Thursday, February 20, 2014

Abbot Tryphon: Avoiding clericalism

From the blog The Morning Offering, a post entitled "Avoiding Clericalism."

Orthodoxy has traditionally avoided clericalism, yet in more recent times this very corruption of priestly service has enter the doors of the Orthodox Church. It has led some clergy to seek out, for personal gain, even the heavy burden of hierarchical service to Christ's Church. Motivated by their desire for princely honor, their sight is clouded so as to endanger not only their own souls, but the souls of the laity who are in need of humble, fatherly, pastoral care, and who will suffer under their "pastoral" guidance.

This quest for honor has led many clergy to participate in a culture of abuse, where they even turn on one another in their sad attempt at aligning themselves with "officialdom". The culture of abuse that is encouraged and fomented by refusing to live in adherence to the simplicity and humility of Christ's example, is not much different than that of the grade school pecking order where the bully builds alliances based on fear.

It is the same culture that chooses to ignore destructive behavior which undermines the message of the Gospel, and displaces the ministry of healing, replacing it with a worldly culture not unlike that of the fiefdoms of medieval Europe. Those in priestly service must be close to their people, serving as both fathers and brothers, ever being gentle, patient, and merciful. Those in priestly service must be animated by inner poverty, and give themselves over in the freedom of the Lord. Their lives must be in witness to the outward simplicity and austerity of life as exemplified by Christ Himself.

Orthodoxy must be returned to the basics, putting off all royal pretensions and princely ways. Our bishops need to lead their dioceses with biblical standards based on love of their priests, and love of their people, for rule by fear and tyranny is not of Christ. Priests, too, must lead their people as loving fathers, and not as local governors appointed by Caesar.

These are dangerous times, and the people of God must be given the spiritual tools needed to thrive as society falters and Christianity itself is under increased attack. The road ahead requires bishops and priests be more than religious officials, they must be holy men who lead their people as loving, caring, and merciful pastors.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


  1. Wow! Amazing words. Thanks for this blog post. Is this a quote from a book? Where can I learn more of Abbot Trypon?

    1. He's on Facebook and posts often. That might be a good start.

    2. He also has a blog here: and he does a daily podcast for Ancient Faith Radio.