Some Orthodox Saints from Ireland, Russia, Norway, Holy Land, France, Egypt, England, Serbia, Asia Minor, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain & Romania – St Catherine’s Vision – PDF


Some Orthodox Saints from Ireland, Russia,

Norway, Holy Land, France, Egypt, England, Serbia, Asia Minor,

Italy, Bulgaria, Spain & Romania


St Catherine’s Vision

Seville’s Spanish Orthodox Hermitage


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Seville’s Spanish Orthodox Hermitage


Seville’s Spanish Orthodox Hermitage


by Tudor Petcu

A Romanian writer, Tudor is a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, Romania. He has published a number of articles related to philosophy and theology in different cultural and academic journals. His work focuses on the evolution of Orthodox spirituality in Western societies as well and he is going to publish a book of interviews with Westerners converted to Orthodoxy. In this article, he interviews Francisco Jose Pino Rodriguez about a very interesting project, called Casa de Espiritualidad San Isidoro de Sevilla, for the rebirth of Orthodoxy in Spain.

1.) Please tell us when the Casa de Espiritualidad San Isidoro de Sevilla was founded and what its purpose is.

The Casa de Espiritualidad is a small house situated in El Castillo de las Guardas, some 60 km. north of Seville (Andalusia), in the middle of a beautiful natural landscape, which was bought in the year 2012 by Archmandrite Pablo, our Parish priest in Seville. The original purpose was to transform it into a small hermitage where one or two hermits could live a life of prayer and service to the wider Community. However, since we still do not have a suitable candidate, our Parishes in Southern Spain have been using it as a centre for retreats, informal meetings, etc. The house is cozy and very humble, with two rooms, a patio, a small library and a chapel (consecrated by our Metropolitan last June).

2.) Which is, or could be, the main contribution of Casa de Espiritualidad San Isidoro de Sevilla to the rebirth of Orthodoxy in Spain? I would be very happy if you could say some words about the further projects of the Casa de Espiritualidad as well.

In February 2016 I was appointed responsible for the House, and since then I am trying to transform it into a focal point for the study and spread of the Christian Orthodox faith and the Hispanic spiritual heritage. As I told you before, most of the Orthodox Parishes in Spain seldom use our language, so one of the aims of the House is to contribute to revert this tendency by celebrating services (especially the canonical Hours) in Spanish and providing our clergy and lay members with suitable liturgical material in order to do so. We will also have conferences about the lives of Hispanic Saints, etc. The most immediate project that we have is the celebration, next Autumn, of a basic Byzantine chant workshop dedicated to the eight Resurrection Troparia in Spanish.

3.) Why should Isidore of Seville be considered a Saint of the Orthodox Church, and what would be his importance for the wider Orthodox world?

In fact, Isidore, Archbishop of Seville from 599 to 636, is already commemorated as a Saint in Orthodox calendars (his feast is celebrated on the 4th of April). He can be considered one of the greatest luminaries of the ancient Hispanic Church. He fought against the Arian heresy, which was professed by the ruling Visigothic class in Spain, defended the Orthodox faith against the Jews and gathered all the scientific knowledge of his time in a book called the ‘Etymologiae‘. Definitely, Orthodox Christians of Hispanic origin have a very poweful intercessor in Heaven!

Jorge’s Journey from Roman Catholic Spain to Wisconsin Orthodox – By Jorge Luque, USA






Jorge’s Journey from Roman Catholic Spain to Wisconsin Orthodox


Jorge Luque, USA




I was born in a nominally Roman Catholic family, though they did not practice their faith. I was baptised in the RC church, and some years later, about the age of nine, had my first communion. And that was all my Christian formation, those two separate instances without anything in between. My family did not go to church, except for baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

I was more or less like them until I was a teenager, when I converted, or rather came back, to the Roman Catholic faith.

I was 16 years old when, after undergoing a severe and long depression, I turned back to the faith of my “forefathers”. That was my thought back then, that is, to make a turn around, returning to my cultural and religious roots. The love for tradition was very strong in me, and was leading me step by step to the true faith, though not directly, for I had to go first through a period in my life dominated by the Roman Catholic faith.

I was sitting in a public library when, reading the first words of the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel, something, finally, changed in me. That was a turning point for me, the moment in which I decided to turn to God.

Months later I went on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Apostle St. James in Spain. After reaching my destination and praying at the apostle’s tomb, I visited and then joined a nearby Roman Catholic monastery of the Trappist order.

I stayed there for a year as a postulant. I was 18 to 19 years old.

It was one of the best periods of my life, that monastery was like a school where to learn about my recently embraced faith. But I could not stay there, for I felt clearly that monasticism was not my calling, and I desired very strongly to get married and start my own family. So I decided to leave before making any vows. After that year in the monastery, my life was like walking through a wasteland, spiritually speaking. I had no contact whatsoever with other Christians. I used to go to mass every Sunday, even on a daily basis sometimes? but those churches were almost empty, except for some elderly people. After a few years I stopped going to church and abandoned all my personal devotions ( I used to pray the psalms and to say the Jesus prayer.) It was a very long and dark period of my life. Somehow, I clung to my faith, but my heart was getting colder and colder, to the point where I almost stopped feeling.

It was then, when I could not bear it any longer, and my heart was almost drained, that I finally found the Orthodox faith.

I was about to turn 35 years old, and all that I knew about the Orthodox Church I had learned in that Roman Catholic monastery in two 2 books: the Way of the Pilgrim, and the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.

One day I came across a random article on the internet about the fall of the papacy into heresy, and the schism of the West from the Orthodox East. It was just a mediocre article, but for some reason it set off something within me. I began to doubt what I had been told regarding the Roman Catholic dogmas about the pope (papal supremacy, infallibility, and his primacy)

The whole building of my Roman Catholic beliefs fell apart overnight. When that happened I saw myself swimming in a rough sea without any boat, I turn to the Orthodox Church, running away from the chaos in which I was immersed.

A month later, after rejecting the pope and his lies, I embraced my Orthodox faith, though it took me longer to walk into an Orthodox church.

I found a Russian Orthodox Church in Spain, under the Patriarchate of Moscow, about 50 miles from my home, an hour and a half each way by bus. One Sunday I went to this church and spoke to the priest, after liturgy. An elderly lady translated for us because the priest, Fr. Dimitry, did not speak Spanish well.

I told him about my desire to be baptised, to which he answered, very reasonably, that I needed first to go for a while to church every Sunday before being received into the church. That same day during lunch he advised me to go back to the Roman Catholic church, for I definitely would not be able to adapt, because of the language barrier, almost no one spoke Spanish. I assured him that I would adapt and that I was firmly decided to stay in the Orthodox Church. I asked his permission to keep going to liturgy every Sunday. He was very much surprised and told me to come back and even got someone to drive me to and from church.

After a few months going there every Sunday, Fr. Dimitry offered to chrismate me. I declined explaining again that I wanted to be received into the church by baptism, for the sacrament for receiving people into the Church is baptism, not Chrismation, except by economia.

Fr Dimitry told me he did not have a place to baptise me, and that it was not the practise to receive adults through baptism outside of Russia. Then I asked his blessing to come to the USA to be baptised and to go to the seminary for I felt I was called to the priesthood. He gave me his blessing, though he was taken aback.

To make a long story short, 2 years after first going to Fr Dimitry’s church, I saved enough money to pay for a plane ticket and come to the US, to Wisconsin, where Fr Thomas and Matushka Elizabeth Kulp had offered to have me stay in their house and baptise me in their Church. I came 3 months ago now, right before the visit of the Kursk Root icon to our parish. And got baptised on
Holy Saturday of this year. Fr. Thomas and Matushka Elizabeth took me in like a member of their family and offered me a living example of how to live like a true Orthodox Christian. They have encouraged me in my desire to attend seminary and have helped me with this application.


I just received notice that Jorge was just accepted into the seminary program at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY. Congratulations, Jorge, and remember us in your holy prayers!