February 26, 2013

Tribulation, Temptation and Deliverance

For in those days there will be tribulation. (Mark 13:19)
The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations. (2 Peter 2:9)

These words were written in the first century, but Christians in every century since then have speculated that their time was the worst of times, filled with unimagined tribulations and temptations, and that surely the end would be coming soon. Peter’s epistle is especially graphic about the temptations that come from within the Church as the ways of the world seep inside. Those who had given up that old life and turned their backs on worldly ways start returning to it and corrupting the church from within. “It has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit’” (2 Pet 2:22). Every one of us has done that. As they say when you point the finger at someone else there are three pointing back at you. That’s why we need vigilance to guard our hearts, to keep ourselves securely in Christ, knowing that whatever tribulations and temptations we face, the Lord will be there to help when we want it, and to receive us back in repentance when we don’t.

Our Military Chaplains

Military Chaplain Meeting
Archbishop Nikon, Fr Boback, Metropolitan Tikhon, Fr Gallick.

The OCA has 19 military active-duty and reserve chaplains serving in the US Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and National Guard units, on domestic and international bases and in war zones. Metropolitan Tikhon is the Department of Defense “Endorser” for our chaplains, and yesterday morning he and Archbishop Nikon (liaison for military chaplains for the Assembly of Bishops) met with Father Theodore Boback (
Dean of Chaplains), and Father Joseph Gallick (Deputy Dean) to be briefed on current issues and to talk about plans for visiting military installations and participating in a conference of chaplains.

Father Boback and Father Gallick are both retired from active service in the Army (as Lieutenant Colonels) and exemplify the unique work of military chaplains who serve not only Orthodox faithful in mainly small liturgical settings on bases and in the field, but also are a pastoral presence to all the soldiers (and their families) in their military unit. Father Boback’s record of service includes a number of bases in the US, seven years in Germany, teaching at the Chaplain School at Ft Monmouth, NJ, serving transportation, prison, military intelligence and armoured training units. Father Gallick served at Ft Carson, Ft Sill, and Ft Drum, working with a battalion of Military Police and field hospital units among others. In Hanu (Germany), he ministered to soldiers returning from the First Gulf War, and later was command chaplain of a reserve unit hospital brigade.

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Today begins the semi-annual meeting of the Metropolitan Council, and representatives from across North America have been arriving since yesterday. Planning sessions also started yesterday. The Lesser Synod of Bishops met all afternoon and into the evening (it is responsible for administration in between the regular Spring and Fall meetings of the full Holy Synod), and includes Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Benjamin and Bishop Michael. The Finance Committee, the Post-Council Committee and the Financial Development Committee also met.