FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY
Congo, Africa: Nina & her mother
From Protestantism to Orthodoxy
FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY
Congo, Africa: Nina & her mother
From Protestantism to Orthodoxy
Conversions to Orthodoxy
CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY
The conversion of French
Photographer Frère Jean (Gérard Gascuel)
Photographer Gérard Gascuel who worked with Marcel Marceau and Salvador Dali and now is Hieromonk Gerasimos says he decided to become a monk after hearing an Athonite monk singing.
«I was 33 when the editor in chief of an influential Japanese magazine sent me to Greece to make a report about the life of Athonite monks,» Father Gerasimos was quoted as saying by the Rossijskaya Gazeta daily on Tuesday.
Going around the monasteries he came upon a monastery where there is an ancient tradition to keep skulls of deceased monks.
«I went into the crypt and then life was divided: ‘before’ and ‘after’. When I was going back I met a Greek monk and we talked about the meaning of life. His English was poor… And suddenly he started singing!» Father Gerasimos recalls.
According to him, it was then that he decided to become a monk.
«I made a decision in few seconds. Having returned to France, I delivered my report to the magazine, sold my estate and became an ordinary monk on Athos. I spent many years in the Holy Land at St. Savvas Monastery in the Continue reading “The conversion of French Photographer Frère Jean (Gérard Gascuel) to Orthodoxy”
EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos (+1994),
the false evolution & the temptation of atheism when he was 11 years old
& the appearance of Jesus Christ to him
From the age of eleven [says Saint Paisios], I would read the lives of the Saints, I would fast and keep vigil. My older brother would take the books and hide them, but that didn’t stop me. I would just go into the forest and keep reading there.
Later, when I was fifteen, a friend of my brother named Costas told my brother, “I’ll make him willingly give up all this nonesense.” He came and explained to me Darwin’s theory of evolution. I was shaken by this, and I said, “I’ll go and pray, and, if Christ is God, He’ll appear to me so that I’ll believe. I’ll see a shadow, hear a voice—He will show me a sign.” That’s all I could come up with at the time.
So, I went and began to pray and make prostrations for hours; but nothing happened. Eventually I stopped in a state of exhaustion. Then something Costas had said came to mind: “I accept that Christ is an important man,” he had told me, “righteous and virtuous, Who was hated out of envy for His virtue and condemned by His countrymen.” I thought to myself, “since that’s how Christ was, even if He was only a man, He deserves my love, obedience, and self-sacrifice. I don’t want paradise; I don’t want anything. It is worth making every sacrifice for the sake of His holiness and kindness.”
God was waiting to see how I would deal with this temptation. After this, Christ Himself appeared to me in a great light. He was visible from the waist up. He looked at me with tremendous love and said, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in Me, even if he dies, he shall live” (Jn. 11:25). He was holding the Gospel in His left hand, open to the page where the same words were written.
With this event, the uncertainties that had troubled my soul were overcome, and in divine grace I came to know Christ as true God and Savior of the world. I was convinced of the truth of the God-man, not by men or books, but by the very Lord Himself, who revealed Himself to me even at this young age. Firmly established in faith, I thought to myself, “Come back now, Costas, if you want, and we’ll have a talk.”
Books of St Paisios
LATIN AMERICA OF MY HEART
“NATIVE AMERICANS MAY BECOME
THE LARGEST ETHNIC GROUP IN THE AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.”
An interview with His Beatitude Jonah, Archbishop of Washington,
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
In early December of 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada (Orthodox Church of America) visited Russia to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the OCA’s representation in Moscow. Correspondent Miguel Palacio took the opportunity to talk with Metropolitan Jonah about the OCA’s presence in Latin America.
– Your Beatitude, in which Latin America countries is the Orthodox Church in America represented?
– Our jurisdiction extends to Mexico. We used to have parishes in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela as well, but one of them joined the Russian Church Abroad, while others simply closed.
Several communities in Latin America want to join the American Orthodox Church. We would be happy to receive these faithful people, but there would be no one to take care of them because we have very few clergymen who speak Spanish or Portuguese.
One priest, who I hope will soon become a bishop, began a mission in Ecuador, in the city of Guayaquil, where there is a large Palestinian colony. Unfortunately, his good initiative has fizzled out. I have heard that many Palestinians also live in Central American countries, one of which is El Salvador. It is curious, but they do not go to the Antiochian parishes, and are requesting to be received under our omophorion.
The Constantinople and Antiochian Patriarchates prefer to pastor the Greek and Arab diasporas. We do not understand this. The Church should give pastoral care first of all to its local spiritual children. This is our principle in the Orthodox Church in America.
– When was the Mexican exarchate organized?
– The Mexican exarchate has existed since the 1970’s. At that time, the Bishop of the Mexican national Old Catholic Church, Jose (Cortez-y-Olmos), strengthened contact with our Church and became Orthodox, together with his entire community. Thanks to his labors, hundreds of Mexicans have become immersed in the Orthodox Faith.
Not long ago, five thousand Native Americans from twenty-three areas in the state of Veracruz were baptized into Orthodoxy. However, there is only one priest to serve that entire mass of people. In general, the Mexican exarchate has very few clergymen. They are all Mexican, including the ruling hierarch, Bishop Alejo (Pacheco-Vera).
– Have you ever been to Latin America?
– I have only visited Mexico. Now I am getting ready to visit Guatemala. A friend of mine lives there — Abbess Ines (Ayau Garcia), the superior of the Holy Trinity Convent, which is under the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Patriarchate.
In Guatemala, a group of thousands of people who would like to become Orthodox have attracted my attention. Most of them are Mayan. If we take these Guatemalans in, as well as other members of the native Latin American population, then Native Americans may become the largest ethnic group in the American Orthodox Church. I, personally, would be very happy about that.
– I see that you sympathize with the original inhabitants of the American continent…
– I have the warmest feelings for Native Americans. I studied anthropology in the university, and was drawn to the Mayan and Aztec cultures. These were enormous, amazing civilizations.
I like Latin America as a whole — its art, music, literature, and cuisine. Latin Americans love life; they are open and hospitable people. I grew up in California — one of the most Hispanic states in the U.S. I was able to learn some Spanish from my Mexican friends (although I speak Spanish poorly). The priest who united me to the Orthodox Church was a Mexican. His name was Fr. Ramon Merlos.
– What does missionary work amongst Native Americans in the U.S. have in common with that amongst those of Latin America?
– To be honest, I do not yet know… Our Church has missionary experience in Alaska, where one remarkable priest serves — Archpriest Michael Oleksa, an anthropologist. He is a Carpatho-Russian; his wife comes from the indigenous Yupiks. Fr. Michael wants to conduct a conference of Orthodox Native Americans of America. This would be an extremely interesting event.
When Fr. Michael was rector of the seminary, he invited the Guatemalan community that was thirsting for Orthodoxy to send two members to receive a theological education. The idea was, of course, a good one. But people who are accustomed to a tropical climate are not likely to endure the freezing temperatures of Alaska.
– Are there Latin Americans amongst your parishioners in the U.S.?
– Of course there are. In California, thirty-five percent of the population is Latin American, and the percentage is even larger in Texas. There are Latinos both amongst the flock and the clergy in our Church. Studying in St. Tikhon Seminary is a Mexican with Native Americans roots, named Abraham. He has the obedience of sub-deacon. One sub-deacon in San Francisco is Colombian. At the end of November, I blessed a new convent dedicated to the Nativity of Christ in Dallas, the superior of which is Brazilian.
– What, do you suppose, attracts Latin Americans to Orthodoxy?
– Latinos love our Liturgy and icons; they are captivated by the deep veneration of the Mother of God within the Orthodox Church.
I have to say that the Catholic Church is quickly losing its influence in Latin America, and the reason for this is its close association with the upper social classes. A significant portion of the poorer classes, which make up the majority of the region, have become disillusioned with the Catholic pastors, and have aligned themselves with protestants, Mormons, and other sectarians.
Metropolitan Andres (Giron), the head of the St. Basil the Great Order of White Clergy in Guatemala, used to be a Catholic priest. He saw that his Church leaders were oriented towards the wealthy; in the 1990’s he left the Catholic Church, because he wanted to work for the people. Not long ago, Fr. Andres said to me, “I am old and ailing. Please take my people into your Church for the sake of their salvation.” It would be hard to call his community Orthodox, but it is gradually coming to know Orthodox teachings, and partaking of the traditions of the Orthodox Church. Besides those in Guatemala, Bishop Andres has opened parishes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities where his countrymen have settled.
– Are you not afraid of some conflict with the Catholic Church? After all, Latin America is still considered the “largest diocese of the Vatican.”
– There will not be any conflict. The Catholic Church relates to Orthodoxy with loyalty. Furthermore, I see no little potential for collaboration with the Catholic Church, first of all in the struggle against sectarianism.
Interview by Miguel Palacio
21 / 12 / 2009
GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART
Bishop Anthony Bloom’s conversion
from atheism to the Orthodox Christian Faith
PROTESTANTS MET ORTHODOXY
The Personal Story of Fr. George Johnson, Washington, USA
From Protestantism to Orthodoxy
Fr. George Johnson
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
I am a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, serving in the cathedral of St John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. There are some almost uncanny parallels between our lives, even down to the grumpy choir directors. I was (and sometimes still am) the grumpy choir director, however.
I became interested and involved in Anglicanism through a singing job in a “high” church in 1968. At the time, my focus was primarily musical. My parents were devout Southern Baptists, and, while I now appreciate their humility and devotion, in my youth I did not so much. The Episcopal Church offered an escape from the music and worship of the Baptists, which, shall we say, were not to my taste.
The Western liturgical tradition as carried on by the high-church Anglicans seemed to me to be just the right combination of grandness and sobriety justly suited to worship. Having just come from the Baptists, the intellectual and spiritual confusion which at length gave rise to tradition-destroying innovations did not concern me for a long time. I chalked it up to our fallen state, for which God was making accommodations which I did not understand. I thought I could press on for the sake of art and faith, and pray that everything would come out alright. It was going to take a great deal to make me want to throw away Tallis, Byrd, Weelkes, Purcell, …, RVW, Walton, Britten, … , not to mention all the great hymns and tunes, and the gorgeous language of the (old) Prayer Book and Psalter.
A great many things happened, but I’ll cut to the chase. In 1984 or 5, a lesbian member of our parish who sang in my choir asked me to be a member of a committee to help her explore a calling to the priesthood. Needless to say, I begged off. But I did not have the courage to tell her that the thought of her as a priest made me sick. You may be familiar with the musical “Fiddler on the Continue reading “The Personal Story of Fr. George Johnson, Washington, USA – From Protesantism to Orthodoxy”
EDELWEISS OF MY HEART
東正教會: 瑞士阿爾卑斯山脈 Orthodoxy in Swiss Alps
USA OF MY HEART
“Bible Answer Man”
booted from Bott Radio Network after Hank Hanegraaff
joins Eastern Orthodox Church
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
Most of us knew this sort of thing was coming. They cite concerns over ‘biblical accuracy’ without offering so much as one single example of any Biblical inaccuracy from Hank.
The “Bible Answer Man” radio show program with Hank Hanegraaff has been booted from Bott Radio Network over concerns regarding ‘biblical accuracy’, following Hanegraaff’s conversion into the Eastern Orthodox Church.
“We want to make sure that our listeners know that the programming that we have on Bott Radio Network is thoroughly biblical,” said BRN President Richard P. Bott II, a member of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kansas, according to Baptist Press.
BRN had reportedly been broadcasting the “Bible Answer Man” since the 1980s, even before Hanegraaff joined the show in 1989.
The Christian Post confirmed last week that Hanegraaff, who is also the president and chairman of the Christian Research Institute, was chrismated on Palm Sunday at Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some, such as Rod Dreher, an Orthodox Christian and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Benedict Option, told CP last week that the news of Hanegraaff joining the Orthodox Church is “astounding.”
“Many evangelicals seek the early church; well here it is, in Orthodoxy,” Dreher said.
“I am sure some will be scandalized by Hanegraaff’s conversion but I hope at least some will wonder how someone as knowledgeable about the Bible as Hank could convert to Orthodoxy, and go to a Divine Liturgy to taste and see what it’s like.”
VIETNAM OF MY HEART
Вьетнам, 2017: Находившаяся в коме вьетнамка
приняла христианство после видения Божией Матери
Отец Георгий Максимов:
Я писал ранее про вьетнамку, которая крестилась накануне Пасхи под влиянием Самой Богородицы. Теперь я получил ее собственный рассказ и фото, так что помещаю их здесь. ‘Меня зовут Нгуен Тхи Май Ань. Я живу и работаю в городе Вунгтау. Я была буддисткой, но однажды в моей жизни произошло невероятное событие. Около года назад я лежала в коме в больнице. В это время я увидела сияние, яркий свет, и прямо передо мной возникла Богородица Дева Мария. Она протянула мне бутыль с водой и дала мне пить. Как только я выпила воду, свет и Богородица исчезли, а утром следующего дня я внезапно вышла из комы после долгого забытия. Я выжила и через несколько дней стала молиться Господу и Богородице, просить их о скором выздоровлении. И я решила, что когда вернусь домой, то стану христианкой. И через несколько дней во сне мне опять было видение, что будет человек, который приведет меня в церковь, я буду есть там Хлеб и пить Святую Воду вместе со всеми и ходить вокруг храма. После того как я выписалась и вернулась домой меня пришел навестить мой друг Женя и принес мне икону Богородицы со Спасителем. Я была невероятно рада, потому что это был тот самый образ, который я видела во сне. Я была очень счастлива, я рассказала другу о том, что видела во сне, и он отвел меня в православную церковь где молятся русские в 5-м районе города Вунгтау, чтобы там я встретилась с Богородицей и Господом. Эта церковь стала местом, где я Крестилась и родилась во второй раз под покровом Пресвятой Богородицы и по Благодати Господа. И 17.04.2017 я приняла Крещение и стала православной. Я бесконечно счастлива! Благодарю Тебя, Господи и Тебя Богородица за мое “второе рождение” и дарование мне Источника Жизни!’
На фото она единственная сидящая, поскольку накануне крещения попала в аварию и сломала ногу. Но даже это не изменило ее решимости и она крестилась с именем Анна. Сейчас она активно участвует в жизни общины и читает на службах часть молитв на вьетнамском языке.