After contemplation and prayer, I see that I must ask forgiveness before all of you for the photo of myself making its rounds on the internet.

Before ordination, before the Holy Gospel and Life-giving Cross,  a man must sign an oath of loyalty to his intended ecclesiastical hierarchy, and to his intended flock. Within that oath there is a phrase that I “will not bring scandal to Christ’s flock”, and I see that my actions in Montana brought scandal to the flock of Christ entrusted to me – a most un-worthy monk.

I must confess to all of you that when I went into that museum, was handed a toy-gun and was surrounded by the enthusiasm of the group I was overtaken by the moment and the photo was taken. For my lack of personal restraint, my loss of spiritual discernment and and allowing my emotions to overwhelm me. All these points are harmful, and spiritually detrimental to a monastic.

I sincerely apologize, and ask forgiveness, of all of for the scandal I raised amongst the laity with my photo with the toy gun. I feel compelled to also ask forgiveness for the harm I brought to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, before the general American public, and the bad monastic example I set before the youth of the conference, my fellow monastics and all the laity.

I must reiterate that the Russian Orthodox Church has no affiliations or intentions of political involvement with any conservative, moderate, liberal or any other political group. We do not advocate any supremacist racial theories, biases  or prejudices; however, I see my actions through my scandalous photo maybe interpreted as such.

I humbly ask for your forgiveness, and pray that our Merciful Lord may heal the rifts my actions have caused.

Abbot Tryphon

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