Father to enter — open all doors and turn the lights on in the home, otherwise.
  6. A family member should lead Father around the home during the
    blessing. Children may do this, girls or boys.
  7. If you have a pet, they may also receive a blessing, but please keep them under control to prevent them from jumping on Father or getting under his feet.
  8. I look forward to sharing this special blessing with you and your family. Many Years!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

“When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator.”

– St. Basil the Great

Parish Christmas Card

Chrissanth, with the help of our children, has created a beautiful Christmas card from our parish which will be sent to Bishop Gregory and all the friends of our parish.

If you would like to have your name on the card, please see Julia Huott or Maddy Sulich at coffee hour. A $20 donation is requested per family.