Abbot Tryphon on Rittenhouse and the Rule of Law

One of the criticisms we get from some readers is that we don’t question our American bishops often enough.  While others would beg to differ, believe it or not, we have pulled our punches on many an occasion.  As a cradle Orthodox (and an incredibly fallen human being in my own right), I believe that they should be given the benefit of the doubt more often than not.  

Seriously, I do.  They’re not bad men.  And, given the marginality of Orthodox Christians in America (where we barely make up 1 percent of the population), it’s probably best we keep to ourselves, at least for the most part.  Especially since we don’t yet have an organic American ethos.  (Seriously, playing Byzantine dress-up and handing out vain titles from a city that no longer exists is not going to play in Peoria.)  

That doesn’t mean that they can’t –or shouldn’t–comment on those things which are needful.  And yes, the destruction of our legal system merits more concern than marching in a “mostly peaceful” protest put on by some neo-Marxists.  

Thanks to the recent verdict in Kenosha, where a jury found Kyle Rittenhouse innocent of all five charges that were trumped up against him, we have seen riots break out in some cities.  We also saw some horrific carnage at a Christmas parade in nearby Waukesha, Wisconsin.  It seems that some violent racist decided to take collective revenge against the fine people of that city because he didn’t like the verdict.

Now, he wasn’t the only one who was pissed.  Other, less violent but equally deranged people took to the twittersphere and voiced their sympathy for the murderer.  Their opinions mostly boiled down to something like  “karma’s a bitch”. 

Make no mistake:  this is witness and/or would-be jury intimidation, pure and simple.  Not that actual jury  tampering didn’t go on during the actual trial.  It did.  Still, justice was served and the right prevailed. 

That doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels and pat ourselves on the back.  What we are seeing is a continuation of the annus horribilis of 2020.  The truly evil people who hate our country (and its foundations) are not going to rest until the wide swaths of America that are not yet in their control are turned into a Detroitesque hellscape.

Abbot Tryphon sees is.  The rule of law is all that we have in this country; it’s the only thing that keeps us from tearing each other apart like wild animals.  And as a pastor, as an American, he has the right to speak on this matter.  More than that, he has the obligation –both as a Christian as well as a citizen–to speak up. 

And, as you will see in this short video, he does so.  Please take the time to watch it.  As always, your comments are appreciated.

About GShep


  1. The good abbot is quite naive. Perhaps that is a good thing, but I doubt it. I doubt it because he speaks as a convinced liberal, though a conservative one. All the language of rights, human and civil, and attempting to interweave that with the biblical and patristic narrative is destined to complete failure. It is the imposition of a modern paradigm on holy elders who had no such conceptions.

    What the advocates of “colorblind” fail to recognize is that for over a century, liberals have advocated “self rule” or “home rule” for various groups based on their color, creed or ethnicity. This was the dismantling of the age of empires and it was racist in a reverse sense. It certainly wasn’t colorblind nor did it dismiss ethnicity or religion.

    The aftermath of this phenomenon in America and, for different reasons, in Europe, is an epidemic of “colored racism”, so to speak. It is the war against white dominance, though whites are a majority, through the repudiation of “white supremacy”, etc. It is a racist movement all its own which liberals have encouraged for a long, long time and which has become a monster poised to consume them. There is some justice in this but it does have unpleasant consequences for the rest of us who have remained normal, ethnocentric types of which history is filled.

    Specifically, if white liberals wish to demonstrate themselves out of existence, so be it. But white is white and so the rest of us are in the position of resisting this sui-genocide. And that is why the good abbot’s remarks fall far short of the mark. He speaks as a convinced liberal. Not as someone who has a healthy respect for his own race and ethnicity. Imagine a pit with several wild dogs fighting over a piece of meat. Abbot Tryphon fancies himself a man outside the pit and above the fray. In reality, he is one of the dogs. And he does not have that dog’s own interests at heart.

    This is the tragedy of conservative liberalism aka, American Conservatism. Within its own ideology lie the seeds of its demise. Hopefully it will not simply be the progressive liberalism that self-destructs in our age but also the conservative liberalism of the naive. I do not preach racism any more than Indian nationalists, Irish nationalists or African nationalists. But there are those who completely subsume white self-interest into racism or white supremacy and this leaves us no room but a prison, slave quarters or a grave.

    And that is unacceptable.

    A Russian probably would not have spoken so. Russians know the value of maintaining ethnic dominance in their own lands – even exporting it. Masochism is very ugly.

    • cynthia curran says

      Actually, I like Abbott Tryphone\, he doesn’t always think completely left or right. He is on a island not far from Seattle so is aware of the new thinking on the left against Rittenhouse. What I find interesting is the left was against the death penalty and the far left doesn’t believe in jails, but when it came to Rittenhouse they wanted him to have life imprison.

    • AMEN, and well said.
      I’m coming into this from outside- as a lapsed (to say the least) evangelical protestant (apostolic pentecostal, no less) who returned to Christ only weeks ago; and who, after a week of intense prayer begging the Lord to point me in the direction he wanted me to go, was whomped upside the head with Orthodoxy, something I was completely unfamiliar with, in circumstances that were odd and spiritually powerful enough that I couldn’t ignore or rationalize.

      Since that day (11-7-21), I have been reading, praying, studying. And unfortunately I have come to see that -despite the fact that the Orthodox Church is indeed the continuation of the Church as founded by Christ our Lord Himself- regrettably much of the leadership seem to be utterly swayed by the satanic lies of the media and Leftist hordes, and the underlying ideals of Cultural Marxism. Ideals which define any hint of Europeans defending or hoping to sustain the culture, nations, or institutions of our forefathers as racism and “white supremacy”.
      I see some marching with BLM, a Marxist terrorist organization, affiliated with the Antifa groups who assault and murder those who dare to disagree, both funded in large part by a financier who calls himself “a god” and whose declared favorite pastime is destroying the currencies of whichever nations seem most ripe for harvest, thereby plunging entire populations into poverty and chaos.

      I write this not to accuse, simply to communicate. I’m sure most Orthodox have had their fill of converts wanting to change the Church, but that is the last thing I wish (indeed, I hope to see all traditions upheld- if I wanted Protestantism, I’d have remained protestant). I write, rather, with a broken heart, with a spirit which is crying out a plea to God to strengthen His Holy Church. I write acknowledging myself the greatest of sinners, a broken man begging God’s mercy and grace, pleading with all I am that I find at least one refuge untainted by the lies of the enemies of Christ and His church.
      Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        You have to look at it like this: There is the Church that is pure and untainted and then there are the people in the Church who are broken like we all are in various ways. You will find this in all churches. At least we’ve got incredible teaching that is relatively untainted.

  2. I am deeply appreciative of Abbot Tryphon’s pastoral words. Well said!

  3. It is always hard to witness good people, good-natured people, struggle to understand dark social, moral and spiritual events around them which baffle them. It is essentially goodness grappling to understand the nature and presence of evil, hence their bafflement. It is hard for me to witness gentle souls such as Fr Tryphon’s wrestling to understand evil using his own good nature as the cipher. Light puzzles over the existence of darkness and quite naturally wishes to bring light as the antidote. I have heard and encountered such spirits as Fr Tryphon’s before, and for this I am very thankful. They are not entirely of this world any more, God bless them all.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Balkan Dan, thank you for this insightful thought regarding goodness and evil. I too, sense in Abbot Tryphon’s words a longing for goodness to triumph because it is so self-evidently –good.

      Unfortunately, we are in a moral abyss in which the darkness increasingly snuffs out the light. That doesn’t mean that good won’t triumph in the end, or that we are not called to fight (and perhaps lose). In that sense, I agree with Misha that the time for naivete is over; we are no longer to fight with the Marquis of Queensbury rules while the other side uses flamethrowers.

      At the risk of sounding like a Johnny One-note (regarding the tranny phenomenon), this is one reason I won’t engage in the pronoun wars or pretend that a man who has breasts and no penis is no longer a man. In other words, in this particular arena, I will abide by Solzhenitsyn’s dictum of “not living by lies”.

      I don’t have to. And the insanity of the Left at Rittenhouse’s verdict, as well as the murderous rampages that are to come, compel me to fight where I stand and if the Lord permits, to take further ground. We are all called to do so. Quietism in the face of evil is nothing less than a heresy.

      • Balkan Dan says

        George, I’m sure you and Misha will do what you think best. I’m just having a hard time understanding your post to me in relation to my comments above. Help me out here. Thx.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Which comment do you think they misunderstood?

          • I honestly don’t know, Gail.

            If I had to venture a guess, I’d say George somehow misconstrued my first comment about Abbot Tryphon as a comment about Misha’s post. You’ll notice my comment isn’t linked to Misha’s. When I posted my first comment above, there were no other comments on the page at all that I could see.

            My first comment above is exclusively about Fr Tryphon’s video, full stop, nothing more.

            Thank you.

        • BD,

          Nothing I said was in reply to you. We’re fine. I thought I should soften my initial reaction to the abbot somewhat in light of his age and experience.

  4. I am glad that Abbot Tryphon speaks out in defense of Kyle Rittenhouse here. That being said, I think his piece here rambles a fair amount, and it’s a little bit distracting. Yes, we live in an age where it seems like the world has gone mad, but if you’re going to start talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, it would have helped to have stayed with the issues that this situation touch on, and there are many. However, when he started talking about abortion, it seemed disjointed to what he was talking about before, and some of the points he makes earlier never seem filled out, whereas the second part seems more “cloudy” as far as focus.

  5. Jesus said, from Luke 12:49-53
    49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

    Seems to me that the battle is not about race, etc but about doing the will of God.
    We keep watering down the will of God until it is almost meaningless. We rewrite the will of God to suit our own purposes. We back down from doing the will of God because at the time that seems the easier path. And we are afraid to call evil evil.

    But Paul says,” We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. ” Ephesians 6:12

    Paul’s antidote to all these powers is to put on the whole armor of God.

  6. Don’t take my observation about his naivete to be a hard criticism of Abbot Tryphon. You can sense that he is a soul full of love who is doing the best he can. His support of Rittenhouse is well considered since he watched the trial and all reasonable people agree with him on that note. We are all period pieces, creatures of our time, to some extent regarding our political mindsets. That’s true of the good abbot as well as Fr. Schmemann. Their strengths and weaknesses must be observed taking into consideration the context of their intellectual formation.

    PS: George, the new masthead image is great.

    • Well! I must interject and say that I was shocked, shocked, I say, to see that new masthead! Scandalized and mortified I was, just to think that an Orthodox blog…Orthodox, I tell you…had made such a sudden and deliberate change! (just kidding…)

      • George Michalopulos says

        Reminds me of a joke:

        Q: “How many Orthodox bishops does it take to change a lightbulb?”

        A: “Change?!? There is no change!!! Is outrage!!”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you. It was Gail’s idea.

  7. Fr. A. James Bernstein says

    As Abbott Tryphon and I used to say when we both lived in Berkeley, CA in the 1970s:
    RIGHT ON !!!!!!

  8. cynthia curran says

    Playing Byzantine, do the Constantine smash. A real cool dance for sure.

  9. Fr. Michael Johnson says

    I have to commend Father Tryphon for having the courage to speak out on this complex issue. He may be criticized for what was perhaps an incomplete answer to the complexities of the situation both in America and throughout the Western world. But he only spoke for a few minutes and to fully explore the subject could have taken hours. Despite his brevity, Father Tryphon touched on the major issues, and garnered many insights.

    One of the most important takeaways from his presentation comes not from what he specifically said, but rather that he dared to step forward into the “thick of the fray.” Simply by doing so, Father Tryphon cleared up two common misconceptions: 1) the Orthodox Christian Church is not (as often thought) oblivious to what is going on in the world around it; and 2) despite assumptions common in America, monks are not just sexually frustrated males, hiding from the world in relatively isolated places like a forested island, some miles from a major American city like Seattle, Washington.

    Being a monk, Father Tryphon has profound insights into the issues we all grapple with today, precisely because he stands apart from them and can therefore see them clearly, and not solely from the limited perspectives of the world itself. Quite the opposite – as a monk, Father Tryphon gains his insights by living solely in accordance with the Word of God, while caring deeply about the world beyond his forested dwelling.

  10. There’s not much to be said that hasn’t already – Abbot Tryphon’s heart is in the right place, and I’m always glad when churchmen speak out for right and truth.

    What disappointed me a bit was how much time he spent defending his credentials as “definitely not racist.” Most traditionally-minded people are not racist, and the good abbot is no exception. Tradition predates racism, which is a modernist, 19th-century construction originating in the scientific, “progressive” community.

    The woke mob loses any serious, substantial discussion. It knows this, and so it attempts to distract people in any way it can. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to put anyone who disagrees with them on the defensive, turning the discussion into a referendum on that person making him feel like he has to defend himself against ad hominem attacks, even ones that haven’t been made yet. Those are especially effective because they require no effort on the progressives’ part – you just know it’s what they’ll attack with. The problem is it doesn’t matter if the person’s credentials and history are impeccable, the mob still wins because time is already being consumed discussing something other than what the “wokies” don’t want to talk about – the complete lack of substance to their arguments.

    It was a good sermon nonetheless, and I don’t want to spend more time on this minor point than it deserves, but I hope anyone who reads this thinks twice before allowing themselves to be goaded by the left into feeling like they have to defend their person when writing or speaking about race.

  11. I love and respect Abbot Tryphon, but I will say here that I do not think that being “colorblind” (as espoused by many on the right AND the left, Christian AND non-Christian) is the answer. I do not think God is colorblind, given that He is the one who indeed created all the colors of skin, so why should we so be? I think being “color aware” is what is needed – to see another human as they are: beloved of God, offered everything by the sacrifice of Jesus, in the exact way God created him/her. I would posit that to be colorblind is nearly impossible in a practical sense bc God Himself made us very visual people. I think the very nature of this is to actually SEE skin color, acknowledge that we see it, search our hearts for racism, and to root it out if it exists until the point where we finally just see God’s beloved in another human regardless of skin color. It’s a gift from God to have a mechanism (what we see and our heart reaction to what we see) to know ourselves within.

    If I can draw an analogy to better illustrate, since I am struggling to really elucidate what I am thinking: when I first learned Spanish and French, everything in the beginning was learning/memorizing vocabulary, sentence structure, verb tenses, etc., and constantly thinking – having to actively think “‘el gato’ means ‘the cat’, ‘Tengo hambre’ means ‘I am hungry'”, etc. But at some point, I was amazed to realize that I had gotten to a level of functionality where I was actually THINKING IN THE NEW LANGUAGE and no longer translating back to English in my head. I heard “Tienes hambre?” and knew that meant “Are you hungry?” without having to stop, translate the Spanish into English in my mind, mentally craft my reply in English, translate that into Spanish in my head, and FINALLY respond in actual Spanish to the question. I believe that constantly steeping ourselves in the things of God and acquiring a proper Orthodox phronema allows us to “stop translating” and to think in a “new language” – and to skip the middle steps. If we have been steadfast in allowing God to “phronema-ize” us in our faith (yes, I did indeed just make that up), we will start to acquire His heart/stop having to “translate” from our heart to His heart. If we are not able to get to this level, we will have to keep “translating”… If I had gotten only through Spanish I and still had to do a mental two-way translation, it would have been a) exhausting, and b) joyless. The joy (and ease) of speaking a foreign language comes when thinking in the new language is automatic, and I think the same is true for our faith life. God have mercy on me, a sinner, and bring me to a place where all the translation ends so I can see and love with His heart instead of mine.

    • Petra L,

      I really enjoyed reading this contribution of yours. It’s a clear illustration of how the process of changing the ‘language of the heart’ is supposed to work.

      Well done.

  12. George Michalopulos says

    Speaking about the Rule of Law, lookee here:

    How’s that “Defunding the Police” thing working out for all you Blue City magistrates out there?

    As we Greeks say: kala na pathoun! (“Good it should happen this way”, literally; idiomatically: “what did they expect” or “couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch”.)

  13. George Michalopulos says

    Just so y’all know, Facebook has just banned Abbott Tryphon for this thoughtful piece on the Branch Covidian Cult:

    • Why anyone is still on Facebook, I will never understand. Everyone should get off of that godforsaken website.

      Besides, Facebook is so, shall we say, 2008.

    • You’ve got one t too many in abbottryphon and the link won’t work. For anyone trying to access it, just delete a t. If/when you fix the link you can get rid of this reply while you’re at it. 🙂

    • “Branch Covidian Cult”

      Speaking of which, mainstream media wants us all to beware of “Christmas Tree Syndrome,” “mysterious climate changes,” and “too much freedom” making young people feel unsafe, causing deaths that you might otherwise suspect linked to the clot shots:

      And we shouldn’t pay any attention to any of this either.

      Farmers, Truckers STOPPED as Mainstream Food Supply Collapses:

      As the unv’d are locked out of farmers markets and grocery stores, so too are unv’d farmers precluded from selling their grains. Ministers who warn of impending food shortages are promptly removed from office.

      Farmers’ Land Confiscated for ‘Carbon Pipeline’ through Corn Belt:

      Farmers’ land across the midwest is being confiscated to make way for construction of a massive, 1300-mi long Carbon Capture & Sequestration Pipeline. Town halls in hundreds of counties are full of angry farmers, as county officials announce, “There’s not much we can do.” As the world enters a food crisis, plowing under tens of thousands of acres of the best soil in America is complete madness…or is it a flawlessly calculated attack?

      • “Christmas Tree Syndrome,” “mysterious climate changes,” and “too much freedom” making young people feel unsafe, causing deaths that you might otherwise suspect linked to the clot shots

        Indeed. The mendacity is astoundingly ridiculous. And we are now being inundated by two “public service announcements” (commercials) that for some strange and ‘inexplicable’ reason suddenly warn us not to ignore symptoms of AFIB, blood clots, and stroke.

        The timing is purely coincidental, I’m sure. These things happen all the time, so they chose this particular time to warn us.

        Even medical organizations can read VAERS reports, and they ever let an opportunity go to waste.