Eleni Fotidou is the owner of Zorba’s,

a Greek restaurant on Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach


Man digging for food in trash sparks restaurant to take action in Virginia Beach, USA


A man was seen by employees of a Virginia Beach restaurant digging through a trash can looking for something to eat and the business took action.

Eleni Fotidou is the owner of Zorba’s, a Greek restaurant on Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach.

“I never want to see anyone like that,” says Fotidou.

Last Friday, she and others were disturbed.

“We didn’t quite realize what he was doing at first, but to take a better look at it at him, you realize he’s searching for food,” says Samantha McCauley.

The owners say they were heartbroken when they looked outside and saw the man looking for food in the trash.

“No one is allowed in 2015 to go to bed starving,” says Fotidou.

The owners showed us their security video from last Friday. They said minutes after the man was searching through the trash, you can see him walking away.

A woman who works nearby ran after him to give him water. They offered him food but he declined and seemed upset.

So they took action and hung up signs near the trashcans encouraging anyone in need of food to come inside.

They said hanging the signs are easier than having an awkward conversation with someone in need who might be too embarrassed.

A restaurant in Oklahoma went viral after posting a similar sign about six weeks ago.

The owners at Zorba’s said helping others is what they are accustomed to doing.

“In Greece, it’s the home of hospitality. We learn to do that, in Greece we are all big families. We always help each other, love each other,” says Fotidou.

They said they have only seen a handful of people going through the trash and the area doesn’t see too many homeless people. But these owners said the thought of just one person without any food is too much, and they’re happy to take action and fill the stomach of someone in need.



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“Orthodoxy has a great future in Guatemala”

A conversation with Abbess Ines,

head of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Guatemala



Abbess Ines (Ayau Garcia) – Abbess Ines is the head of the only Orthodox parish in Guatemala – the Monastery of the Holy and Life-Giving Trinity, the “Lavra of Mambre”, under the Patriarchate of Antioch. She comes from an influential and well known family in Guatemala which has produced many outstanding individuals. When [then Catholic] Sister Ines was 36 years old, she made an extreme change in her life, leaving a Catholic monastic order and becoming an Orthodox nun.

Holy Trinity Monastery was founded by Mother Ines and Sister Maria Amistoso in April of 1986. In 1989, the engineer Federico Bauer donated a piece of land on the shores of Lake Amatitlan, not far from Guatemala City, to the monastery. The land is 1188 meters [about 3900 feet] above sea level and is located near Pacaya, one of the most active volcanoes in Central America.

On the day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in 1995, the “Act of Creating an Orthodox Church in Guatemala” was signed by Bishop (now Metropolitan) Antonio Chedraoui of Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean (of the Antiochian Patriarchate), and also by the head of the monastery, Mother Ines and her nuns, and 25 parishioners.

Buildings rose on the site donated by Federico Bauer and the consecration of the monastery took place in November, 2007, with 18 participating clerics, who came to Guatemala especially for this occasion.

The iconography in the Monastery church is being done by Russian masters from the International School of Icon Painting, based both in the town of Kostroma in Russia and in the USA.

In 1996, the government of Guatemala gave the monastery control of an orphanage built to house 800 children, the “House of Rafael Ayau” in the country’s capital, Guatemala City. At present they have just over 100 boys and girls – from newborn babies to 16 year old adolescents. The workers at the orphanage give the children a high-school education and familiarize them with basic Orthodox concepts. They also give them professional skills. Soon, the orphanage will be moved to the monastery.

In February of 1997, the church of the Transfiguration of the Lord was blessed in the orphanage building. In the absence of a priest, the services are led by a reader [called Reader’s Services]. Two children’s choirs sing antiphonally, where one choir sings one stanza, and then the other choir sings the next stanza. The exclamations and the dismissal are read by Mother Ines. The parish is made up of Guatemalans, Arabs, Greeks, Russians, and Ukrainians.

Holy Trinity Monastery has fairly large agricultural holdings, where rabbits and fish are raised and vegetables are grown. All that they produce goes to the orphanage.

In July of 2009, Mother Ines came to Russia to visit the holy places and to broaden her ties to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Abbess was accompanied Sister Maria and two teenagers from the orphanage.


Abbess Ines, Sister Maria, and two of the “graduates” of the orphanage, Reina and Edgar Rolando

This conversation with Mother Ines took place during that visit, on a trip from Sretensky Monastery to the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra. [lavra: a large monastery]

– Mother Ines, how did you become acquainted with the Orthodox faith?

– When I was 20 years old, I became a Catholic nun, and entered a monastery under the order of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos. They gave me to read the conversations of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Nicholas Motovilov, and the texts of the Orthodox Liturgy. What I read astonished me to the depths of my soul. One of the nuns showed me several Orthodox icons, including a reproduction of Andrei Rublev’s “Holy Trinity.” I was interested, and I burned with a desire to find the roots of all of this. From that time, I began saying the “Jesus Prayer” [“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”].

I studied theology for ten years – with the Salezians in Guatemala, with the monks of the Holy Spirit in Mexico, with the famous theologian Jean Daniélou in France, and with the Jesuits in Belgium and El Salvador. I continued to be bothered by one question: where are the treasures to be found that I came across at the beginning of my Monastic life? Once, in Brussels, the nun who was in charge of my spiritual growth brought me to a Russian Paschal [Easter] service. It was held in a chapel on the second floor of a private home, but even then, I did not find an answer to my question.

I did not want to serve in Latin America: in those years, because of the spread of “liberation theology”, Church-government relations had become seriously strained. I received permission to go to the Philippines. There, to my amazement, I met more Sisters of the Dormition, who were seeking the same thing I was. We found out about Eastern Rite Catholics, and considered reforming our community to use the Eastern Rite. Unfortunately, most of the Sisters left, and several got married. Only the native-Philippine Sister Maria and I remained. The nuns of my order, which has great influence in the Philippines, asked me to leave the country, because they thought I was spreading revolutionary sentiments.

I went to Jerusalem, where I finally came into contact with real Orthodoxy. Sister Maria came to me from the Philippines, and together we traveled across the Holy Land, started to learn different liturgical services, and talked to priests.

– How did your family take your conversion to Orthodoxy?

– My father is a very educated person, but when I told him that I want to join Orthodoxy, he said “What do you mean? This does not exist in nature!” Nevertheless, our conversation intrigued him. In a few weeks, Dad went to Turkey. When he got there, he hailed a cab, and told the taxi to take him to an Orthodox church where he could see an Orthodox service. After that, he went by ship to the Holy Land, where he did the same thing. From that time, Orthodoxy became for him a reality.

My mother supported my decision right away. She was interested in Russia, and read a lot about it. She read a book about the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska with great interest. When the Antiochian Bishop Antonio Chedraoui, during his first visit to Guatemala, received some Arabs into Orthodoxy, my mother also went forward and was received into the Orthodox Church through chrismation. Later, my father also became Orthodox.

– How did you join the Antiochian Church?

– Sister Mary and I decided to form an Orthodox monastery in Guatemala. On our way from Israel, we stopped in the Swiss town of Chambésy [not far from Geneva], where we visited Metropolitan Damaskenos Papandreu of Switzerland (Patriarchate of Constantinople). He blessed the opening of our Monastery, and said that we had to join a jurisdiction of one of the Orthodox patriarchates. To do this was not easy. The Orthodox Churches that had a presence in Latin America then did not have a particular interest in the local population. The Patriarchate of Constantinople served the Greeks, the Patriarchate of Antioch – Arabs, the Russian Patriarchate – Russians. Only after asking for ten years did we get accepted by the Antiochian Church’s Metropolitan Antonio (Cherdaoui).

For the registration of a parish, we needed 25 signatures of Guatemalan citizens. We did not have that many parishioners. So my relatives, the relatives of another nun, Sister Ivonne, and our friends also signed the petition.

– Why did your community choose the ancient Russian style when building your church?

– We sincerely love Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. The crosses on our cupolas are Byzantine, but everything else is Russian: the architecture, the icons, and the frescos. People, when they see the Russian cupolas, understand right away that there is an Orthodox church before them. Our parish keeps to Russian traditions in the services, keeps to the Julian calendar; and the nuns wear the Russian monastic habit.


 The katholikon of the Monastery of the Holy and Life Giving Trinity, the “Lavra of Mambre”

 – Where is the monastery?

– We built the monastery 20 kilometers [about 12½ miles] from Guatemala City, on the top of a hill. Around us there are woods, and not far away, Lake Amatitlan. It is a very beautiful place, although it’s true that it is not entirely fitting for a holy monastery because we are so close to the city and come across the problems that exist in any suburb of a large Latin American city–overpopulation and the drug trade.

–How large is the Sisterhood?

– Three nuns live in the monastery. Besides me, there is Sister Maria Amistoso, who is a native of the Philippines, and Sister Ivonne Sommerkramp who came to the monastery five years after it was founded. She is a Guatemalan with German roots. Earlier, we had more nuns.

– Who performs services?

– We do not have a permanent priest yet. Two times a month, groups of missionaries and volunteers come from places such as the USA, Norway, Japan and other countries; and those groups always have a priest. Russian priests have also been with us: Protopriest Basil Movchanuk – head of the church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Yartsevo, in the Smolensk region; and Protopriest Igor Kropochev – a helper for the missionary department of the Kemerovo diocese.

–Tell us about the monastery’s orphanage please.

– Our orphanage, the oldest and largest in our country, is located right in the heart of Guatemala City. My ancestor, Rafael Ayau, organized it in 1857. He was a philanthropist, and a very pious person. Monks from the charity organization “Caridad” took control of the orphanage from [my ancestor] don Rafael when he, from France, invited them to do so. In 1960, the government deported the members of “Caridad”, and the government itself took over the care of the orphanage. After 40 years, President Alvaro Arsu handed over control of the orphanage, which was in terrible shape, to our monastery. It is unlikely that any other politician would have done that; they are afraid of Orthodox people. Arsu was not afraid, because there were some Orthodox people in his family.

Because of changes in the social laws, our orphanage began to look more like a boarding school. In twelve years, over 1000 children from poor and underprivileged families have gone through our orphanage. All of them are raised in the Orthodox spirit. Many of them return to their parents, but do not break their ties to the monastery, and continue to go to liturgy on Sundays. Over 300 of our orphans have been adopted by Orthodox families, mostly in the USA.

The Russian ambassador to Guatemala, Nicholas Vladimir, had told me that the Russian government grants stipends for higher education in Russia to young people from other countries, and we have taken advantage of that opportunity. Two of our children, Reina and Edgar Rolando, have come with us to Moscow. They will start studying Information [Computer] Science and Engineering at a Russian university in September.

– How are your monastery’s relations with the Catholic Church?

– We have a warm, friendly attitude towards them, but the Catholic Church has been quietly waging war against us, warily, secretly. For example, after we sent our petition to register the parish with the [Guatemalan] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we did not know what happened to it for several years. When President Arsu asked the monastery to take the orphanage under its wing, I said that we could not do it, because we did not officially exist. The President entrusted his lawyer with solving the problem. As it turned out, our documents had been located in the curia the entire time; Catholics had spirited them away. Fortunately, President Arsu then gave the Holy Trinity Parish the status of a jurisdictional body by special decree.

Protestant denominations, of which there are hundreds now, do not worry the Catholics. Orthodoxy puts fear into them. There are several reasons for this, but, the biggest reason is that the Catholic hierarchy fears that the Orthodox Church will convert some of their flock. The Cardinal of Guatemala admitted this to the Russian ambassador.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to escape contact with the Catholic Church. Catholicism dominates Guatemala. My father is a public person; I was a Catholic nun for 16 years; the Cardinal is the cousin of my godfather, and has known me since childhood.

–What are Orthodoxy’s prospects in Guatemala, in your opinion?

– I am convinced that Orthodoxy has a great future in our country. Two priests, one 20 years ago, and another recently, [unofficially] converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, and brought their flocks with them. In total, that is over 100,000 people. They consider themselves Orthodox, though they have not been officially joined to the Orthodox Church, and, from my observations, know very little of Eastern Christianity. Among them are Ladinos (descendants of the Spanish) and Indians. Both groups intend to ask for entrance into the Russian Orthodox Church.

– What are your impressions of Russia from your visit?

– I have no words to describe the feelings that I have when I am here. I am astonished by everything: the architecture, and the interior decoration of the churches and monasteries, the architecture of the cities and towns, the nature [flora and fauna]… I especially notice the piety of the people, their deep faith, which they have preserved through decades of the godless Communist regime.

Interview conducted by Miguel Palacio.

Translated into English by Adrian Fekula. Translation edited by Br. James Hazen  





King Mountain and the Matanuska River, alaska

Photo: Alaska, USA


Hawaiian Myrrh Streaming Iveron Icon



During the last two weeks of July 2014 the Hawaiian Myrrh Streaming Iveron Icon traveled throughout Alaska. Numerous miracles and blessings were bestowed on the faithful. Her travels by land, sea and air were marked by unusually consistent fair weather. In addition to traveling to every parish and monastic community on Kodiak Island, she traveled throughout the greater Anchorage area and the Kenai Peninsula.


Photos: Alaska, USA





Saint Jose Munoz-Cortes the new martyr, 

from Chile & Canada (+31 October 1997)

& the Hawaiian Myrrh Streaming Iveron Icon


St Jose Munoz-Cortez



Saint Jose Munoz-Cortez & Saint John Maximovitcn





Elder Ephraim of Arizona, USA

A Russian video with subtitles in all language 

(turn on the subtitles)


In the summer of 1995 six monks arrived in the southern Arizona desert to establish St. Anthony’s Monastery, carrying with them the sacred, millenial heritage of the Holy Mountain, Athos. Since early Christian history, this steep and rocky peninsula in northern Greece proved to be a haven for ancient Egyptian, Cappadocian, and Constantinopolitan monastics. Thus, it enjoyed a direct link with the greatest monastic establishments of ancient Christianity, preserving intact the wisdom of the holy fathers and the sacred tradition of the ancient Church. Today, the Holy Mountain consists of 20 independent monasteries, and numerous sketes and hermitages, housing Orthodox Christian monks from all over the world.

Elder Ephraim, a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, having restored and repopulated four Mt. Athos monasteries and having established several men’s and women’s monastic communities throughout Greece and North America, transferred six Athonite monks to the Sonoran Desert to start a new monastery. Upon their arrival the fathers began with the necessary construction work, building first the main church, living quarters for the monks, the dining hall, and guest facilities. A vegetable garden, a small vineyard, citrus orchards, and an olive grove dot the landscape. An elaborate system of gardens, pathways, and gazebos with Spanish fountains truly render the monastery and its extensive grounds an oasis in the desert.

The monastery is dedicated to St. Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism, the renowned 3rd century anchorite. There are chapels dedicated to Saints Seraphim of Sarov, Demetrios of Thessalonica, John the Baptist, George the Great Martyr, Nicholas the Wonderworker, and Panteleimon the Healer. The main church is dedicated to Saints Anthony and Nectarios the Wonderworker.

The monastery follows the coenobitic rule of monastic life: a brotherhood of monks and novices holding all things in common follow a daily schedule of prayer and work under obedience to the abbot, their spiritual father. The monks’ daily program begins at midnight with personal prayer time and spiritual reading, followed by the cycle of morning prayers and the Divine Liturgy. After a light breakfast and a rest period, the monks begin their work day, attending to prayer and their tasks till evening. Tasks include, among others, construction, groundskeeping, vinedressing, gardening, woodworking, publishing, food preparation, and offering hospitality. The day ends with evening Vespers followed by dinner and Compline.





Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Arizona, ΗΠΑ

Ρωσικό video με ελληνικούς υπότιτλους

(ενεργοποιήστε τους υπότιτλους αν δεν είναι ενεργοποιημένοι)



sri lanka


POR QUÉ abandoné la Iglesia Católica Romana

por el Obispo Paul Ballaster-Convolier, +1984



Obispo Pablo de Ballester-Convallier: Un mártir contemporáneo Neo de la Ortodoxia (25 aniversario de su martirio: 1984-2009)

Dos mil nueve marcó el 25 aniversario de la muerte como un mártir de la tarde el obispo Pablo de Ballester-Convallier (1927-1984). Como un monumento a lo reproducimos aquí su artículo en el que explica por qué y cómo se convirtió a la Iglesia ortodoxa del catolicismo romano.

El siguiente artículo del entonces hierodiácono (diácono monástica) Fr.Pablo Ballester-Convollier fue publicado en dos artículos de seguimiento Kivotos Revista (julio de 1953, p. 285-291 y diciembre 1953 p. 483-485).Anteriormente, un monje franciscano que había convertido a la Ortodoxia, el obispo Paul fue hecho Obispo titular Nacianceno del Santo Arquidiócesis de Norte y Sur América, con sede en la Ciudad de México. Allí se encontró con la muerte de un mártir. La noticia de su muerte se informó en la primera página del periódico Kathemerini (un diario de Atenas) el sábado 4 de febrero de 1984) que dice ”


Como se dio a conocer en la Ciudad de México, antes de ayer el obispo de Nacianzo, Paul De Ballester de la Arquidiócesis Ortodoxa Griega de Norte y Sur América, murió. Fue asesinado por un mexicano de 70 años, un militar retirado que sufría de problemas psiquiátricos. El entierro fue atendido por el Arzobispo Iakovos que estaba al tanto de la labor del obispo activo. Cabe señalar que el obispo Paul era de origen español y fue recibido en la Iglesia ortodoxa como un adulto. Destacó como principal pastor (obispo) y el autor. Las autoridades mexicanas no excluyen la posibilidad de que su asesino fue conducido a su acto a través de una especie de fanatismo. Obispo Paul era natural de Cataluña, España. Estudió en los seminarios de Atenas y Halki, Turquía. Fue ordenado sacerdote en Atenas como diácono en 1953 y sacerdote en 1954, su ministerio como sacerdote fue el primero en Constantinopla (1954-1959) y como sacerdote en 1954 y luego en la Arquidiócesis Ortodoxa Griega de América (1959-84 ). En 1970 fue consagrado Obispo titular de Nacianceno (en Nueva York), con sede en la Ciudad de México. Su trabajo allí como un hombre de iglesia, profesor universitario y autor voluminoso fue brillante y visible, pero por desgracia estaba sellado con su muerte prematura. Fue asesinado en la conclusión de la Divina Liturgia en la Ciudad de México en 1984, su funeral asistieron el Arzobispo Iakovos que elogió el trabajo excepcional de esta vibrante Obispo ..

En este artículo se va a abrir muchos ojos a la locura completa del diálogo con la operación del Papa. El autor revela sus afirmaciones erróneas a la primacía y la infalibilidad, la sola razón de que la ortodoxia debe huir de ellos.

Obispo Paul Nacianceno no sólo resultó digna de su vocación, pero también se convirtió en un mártir de la ortodoxia neo. En una reciente visita a la Ciudad de México de su Santidad el Patriarca Ecuménico Bartolomé en 2006, Metropolitan Atenágoras fue dirigida a erigir un monumento de este obispo en la corte frente a la Iglesia Catedral de Santa Sofía, que fue construida por este obispo.


1.Cómo empezó todo

“Mi conversión a la Ortodoxia comenzó un día mientras yo estaba re-ordenar los catálogos de la biblioteca del monasterio pertenecía a. Este monasterio perteneció a la orden franciscana, fundada en mi país de España. Mientras yo estaba clasificando diferentes artículos antiguos relativos a la Inquisición, se me ocurrió venir a través de un artículo que fue realmente increíble, que data de 1647 En este artículo se describe una decisión de la Inquisición que anatematizado como herejía cualquier cristiano que se atrevió a creer, aceptar o predicar a los demás que él apoyó la validez apostólica del apóstol Pablo.

Fue sobre este hallazgo horrible que mi mente no podía comprender. Inmediatamente pensé para calmar mi alma que tal vez se debió a un error tipográfico o debido a alguna falsificación, que no era tan poco común en la Iglesia de Occidente de la época cuando los artículos fueron escritos.

Sin embargo, mi perturbación y la sorpresa se incrementaron después de investigar y confirmar que la decisión de la Inquisición que se hace referencia en el artículo era cierto. De hecho, ya durante dos ocasiones anteriores, a saber, en 1327 y 1331, los Papas Juan XXll y Clemens Vl habían condenado y anatematizado cualquiera que se atreviera negar que el Apóstol Pablo, durante toda su vida apostólica estaba totalmente subordinado a la autoridad monárquica eclesiástica de la primer Papa y el rey de la Iglesia, el apóstol Pedro.Mucho más tarde el Papa Pío X en 1907 y Benedicto XV en 1920 había repetido la misma anatemas y las mismas condenas. Por lo tanto, tuve que despedir a cualquier posibilidad de que sea debido a un misquoting inadvertida o falsificación. Así que me enfrenté por lo tanto con un grave problema de conciencia.

Personalmente era imposible para mí aceptar que el apóstol Pablo se ha comercializado en algún comando Papal. La independencia de su labor apostólica entre las naciones, contra lo que caracteriza el mundo apostólica de Pedro entre los circuncidados, para mí fue un hecho inamovible de que gritó desde la Santa Biblia.

La cosa era totalmente claro para mí que él era, como las obras exegéticas de los padres sobre este tema no dejan la menor duda. “Pablo, escribe San Juan Crisóstomo,” declara su igualdad con el resto de los Apóstoles y debe ser comparado no sólo con todos los demás, pero con el primero de ellos, para probar que cada uno tenía la misma autoridad. ”

En verdad, todos los Padres de la Iglesia de acuerdo en que “todos los apóstoles eran los mismos al igual que Pedro, es decir, que fueron dotados con el mismo honor y autoridad.” Era imposible que cualquiera de ellos para ejercer mayor autoridad sobre el resto, para el apostolado título que cada uno tenía era la “autoridad más alta, el pico de las autoridades.” Todos ellos eran pastores, mientras que el rebaño era uno. Y el rebaño fue pastoreada por los apóstoles de conformidad por todos. Por tanto, la cuestión era cristalina. A pesar de esto, la enseñanza de América estaba en contra de esta realidad. De esta manera, por primera vez en mi vida, experimenté un dilema terrible. ¿Qué podía decir? Por un lado estaban la Biblia y la Tradición Sagrada y por otro lado estaba la enseñanza de la Iglesia.

De acuerdo con la teología latina, que es esencial para nuestra salvación creer que la Iglesia es una monarquía pura, cuyo monarca es el Papa. El Sínodo del Vaticano, votando juntos todas las condenas anteriores, declarados oficialmente que “si alguien dice … que Pedro (que se supone que es el primer Papa) no fue ordenado por Cristo como el líder de los Apóstoles y Cabeza visible de toda la la Iglesia … es bajo anatema “.

2.Me dirijo a mi confesor

Dentro de este trastorno psicológico que dirigí mi padre confesor e ingenuamente describí la situación.Fue uno de los más famosos sacerdotes del Monasterio. Me escuchó con tristeza, consciente de que se trataba de un problema muy difícil. Después de haber pensado durante unos minutos, mientras que buscan en vano a una resolución aceptable, por fin me dijo lo siguiente, que debo confesar, que no esperaba de él. “La Biblia y los Padres que han hecho daño, mi hijo. Colóquelos a un lado y te limites a seguir las enseñanzas infalibles de la Iglesia y no se deje ser víctima de tales pensamientos. Nunca permita que las criaturas de Dios sean quienes sean escandalizar su fe en Dios y en la Iglesia “.

Esta respuesta explícita que me dio me causó aún mayor confusión. Siempre he creído que la Palabra de Dios es lo único que no se puede dejar de lado. Sin permitirme cualquier momento para responder, mi padre confesor añadió: “A cambio, te daré una lista de autores destacados en cuyo funciona su fe encontrarán consuelo y apoyo.” Y me preguntó si yo tenía alguna otra cosa “más interesante” preguntar, él terminó nuestra conversación. Unos días más tarde, mi confesor padre se fue a una gira de predicación de Iglesias de la orden monástica. Me dejó la lista de autores, que recomienda que los leo. Y me pidió que le informara de mi progreso en mi estudio por él escrito. A pesar de que sus palabras no me convenció en absoluto, tengo los libros y comencé a leerlos como objetivamente y con atención posible.

La mayoría de los libros eran textos teológicos y manuales de las decisiones papales, así como de los Sínodos Ecuménicos. Me tiré en el estudio con verdadero interés, teniendo solamente la Biblia como mi guía. “Tu ley es una lámpara a mis pies y lumbrera a mi camino.” (Salmo 118: 105).

A medida que avanzaba en mi estudio de esos libros, me gustaría empezar a comprender cada vez más que no era consciente de la verdadera naturaleza de mi Iglesia. Después de haber sido proselitismo en el cristianismo y bautizado tan pronto como terminé mis estudios encíclica, continué con los estudios filosóficos y luego como te hablo yo estaba justo en el comienzo de los estudios teológicos. Consistía en una ciencia totalmente nuevo para mí. Hasta entonces el cristianismo y la Iglesia latina fue para mí una y la misma, algo absolutamente indivisible. En mi vida monástica sólo estaba preocupado con vista exterior de la Iglesia y se me dio ninguna razón para examinar en profundidad los fundamentos y razones de la estructura orgánica de mi Iglesia.

3.El Absurdo Enseñanza sobre el Papa

Fue en este punto, en la lectura de los artículos que mi padre espiritual había puesto juntos para mí que la verdadera naturaleza de este sistema monárquico, conocida como la Iglesia Latina, comenzó a desmoronarse ante mí. Supongo que un resumen de sus características no sería superflua en este punto. En primer lugar, a los católicos romanos, la Iglesia cristiana “no es más que una monarquía absoluta”, cuyo monarca es el Papa que funciona en todas sus facetas como tales. Tras esta monarquía papal “todo el poder y la estabilidad de la Iglesia se encuentran”, que de otra forma “no hubiera sido posible.” El cristianismo es apoyado completamente por el Papado. “El Papado es el agente más importante en el cristianismo”, es decir “que es su arquetipo y su esencia misma.”

Los peregrinos besan los pies del Papa. La autoridad monárquica del papa como el líder supremo y cabeza visible de la Iglesia, es la piedra angular, el Infalible Maestro Universal de la Fe, el Representante (Vicario) de Cristo en la tierra, el pastor de pastores y Supremo Jerarca. El Papa es dinámico y dominante y abarca todas las enseñanzas y de los derechos legales que tiene la Iglesia. “Derecho divino” se extiende a todos y de forma individual a cada persona bautizada en todo el mundo. Esta autoridad dictatorial puede ejercerse en cualquier momento, sobre cualquier cosa y en cualquier cristiano en todo el mundo, ya sean laicos o clérigos, y en cualquier iglesia o denominación y el idioma que sea, en consideración de que el Papa es el supremo obispo de cada diócesis eclesiástica en el mundo.

Las personas que se niegan a reconocer a toda esta potestad, y no se someten ciegamente a ella son cismáticos, herejes, impíos y sacrílegos y sus almas ya están destinados a la condenación eterna, porque es esencial para nuestra salvación que creemos en la institución del Papado y someterse a ella y sus representantes. La enseñanza de América dice: “aceptar que el Papa tiene el derecho de intervenir y juzgar todos los asuntos espirituales de todas y cada cristiano por separado, también tiene el derecho de hacer lo mismo en sus asuntos mundanos. Él no puede estar limitada a juzgar sólo a través de sanciones espirituales, negando la salvación eterna a los que no se someten a él, pero él también tiene el derecho de ejercer autoridad sobre los fieles. La Iglesia tiene dos cuchillas, que son símbolos de su poder espiritual y mundano. El primero de ellos se encuentran en las manos del clero, el otro están en manos de los reyes y soldados, aunque ellos también están bajo la voluntad y el servicio del clero “.

El Papa, sosteniendo que él es el representante de Aquel cuyo “reino no es de este mundo”, del que prohibió a los Apóstoles de la imitación de los reyes del mundo, que “conquistar las naciones”, nombra a sí mismo como un rey terrenal, continuando así el imperialismo de la antigua Roma. En diferentes momentos, que de hecho se había convertido en señor de grandes extensiones de tierra; declaró sangrientas guerras contra otros reyes cristianos para adquirir otras extensiones de tierra, o incluso para satisfacer su sed de más riqueza y poder. Era dueño de un gran número de esclavos. Jugó un papel central y muchas veces jugó un papel decisivo en la historia política.

El deber de los señores cristianos es retirarse en la cara “de este rey divinamente” rendirse a él sus reinos y sus tronos político-eclesiásticos “que fue creada para ennoblecer y anclar todos los otros tronos del mundo.” Hoy la diplomática mundana capital de la Papa se limita a la Ciudad del Vaticano. Consiste en una nación autónoma con representaciones diplomáticas en los gobiernos de ambos hemisferios, con un ejército, las armas, la policía, las cárceles, la moneda, etc

Sumado a esto la corona y la omnipotencia del Papa, es uno más privilegio que hasta los idólatras más innobles no podían ni siquiera imaginar-la de derecho divino infalible, de acuerdo con una decisión dogmática del Sínodo del Vaticano que fue promulgada en 1870, Desde entonces ” la humanidad debe dirigirse a él en la misma forma en que se dirige al Señor: ‘Tú tienes palabras de vida eterna. ” A partir de ahora no hay necesidad de que el Espíritu Santo para guiar a la Iglesia “a toda la verdad.” No hay más necesidad de la Biblia ni la Sagrada Tradición, por ahora no hay un dios en la tierra basada en el dogma de la infalibilidad. El Papa es la única ley de la verdad que puede incluso expresar cosas contra el juicio de la Iglesia; declarar nuevos dogmas que los fieles deben aceptar si no quieren ser separados de su esperanza de salvación.”Sólo depende de su voluntad y la intención de considerar lo que quiera, como algo sagrado y santo de la Iglesia.” Y estos decretos deben considerarse, creyó y obedeció a “las leyes canónicas.” Puesto que él es un Papa infalible, debe recibir obediencia ciega. El cardenal Belarmino, que fue declarado santo por la Iglesia latina, dice esto simplemente: “Si el Papa algún día impuso pecados y virtudes no lo quiera, la Iglesia tiene la obligación de creer que estos pecados son buenas y estas virtudes son malos.”

4.La respuesta de mi Confesor 

Después de leer todos esos libros que me dio mi confesor, me sentí como un extraño dentro de mi propia Iglesia, cuya composición organizativa no tiene relación con la Iglesia que el Señor mismo construyó y organizó a través de los Apóstoles y sus discípulos, y según lo previsto por el Santos Padres. Pensar de esta manera que escribí mi primera carta a mi superior, a mi padre confesor:

“He leído sus libros. No voy a ignorar los dictados divinos para que yo pueda seguir las enseñanzas humanas que no tienen ninguna base en absoluto en la Biblia. Tales enseñanzas son una serie de tonterías por el Papado. De lo dispuesto en la Santa Biblia podemos entender la naturaleza de la Iglesia y no a través de las decisiones humanas y teorías. La verdad de la fe brota de la Biblia y de la Tradición de la Iglesia entera. “‘

La respuesta llegó rápidamente: “¿Usted no ha seguido mi consejo,” se quejó de mi anciano “, y por lo tanto expuesto su alma al peligroso impacto de la Biblia, que puede quemar y se oscurecen cuando no brilla. En tales situaciones como la suya, los Papas han pronunciado que “es un error escandaloso para hacer creer que todos los cristianos podían leer la Biblia,” y los teólogos nos aseguran que la Biblia “es una nube oscura. ‘ ‘Para que uno cree en la iluminación y la claridad de la Biblia es un dogma heterodoxa (extranjera),’ reclamar nuestros líderes infalibles. En lo que se refiere a la Tradición, no considero necesario recordar a usted que debemos seguir principalmente al Papa en cuestiones de fe. El Papa es la pena, en este caso, miles de agustinos, Jeromses, Gregorios, Crisóstomo … .. ”

Esta respuesta lleva a cabo para fortalecer mi opinión de la Iglesia en vez de demolerlo. Era imposible que me pongo la Santa Biblia debajo de la Papa. Al atacar a la Santa Biblia, mi Iglesia estaba perdiendo toda creencia digna para mí, y se estaba convirtiendo en uno de los herejes que “de ser elegido por el giro de la Biblia en contra de ella.” Este fue el último contacto que tuve con mi anciano.

5.El Papa lo es todo y la Iglesia no es nada

Sin embargo, no se detuvo allí. Yo ya había empezado a patinar lejos de mi Iglesia. Yo había tomado un camino que no se le permitió a parar hasta que encontré una solución positiva. El drama de esos días era que yo había distanciado a mí mismo desde el papado, pero no atacó a cualquier otra realidad eclesiástica.

Ortodoxa y la protestante entonces eran para mí las ideas vagas y yo no había alcanzado el tiempo y la oportunidad de comprobar que podían ofrecer algo para calmar mi agonía. A pesar de todo esto continuaba a amar a mi Iglesia que me hizo un cristiano. Todavía necesitaba pensar más intensa para llegar poco a poco, con problemas y el dolor, la conclusión de que la Iglesia me amaba no era parte del sistema papal. En realidad, la autoridad de la Iglesia y de su cuerpo episcopal no se subordina a la monocracia del Papa. Porque de acuerdo con la teología latina “, existe la autoridad de la Iglesia sólo cuando se caracteriza y armonizado por el Papa. En todos los demás casos, se anula “.

Viéndolo de esta manera, es lo mismo que si el Papa está con la Iglesia o el Papa es  [fuera de la Iglesia, en otras palabras, el Papa lo es todo y la Iglesia no es nada. Muy correctamente se Obispo Maren escribir, “Hubiera sido más preciso si los católicos romanos cuando recitan el credo ‘I Believe’ diría ‘Y en una papa en vez de’ Y en uno … .Church.”

La importancia y la función de los Obispos en la Iglesia latina no son más que la de los representantes de la autoridad papal a la que se someten los Obispos como los laicos. Este entendimiento se basa en el capítulo 22 del Evangelio de San Juan, que de acuerdo con la interpretación América, “el Señor confía al Apóstol Pedro, el primer Papa, el pastoreo de los corderos y las ovejas”, es decir, Él concede en él el trabajo del Príncipe de los pastores con los derechos exclusivos sobre todos los fieles que son los corderos y los otros, de los apóstoles y obispos, a saber, la de ovino. Sin embargo, los obispos de la Iglesia latina ni siquiera son sucesores de los Apóstoles, para que se dogmatiza: “La autoridad apostólica era escaso, los Apóstoles y no se transmite a sus sucesores, los Obispos; sólo se transmite a la autoridad papal de Pedro, es decir, los Papas. “Los Obispos entonces, al no haber heredado alguna autoridad apostólica, no tienen ninguna otra autoridad que la dada a ellos por el Sumo Pontífice de Roma. Y los Sínodos Ecuménicos también tienen otro valor que el que se les da por el obispo de Roma, “porque no pueden ser otra cosa excepto conferencias del cristianismo que se llaman en la autenticidad y la autoridad del Papa.”

Bastaría el Papa para salir de la sala del Sínodo diciendo: “Yo no estoy más allí,” para parar desde ese momento en el Sínodo Ecuménico de tener alguna validez. Si no está autorizada y validada por el Papa, que podría imponer su autoridad sobre los fieles?

6.La respuesta Frightful de un jesuita

Casi me di por vencido en mis estudios durante ese período, aprovechando las horas que mi orden me permitió retirarme a mi celda, a pensar en otra cosa, pero mi gran problema. Durante meses enteros Me gustaría estudiar la estructura y organización de la Iglesia primitiva, directamente de las fuentes apostólicos y patrísticos.

Sin embargo, todo este trabajo no se podía hacer totalmente en secreto. Parecía obvio que mi vida exterior se ve muy afectada por este gran preocupación que se había desbordado todos mis intereses y minado todas mis fuerzas. Nunca perdí la oportunidad de preguntar desde fuera del monasterio lo podría contribuir a arrojar algo de luz sobre mi problema. De esta manera empecé a discutir el tema con los conocidos eclesiásticos conocidos en relación con la verdad que tenía en su franqueza y su corazón. De esta manera me gustaría recibir continuamente las impresiones y opiniones sobre los temas que eran para mí siempre es interesante y significativo.

Encontré la mayoría de estos clérigos más fanáticos de lo que esperaba. Aunque estaban profundamente conscientes de lo absurdo de la enseñanza sobre el Papa, que estaban pegados a la idea de que “la presentación requerida para el Papa exigió consentimiento ciego de nuestros puntos de vista” y en la otra máxima por el fundador de los jesuitas: ” Que podamos poseer la verdad y no caer en la falacia, se lo debemos a depender siempre del axioma básico e inmuebles que lo que vemos como blanco en realidad es negro, si eso es lo que la jerarquía de la Iglesia nos dice. “Con esta increíble sesgo un sacerdote de la Orden de Jesús me ha confiado con el siguiente pensamiento: “¿Qué me dices Yo reconozco que es más lógico y muy claro y verdadero. Sin embargo, para nosotros los jesuitas, además de los habituales tres votos, le damos un cuarto durante el día de nuestra tonsura. Este cuarto voto es más importante que el voto de pureza, obediencia y pobreza. Es el voto que debemos someternos totalmente al Papa. De esta manera, prefiero ir al infierno con el Papa que al Paraíso con todas sus verdades “.

7.”Hace algunos siglos Tendrían Quemado Usted en los fuegos de la Santa Inquisición”

De acuerdo con la opinión de la mayoría de ellos, que era un hereje. Esto es lo que un obispo me escribió: “Hace unos siglos, las ideas que tiene, habría sido suficiente para llevarnos a los fuegos de la Santa Inquisición.”

Sin embargo, a pesar de todo esto tenía la intención de permanecer en el monasterio y entregarme a una vida puramente espiritual, dejando la responsabilidad de la jerarquía para el engaño y su corrección. Pero podrían las cosas importantes de la alma a salvo en un camino de una vida superficial, donde la arbitrariedad del Papa podría acumularse nuevos dogmas y enseñanzas falsas concernientes a la vida piadosa de la Iglesia? Por otra parte, desde la pureza de la enseñanza se basa en falsedades sobre el Papa, que me podría asegurarle que esta mancha podría no extenderse a las otras partes de la fe evangélica? Por ello no es extraño que los hombres santos en la Iglesia latina comenzó a sonar la alarma, diciendo cosas tales como:

“Quién sabe si los medios de menor importancia de la salvación que inundan nosotros no nos hacen olvidar nuestro único Salvador Jesucristo? Hoy nuestra vida espiritual aparece como un multi-rama y el árbol de hojas múltiples, donde las almas no más saben donde la verdad es que todo se basa en, y donde las raíces son que lo alimentan “.

Con tal manera que hemos embellecido y sobrecargado nuestra religiosidad, para que el rostro de Aquel que es el “enfoque de la cuestión” se pierde dentro de las “decoraciones”. Siendo por lo tanto, convencido de que la vida espiritual en el seno de la Iglesia papal me exponga a peligros, terminé de dar el paso decisivo. Abandoné el monasterio y después de un rato, declaré que no pertenecía a la Iglesia latina.Algunos otros parecían preparados hasta entonces para que me siguiera, pero en el último momento no se demostraron dispuestos a sacrificar tan radicalmente su posición dentro de la Iglesia, con los honores y consideraciones que disfrutaban.

De esta manera me abandonó la Iglesia latina cuyo líder, se olvidó de que el Reino de Dios “no es de este mundo” y que “el que está llamado a ser un obispo no se llama a cualquier posición o autoridad máxima, pero para ser un siervo de la Iglesia. “Pero en lugar de imitarlo que” deseen en su orgullo de ser como Dios, pierde la verdadera gloria y la puso sobre la falsa “y” se sentó en el templo de Dios como Dios. “Con razón lo hizo Bernard De Klaraval escribir acerca de la Papa:

“No hay veneno más horrible para usted, ninguna espada más peligrosa, de la sed y la pasión de la dominación.” Al salir del Papado, he seguido la voz de mi conciencia, que era la voz de Dios. Y esta voz que me decía: “Déjala … así que es posible que no participar de sus pecados y que no puede recibir sus heridas.”

8.En el seno de la ortodoxia

En segundo lugar, como mi salida del Papado se hizo más ampliamente conocido dentro de los círculos eclesiásticos y fue recibido la respuesta más entusiasta en los círculos protestantes españoles y franceses, por lo que era mi posición cada vez más precaria.

En la correspondencia que he recibido, las cartas abusivas amenazantes y anónimas eran abundantes.Ellos me acusan de que yo estaba creando una onda anti-papista a mi alrededor y yo dirigía, con mi ejemplo en la apostasía, los clérigos católicos romanos que iban dogmáticamente enfermo y que habían expresado públicamente un sentimiento de simpatía por mi causa.Este hecho me obligó a dejar Barcelona y establecerse en Madrid, donde me pusieron arriba-sin mi buscarlo por los anglicanos ya través de ellos entré en contacto con el Consejo Mundial de Iglesias. Ni siquiera allí lo hicieron me las arreglo para no llamar la atención.Después de cada sermón en diferentes iglesias anglicanas, un número cada vez mayor de oyentes buscó para que me conozcan y para discutir con confianza conmigo algunos temas eclesiológicos.

Sin desearlo, por lo tanto, un círculo cada vez mayor de la gente comenzó a formarse alrededor de mí, con la mayoría de ser anti-papistas. Esta situación me estaba exponiendo a las autoridades, ya que en las reuniones confidenciales que había accedido a asistir a algunos clérigos católicos comenzaron a aparecer que se conoce generalmente “por su escaso y debilitamiento de la fe en cuanto a la primacía y la infalibilidad del Jerarca Mayor de Roma. ”

La venganza fanática que algunos llevaban papistas contra mí se expresó y alcanzaron su cenit el día, respondí a una tesis eclesiástica detallada que me habían enviado como paso final para sacarme de la “trampa de la herejía” que había caído. Ese trabajo de la apologética tenía el título: El Papa, Vicario de nuestro Señor en la Tierra. Y el lema que los argumentos en el libro terminaron era el siguiente: “Debido a la infalibilidad del Papa, los católicos romanos son hoy los únicos cristianos que podrían ser cierto por lo que creen.”

En las columnas de la reseña del libro portugués, me respondió: “La realidad es que, debido a esta infalibilidad son los únicos cristianos que no pueden estar seguros de por qué van a exigir que usted cree que mañana.” Mi artículo terminó con la siguiente frase: “Pronto, el camino que andar, se le nombre el Señor Vicario del Papa en el cielo.”

Poco después de que publiqué en Buenos Aires mi estudio en tres volúmenes, puse fin a los enfrentamientos con el Papado. En ese estudio había recogido todas las declaraciones en la literatura patrística de los primeros cuatro siglos que se refieren directa o indirectamente a las “cláusulas de primacía” (Mt. 16: 18-19; Juan 21: 15-17; Lucas 22: 31- 32). He demostrado que las enseñanzas sobre el Papa eran absolutamente ajeno y contrario a la interpretación dada por los Padres de la Iglesia sobre este tema. Y la interpretación de los Padres es exactamente la regla en la que entendemos la Biblia.

Durante ese período, a pesar de que a partir de situaciones no relacionadas, por primera vez que entré en contacto con los ortodoxos. Antes de continuar a relatar los acontecimientos, lo debo confesar aquí que mis ideas sobre la ortodoxia habían sufrido un importante desarrollo desde el comienzo de mi odisea espiritual. Ciertas conversaciones que mantuve sobre temas eclesiológicos con un grupo de ortodoxos cristianos polacos, que pasó por mi país, y la información que he recibido del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias sobre la existencia y la vida de los círculos ortodoxos de Occidente, habían despertado mi gran interés. Además, empecé a tener diferentes libros y revistas rusos y griegos de Londres y Berlín, así como algunos de los libros premiados que fueron proporcionadas por el Archimandrita Benedicto Katsenvakis en Napoli, Italia. Por lo tanto mi interés en la ortodoxia continuaría creciendo.

Poco a poco, poco a poco de esta manera empecé a perder mis prejuicios internos contra la Iglesia Ortodoxa. Estos sesgos (que cada católico se enseña acerca de la Ortodoxia) presentaron la Ortodoxia como cismática, sin vida espiritual, un grupo con drenaje de pequeñas iglesias que no tienen las características de la verdadera Iglesia de Cristo. Y el cisma que había cortado el off “había hecho el diablo por su padre y el orgullo del patriarca Focio por su madre.”

Así que cuando empecé a mantener correspondencia con un miembro respetado de la jerarquía ortodoxa en Occidente-cuyo nombre no creo que se me permita publicar debido a mi criterio personal que se basa en la información original-I por lo tanto estaba totalmente libre de todo sesgo contra la ortodoxia y ahora podía contemplar espiritualmente en ella objetivamente. Pronto me di cuenta e incluso con una agradable sorpresa de que mi postura negativa que tenía contra el Papado fue conformando por completo a la enseñanza eclesiológica de la Iglesia Ortodoxa. El jerarca respetable acordó esta coincidencia en sus cartas, pero se abstuvo de expresarse de manera más amplia, porque era consciente de que vivía en un entorno protestantes.

Los cristianos ortodoxos en Occidente no son en absoluto susceptibles al proselitismo. Sólo cuando nuestra correspondencia continuó, el obispo ortodoxo me dio un libro excelente por Sergei Bulgakov titulado “ortodoxia”, y las no menos en la disertación de profundidad bajo el mismo título por el Metropolita Serafín. Mientras tanto yo también había escrito específicamente al Patriarcado Ecuménico.

Me encontré en esos libros. No había ni un solo párrafo que no cumplió por completo el acuerdo de mi conciencia. Me enviaron muchas obras junto con cartas del Patriarcado e incluso de Grecia.

Vi claramente cómo ortodoxa enseñanza es profunda y puramente evangélica y que los ortodoxos son los únicos cristianos que creen como los cristianos de las catacumbas y de los Padres de la Iglesia de la Edad Dorada. Ellos son los únicos que pueden repetir con santa que cuenta con el dicho patrística. “Creemos en lo que hemos recibido de los apóstoles.”

Durante este tiempo he escrito dos libros, uno con el título El concepto de la Iglesia Según los Padres occidentales y la otra con el título de Su Dios, nuestro Dios y Dios. Estos libros eran para ser publicado en América del Sur, pero no proceden con su liberación para que yo le dé un agarre fácil y peligroso para la propaganda protestante.

Los ortodoxos me aconsejó dejar de lado mi posición negativa contra el Papado en el que yo estaba ensuciado. Ellos querían que yo me manifestaré en mi fe y credo para que pudieran juzgar hasta qué punto yo era de la Iglesia Anglicana, así como los ortodoxos.

Esta era una tarea difícil y yo lo resumió con las siguientes frases: “Creo que todo lo que se incluye en los libros canónicos del Antiguo y del Nuevo Testamento, según la interpretación de la Tradición eclesiástica, a saber, los Sínodos Ecuménicos que eran verdaderamente ecuménico, y para las enseñanzas unánimes de los Santos Padres que son reconocidos universalmente como tal “.

A partir de entonces empecé a comprender que la simpatía de los protestantes hacia mí fue enfriando con la excepción de los anglicanos que se regían por algún apoyo significativo. Y es sólo ahora que el interés ortodoxo, a pesar de llegar tarde, como siempre, empezó a manifestarse y para atraerme a la ortodoxia como alguien que era posiblemente un catecúmeno.

Las empresas de un profesor universitario polaco, a quien yo conocía, cimentaron mi convicción de que la ortodoxia es apoyado por las verdades del cristianismo.Entendí que todo cristiano de las otras confesiones está obligado a sacrificar una parte significativa de la Fe para llegar a la pureza dogmática completa, y sólo no es tan necesario un cristiano ortodoxo. Por sólo vive y permanece en la sustancia del cristianismo en la verdad revelada y sin alteraciones.

Así que, ya no me sentía solo contra la Iglesia todopoderosa Católica Romana y la frescura que los protestantes exhibido contra mí. Había en el Este y se dispersaron por todo el mundo, 280 millones de cristianos que pertenecían a la Iglesia ortodoxa y con la que me sentía en comunión.

La acusación de la Iglesia Católica acerca de la momificación de la ortodoxia teológica ya no tenía ningún valor para mí porque ahora entendí que esta perseverancia fijo y estable de la doctrina ortodoxa de la verdad no era una roca solidificada espiritual, sino un flujo eterno como la corriente de la cascada que parece seguir siendo siempre el mismo pero las aguas siempre cambia.

Poco a poco, poco a poco los ortodoxos comenzaron a considerarme como uno de los suyos. “Eso nos dirigimos a este español sobre la ortodoxia”, escribió un famoso archimandrita “no es proselitismo.” Ellos y yo percibimos que ya fue dado a luz en el puerto de la ortodoxia, que finalmente estaba respirando libremente en el seno de la Iglesia Madre. En este periodo que fue finalmente ortodoxa sin darse cuenta, y como los discípulos que caminaban hacia Emaús con el Maestro Divino, que había cubierto una gran cantidad de territorio cerca de la ortodoxia sin reconocer esta verdad hasta el final.

Cuando me aseguré de esta realidad, escribí una larga disertación acerca de mi caso al Patriarcado Ecuménico y al Arzobispo de Atenas a través del Diaconado Apostólico de la Iglesia de Grecia. Y habiendo completamente cortado la relación con España-donde hoy no hay ninguna comunidad ortodoxa-que dejé mi país y me fui a Francia, donde le pregunté a convertirse en un miembro de la Iglesia Ortodoxa, que tiene antes dejar un poco más de tiempo que debe transcurrir para que el fruto de mi cambio podría madurar.

Durante este período he profundizado aún más mi conocimiento de la Iglesia Ortodoxa y fortalecí mi relación con su jerarquía. Cuando me convertí en plena confianza en mí mismo, me tomé el paso decisivo y oficialmente fue recibido en la verdadera Iglesia de Cristo. Deseaba hacer realidad este gran evento en Grecia, el país reconocido de la ortodoxia donde vine a estudiar teología. El arzobispo de Atenas bendito me recibió paternalmente. Su amor e interés fueron más allá de mis expectativas.

También debo decir lo mismo sobre el entonces canciller de la Arquidiócesis Sagrado de Atenas y actualmente obispo Dionisio de Rogon que me mostró el amor paternal. Es innecesario decir que en un ambiente de amor y calor tal, el Santo Sínodo no pasó mucho tiempo para decidir sobre mi aceptación en el seno de la Iglesia Ortodoxa. Durante ese toda la noche sagrada ceremonia, tuve el honor con el nombre de los Apóstoles de las Naciones, y después de que fui recibido en las filas monásticas en el monasterio de Santo en Penteli. Pronto después de eso, fui ordenado diácono por el obispo de Rodon.

Desde entonces, yo vivo en el amor, la simpatía y la comprensión de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Griega y todos sus miembros. Les pido sus oraciones y apoyo espiritual para que pueda siempre estar digno de la gracia que me fue dada por el Señor “.







The Moore family (Chris, Jen, and their son Andrew) arrived safe in Ulaan Baatar last week to begin their long-term missionary service in Mongolia. Please pray for them as they offer themselves and teachers and evangelists in country the has only one Orthodox church.


Photos: Mongolia

The Moore Missionary Family Arrives in Mongolia!



Thank you so much for your prayers! We’ve arrived safely in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. We are doing well and adjusting to the 12-hour time change. Our 2-room apartment is lovely and came furnished. The past couple of days we’ve been purchasing kitchen items and a few appliances. It’s been good to get out into the city for these excursions and for some general exploring. The mornings and evenings can be chilly (around freezing), but the sun comes out in the day and warms up to the 50’s, which is really nice. The apartment stays very warm. We have so much to be grateful for!

Yesterday we had our first opportunity to celebrate the Divine Liturgy service at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. It was great to worship our God with our brothers and sisters and a pleasure to make some new acquaintances in the church after the service. Our son Andrew tends to draw a lot of attention from Russians and Mongolians alike!

We were also able to touch base with the Mongolian International University and High School administration and teachers on Friday. It was good to put some faces with names that we’d been in contact with through e-mail. There will even be opportunities for us to study Mongolian at the Language Institute attached to MIU before our work begins there in February.

Please pray for opportunities to get better acquainted with church members and co-workers and to meet neighbors!

-Chris, Jen, and Andrew


Facebook of Chris & Jen Moore


As of October 2014 we are now in Mongolia full time, serving our first two-year term. We are currently taking Mongolian classes and will begin teaching English in the spring semester. We are worshiping at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Ulaanbaatar and are just beginning to become acquainted with the city. We appreciate your continued prayers as we strive to learn the language, live the culture, and love those we meet.

-Chris, Jen, and Andrew






Jonathan Jackson: Πως έγινα Ορθόδοξος

Ο γνωστός τραγουδιστής και ηθοποιός του Hollywood, Jonathan Jackson, κάτοχος 5 βραβείων Emmy, σε συνέντευξη που έδωσε στο “Πεμπτουσία TV” κατά την πρόσφατη επίσκεψή του στο Άγιον Όρος, εξηγεί τους λόγους και πώς έγινε Ορθόδοξος.






Photos: Alaska, USA



Glorification of the Venerable Herman of Alaska,

Wonderworker of All America



Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America. A spiritual mission was organized in 1793, made up of monks of the Valaam Monastery. They were sent to preach the Word of God to the native inhabitants of northwestern America, who only ten years before had come under the sovereignty of Russia. St Herman was among the members of this Mission.

St Herman came from a family of merchants of Serpukhov, a city of the Moscow Diocese. His name before he was tonsured, and his family name are not known. (The monastic name is given when a monk takes his vows). He had a great zeal for piety from youth, and at sixteen he entered monastic life. (This was in 1772, if we assume that Herman was born in 1756, although sometimes 1760 is given as the date of his birth.) First he entered the Trinity-Sergius Hermitage which was located near the Gulf of Finland on the Peterhof Road, about 15 versts (about 10 miles) from St Petersburg.


At the St Sergius Hermitage there occurred the following incident to Father Herman. On the right side of his throat under his chin there appeared an abscess. The swelling grew rapidly, disfiguring his face. It became difficult for him to swallow, and the odor was unbearable. In this critical condition Father Herman awaited death. He did not appeal to a
physician of this world, but locking his cell he fell before an icon of the Queen of Heaven. With fervent tears he prayed, asking of Her that he might be healed. He prayed the whole night. Then he took a wet towel and with it wiped the face of the Most Holy Mother, and with this towel he covered the swelling. He continued to pray with tears until he fell asleep from sheer exhaustion on the floor. In a dream he saw the Virgin Mary healing him.

When Herman awoke in the morning, he found to his great surprise that he was fully healed. The swelling had disappeared, even though the abscess had not broken through, leaving behind but a small mark as though a reminder of the miracle. Physicians to whom this healing was described did not believe it, arguing that it was necessary for the abscess to have either broken through of its own accord or to have been cut open. But the words of the physicians were the words of human experience, for where the grace of God operates there the order of nature is overcome. Such occurrences humble human reason under the strong hand of God’s Mercy.


For five or six years Father Herman continued to live in the St Sergius Hermitage, and then he transferred to the Valaam Monastery, which was widely scattered on the large islands in the waters of the great Lake Ladoga. He came to love the Valaam haven with all his soul, as he came to love its unforgettable Superior, the pious Elder Nazarius, and all the brethren. He wrote to Father Nazarius later from America, “Your fatherly goodness to me, humble one, will be erased out of my heart neither by the terrible, unpassable Siberian lands, nor by the dark forests. Nor will it be wiped out by the swift flow of the great rivers; nor will the awful ocean quench these feelings. In my mind I imagine my beloved Valaam, looking to it beyond the great ocean.” He praised the Elder Nazarius in his letters as, “the most reverend, and my beloved father.” (Batushka) and the brethren of Valaam he called, “my beloved and dearest.” The place where he lived in America, deserted Spruce Island, he called “New Valaam.” And as we can see, he always remained in spiritual contact with his spiritual homeland, for as late as 1823, that is after thirty years of his life within the borders of America, he wrote letters to the successor of Father Nazarius, the lgumen Innocent.

Father Barlaam, later lgumen of Valaam, and a contemporary of Father Herman, who accepted his tonsure from Father Nazarius, wrote thus of the life of Father Herman.

“Father Herman went through the various obediences here, and being ‘well disposed toward every thing’ was in the course of events sent to Serdobol to oversee there the work of quarrying marble. The Brothers loved Father Herman, and awaited impatiently his return to the cloisters from Serdobol. Recognizing the zeal of the young hermit the wise elder, Father Nazarius, released him to take abode in the wilderness. This wilderness was in the deep forest about a mile from the cloister: to this day this place has retained the name ‘Herman’s.’ On holy days, Father Herman returned to the monastery from the wilderness. Then it was that at Little Vespers he would stand in the choir and sing in his pleasant tenor the responses with the brethren from the Canon, ‘O Sweetest Jesus, save us sinners. Most Holy Theotokos, Save us,’ and tears would fall like hail from his eyes.”


In the second half of the 18th century the borders of Holy Russia expanded to the north. In those years Russian merchants discovered the Aleutian Islands which formed in the Pacific Ocean a chain from the eastern shares of Kamchatka to the western shares of North America. With the opening of these islands there was revealed the sacred necessity to illumine with the light of the Gospel the native inhabitants. With the blessing of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Gabriel gave to the Elder Nazarius the task of selecting capable persons from the brethern of Valaam for this holy endeavor. Ten men were selected, and among them was Father Herman. The chosen men left Valaam for the place of their great appointment in 1793. (The members of this historical mission were: Archimandrite Joseph (Bolotoff), the Hieromonks, Juvenal, Macarius, Athanasius, Stephan and Nectarius, Hierodeacons, Nectarius and Stephen, and the monks Joasaph, and Herman.)

As a result of the holy zeal of the preachers the light of the evangelic sermon quickly poured out among the sons of Russia, and several thousand pagans accepted Christianity. A school for the education of newly-baptized children was organized, and a church was built at the place where the missionaries lived. But by the inscrutable providence of God the general progress of the mission was unsatisfactory. After five years of very productive labor, Archimandrite Joasaph, who had just been elevated to the rank of bishop, was drowned with his party. (This occurred on the Pacific Ocean been Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands. The ship, Phoenix, one of the first sea-going ships built in Alaska, sailed from Okhotsk carrying the first Bishop for the American Mission and his party. The Phoenix was caught in one of the many storms which periodically sweep the northern Pacific, and the ship and all hands perished together with Bishop Joasaph and his party.) Before this the zealous Hieromonk Juvenal was granted the martyr’s crown. The others died one after another until in the end only Father Herman remained. The Lord permitted him to labor longer than any of his brethren in the apostolic task of enlightening the Aleutians.


In America Father Herman chose as his place of habitation Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam. This island is separated by a strait about a mile and a quarter wide from Kodiak Island on which had been built a wooden monastery for the residence of the members of the mission, and a wooden church dedicated to the Resurrection of the Savior. (New Valaam was named for Valaam on Lake Ladoga, the monastery from which Father Herman came to America. It is interesting to note that Valaam is also located on an island, although, this island is in a fresh water lake, whereas, Spruce Island is on the Pacific Ocean, although near other islands and the Alaskan mainland.)

Spruce Island is not large, and is almost completely covered by a forest. Almost through its middle a small brook flows to the sea. Herman selected this picturesque island for the location of his hermitage. He dug a cave out of the ground with his own hands, and in it he lived his first full summer. For winter there was built for him a cell near the cave, in which he lived until his death. The cave was converted by him into a place for his burial. A wooden chapel, and a wooden house to be used as a schoolhouse and a guest house were built not too distant from his cell. A garden was laid out in front of his cell. For more than forty years Father Herman lived here.


Father Herman himself spaded the garden, planted potatoes and cabbage and various vegetables in it. For winter, he preserved mushrooms, salting or drying them. The salt was obtained by him from ocean water. It is said that a wicker basket in which the Elder carried seaweed from the shore, was so large that it was difficult for one person to carry. The seaweed was used for fertilizing the soil. But to the astonishment of all, Father Herman carried a basket filled with seaweed for a long distance without any help at all. By chance his disciple, Gerasim, saw him one winter night carrying a large log which normally would be carried by four men; and he was bare footed. Thus worked the Elder, and everything that he acquired as a result of his immeasurable labors was used for the feeding and clothing of orphans and also for books for his students.

His clothes were the same for winter as for summer. He did not wear a shirt; instead he wore a smock of deer skin, which he did not take off for several years at a time, nor did he change it, so that the fur in it was completely worn away, and the leather became glossy. Then there were his boots or shoes, cassock (podrasnik), an ancient and faded out cassock (riasa) full of patchwork, and his headdress (klobuk). He went everywhere in these clothes, and at all times; in the rain, in snowstorms, and during the coldest freezing weather. In this, Father Herman followed the example of many Eastern Ascetic Fathers and Monks who showed the greatest concern for the welfare and needs of others. Yet, they themselves wore the oldest possible clothes to show their great humility before God, and their contempt for worldly things.

A small bench covered with a time-worn deerskin served as Father Herman’s bed. He used two bricks for a pillow; these were hidden from visitors by a skin or a shirt. There was no blanket. Instead, he covered himself with a wooden board which lay on the stove. This board Father Herman, himself called his blanket, and he willed that it be used to cover his remains; it was as long as he was tall. “During my stay in the cell of Father Herman,” writes the creole Constantine Larionov, “I, a sinner, sat on his ‘blanket’-and I consider this the acme of my fortune!” (‘creole’ is the name by which the Russians referred to the children of mixed marriages of native Indians of Alaska, Eskimo and Aleuts with Russians.)

On the occasions when Father Herman was the guest of administrators of the American Company and in the course of their soul-saving talks he sat up with them until midnight. He never spent the night with them, but regardless of the weather he always returned to his hermitage. If for some extraordinary reason it was necessary for him to spend the night away from his cell, then in the morning the bed which had been prepared for him would be found untouched; the Elder not having slept at all. The same was true in his hermitage where having spent the night in talks, he never rested.

The Elder ate very little. As a guest, he scarcely tasted the food, and remained without dinner. In his call his dinner consisted of a very small portion of a small fish or some vegetables.

His body, emaciated as a result of his labors, his vigils, and fasting, was crushed by chains which weighed about sixteen pounds. These chains are kept to this day in the chapel.

Telling of these deeds of Father Herman, his disciple, the Aleut Ignaty Aligyaga, added, “Yes, Apa led a very hard life, and no one can imitate his life!” (Apa, Aleutian word means Elder or grandfather, and it is a name indicative of the great affection in which he was held).

Our writing of the incidents in the life of the Elder deal, so to speak, with the external aspects of his labor. “His most important works,” says the Bishop Peter, “were his exercises in spiritual endeavor in his isolated cell where no one saw him, but outside the cell they heard him singing and celebrating services to God according to the monastic rule.” This witness of the Bishop is supported by the following answers of Father Herman, himself, “How do you manage to live alone in the forest, Father Herman? Don’t you ever become lonesome?” He answered, “No I am not there alone! God is here, as God is everywhere. The Holy Angels are there. With whom is it better to talk, with people, or with Angels? Most certainly with Angels.”


The way in which Father Herman looked upon the natives of America, how he understood his own relations with them, and how he was concerned for their needs he expressed himself in one of his letters to the former administrator of the colony, Simeon Yanovsky.

He wrote, “Our Creator granted to our beloved homeland this land which like a newly-born babe does not yet have the strength for knowledge or understanding. It requires not only protection, because of its infantile weakness and impotence, but also his sustenance. Even for this it does not yet have the ability to make an appeal on its own behalf. And since the welfare of this nation by the Providence of God, it is not known for how long, is dependent on and has been entrusted into the hands of the Russian government which has now been given into your own power, therefore I, the most humble servant of these people, and their nurse (nyanka) stand before you in their behalf, write this petition with tears of blood. Be our Father and our Protector. Certainly we do not know how to be eloquent, so with an inarticulate infant’s tongue we say: Wipe away the tears of the defenseless orphans, cool the hearts melting away in the fire of sorrow. Help us to know what consolation means.”

The Elder acted the way he felt. He always interceded before the governors in behalf of those who had transgressed. He defended those who had been offended. He helped those who were in need with whatever means he had available. The Aleuts, men, women and children, often visited him. Some asked for advice, others complained of oppression, others sought out defense, and still others desired help. Each one received the greatest possible satisfaction from the Elder. He discussed their mutual difficulties, and he tried to settle these peacefully. He was especially concerned about reestablishing understanding in families. If he did not succeed in reconciling a husband and wife, the Elder prevailed upon them to separate temporarily. The need for such a procedure he explained thus, “it is better to let them live apart, or believe me, it can be terrible if they are not separated. There have been incidents when a husband killed his wife, or when a wife destroyed her husband.”

Father Herman especially loved children. He made large quantities of biscuits for them, and he baked cookies (krendelki) for them; and the children were fond of the Elder. Father Herman’s love for the Aleuts reached the point of self-denial.


A ship from the United States brought to Sitka Island, and from there to Kodiak Island, a contagious disease, a fatal illness. It began with a fever, a heavy cold, and difficult respiration, and it ended with chills; in three days the victim died. On the island there was neither a doctor nor medicine. The illness spread rapidly through the village, and then throughout the nearby areas. The disease affected all, even infants. The fatalities were so great that for three days there was no one to dig graves, and the bodies remained unburied. An eyewitness said, “I cannot imagine anything more tragic and horrible than the sight which struck me when I visited an Aleutian ‘Kazhim’. This was a large building, or barracks, with dividing sections, in which the Aleuts lived with their families; it contained about 100 people. Here some had died, their cold bodies lay near the living; others were dying; there were groans and weeping which tore at one’s soul.”

“I saw mothers over whose bodies cold in death crawled a hungry child, crying and searching in vain for its food…My heart was bursting with compassion! It seemed that if anyone could paint with a worthy brush the full horror of this tragic scene, that he would have successfully aroused fear of death in the most embittered heart.” Father Herman, during this terrible sickness which lasted a whole month, gradually dying out towards the end, visited the sick, never tiring. He admonished them in their fear, prayed, brought them to penance, or prepared them for death. He never spared himself.


The Elder was concerned in particular for the moral growth of the Aleuts. With this end in mind a school was built for children-the orphans of the Aleuts. He himself taught them the Law of God and church music. For this same purpose he gathered the Aleuts on Sunday and Holy Days for prayer in the chapel near his cell. Here his disciple read the Hours and the various prayers while the Elder himself read the Epistle and Gospel. He also preached to them. His students sang, and they sang very well. The Aleuts loved to hear his sermons, gathering around him in large numbers. The Elder’s talks were captivating, and his listeners were moved by their wonderous power. He himself writes of one example of the beneficial results of his words.

“Glory to the holy destinies of the Merciful God! He has shown me now through his unfathomable Providence a new occurence which I, who have lived here for twenty years had never seen before on Kodiak. Recently after Easter, a young girl about twenty years of age who knows Russian well, came to me. Having heard of the Incarnation of the Son of God and of Eternal Life, she became so inflamed with love for Jesus Christ that she does not wish to leave me. She pleaded eloquently with me. Contrary to my personal inclination and love for solitude, and despite all the hindrances and difficulties which I put forward before accepting her, she has now been living near the school for a month and is not lonesome.”

“I, looking on this with great wonder, remembered the ‘words of the Savior: that which is hidden from the wise and learned is revealed to babes.” (Matt. 11:25)

This woman lived at the school until the death of the Elder. She watched for the good conduct of the children who studied in his school. Father Herman willed that after his death she was to continue to live on Spruce Island. Her name was Sophia Vlasova.

Yanovsky writes about the character and the eloquence of the talks of the Elder thus:

“When I met Father Herman I was thirty years old. I must say that I was educated in the naval corps school; that I knew many sciences having read extensively. But to my regret, the Science of sciences, that is the Law of God, I barely remembered the externals—and these only theoretically, not applying them to life. I was a Christian in name only, but in my soul and in reality, I was a freethinker. Furthermore, I did not admit the divinity and holiness of our religion, for I had read through many atheistic works. Father Herman recognized this immediately and he desired to reconvert me. To my great surprise he spoke so convincingly, wisely—and he argued with such conviction- that it seemed to me that no learning or worldly wisdom could stand one’s ground before his words. We conversed with him daily until midnight, and even later, of God’s love, of eternity, of the salvation of souls, and of Christian living. From his lips flowed a ceaseless stream of sweet words! By these continual talks and by the prayers of the holy Elder the Lord returned me completely to the way of Truth, and I became a real Christian. I am indebted for all this to Father Herman he is my true benefactor.”

“Several years ago,” continues Yanovsky, “Father Herman converted a certain naval captain G. to Orthodoxy from the Lutheran Faith. This captain was well educated. Besides many sciences, he was well versed in languages. He knew Russian, English, German, French, Italian and also some Spanish. But for all this he could not resist the convictions and proofs of Father Herman. He changed his faith and was united to the Orthodox Church through Chrismation. When he was leaving America, the Elder said to him while they were parting, “Be on guard, if the Lord should take your wife from you then do not marry a German woman under any circumstance. If you do marry a German woman, undoubtedly she will damage your Orthodoxy.” The Captain gave his word, but he failed to keep it. The warning of the Elder was prophetic. Indeed, after several years the Captain’s wife did die, and he married a German woman. There is no doubt that his faith weakened or that he left it; for he died suddenly without penance.”

Further on Yanovsky writes, “Once the Elder was invited aboard a frigate which came from St Petersburg. The Captain of the frigate was a highly educated man, who had been sent to America by order of the Emperor to make an inspection of all the colonies. There were more than twenty-five officers with the Captain, and they also were educated men. In the company of this group sat a monk of a hermitage, small in stature and wearing very old clothes. All these educated conversationalists were placed in such a position by his wise talks that they did not know how to answer him. The Captain himself used to say, ‘We were lost for an answer before him.’

“Father Herman gave them all one general question: ‘Gentlemen, What do you love above all, and what will each of you wish for your happiness?’ Various answers were offered … Some desired wealth, others glory, some a beautiful wife, and still others a beautiful ship he would captain; and so forth in the same vein. ‘It is not true,’ Father Herman said to them concerning this, ‘that all your various wishes can bring us to one conclusion—that each of you desires that which in his own understanding he considers the best, and which is most worthy of his love?’ They all answered, ‘Yes, that is so!’ He then continued, ‘Would you not say, Is not that which is best, above all, and surpassing all, and that which by preference is most worthy of love, the Very Lord, our Jesus Christ, who created us, adorned us with such ideals, gave life to all, sustains everything, nurtures and loves all, who is Himself Love and most beautiful of all men? Should we not then love God above every thing, desire Him more than anything, and search Him out?’ ”

All said, “Why, yes! That’s self-evident!” Then the Elder asked, “But do you love God?” They all answered, “Certainly, we love God. How can we not love God?” “And I a sinner have been trying for more than forty years to love God, I cannot say that I love Him completely,” Father Herman protested to them. He then began to demonstrate to them the way in which we should love God. “if we love someone,” he said, “we always remember them; we try to please them. Day and night our heart is concerned with the subject. Is that the way you gentlemen love God? Do you turn to Him often? Do you always remember Him? Do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?” They had to admit that they had not! “For our own good, and for our own fortune,” concluded the Elder, “let us at least promise ourselves that from this very minute we will try to love God more than anything and to fulfill His Holy Will!” Without any doubt this conversation was imprinted in the hearts of the listeners for the rest of their lives.

“in general, Father Herman liked to talk of eternity, of salvation of the future life, of our destinies under God. He often talked on the lives of the Saints, on the Prologue, but he never spoke about anything frivolous. It was so pleasant to hear him that those who conversed with him, the Aleuts and their wives, were so captivated by his talks that often they did not leave him until dawn, and then they left him with reluctance;” thus witnesses the creole, Constantine Larionov.


Yanovsky writes a detailed description of Father Herman. “I have a vivid memory,” he said, “Of all the features of the Elder’s face reflecting goodness; his pleasant smile, his meek and attractive mien, his humble and quiet behavior, and his gracious word. He was short of stature. His face was pale and covered with wrinkles. His eyes were greyish-blue, full of sparkle, and on his head there were a few gray hairs. His voice was not powerful, but it was very pleasant.” Yanovsky relates two incidents from his conversations with the Elder. “Once,” he writes, “I read to Father Herman the ode, ‘God,’ by Derzhavin. The Elder was surprised, and entranced. He asked me to read it again. I read it once more, “Is it possible that a simple, educated man wrote this?” he asked. “Yes, a learned poet,” I answered. “This has been written under God’s inspiration,” said the Elder.


“On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But this Aleut would not agree under any circumstances, saying, ‘We are Christians.’ The Jesuits protested, ‘That’s not true; you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you.’ Then the Aleuts were placed in cells until evening; two to a cell. At night the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. They began to persuade the Aleuts in the cell once again to accept the Catholic Faith. ‘We are Christians,’ was the answer of the Aleuts, ‘and we will not change our Faith.’ Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was the witness. They cut the toes off his feet, first one joint and then the other joint. And then they cut the first joint on the fingers of the hands, and then the other joint. Afterwards they cut off his feet, and his hands; the blood flowed. The martyr endured all and steadfastly insisted on one thing: “I am a Christian.’ In such suffering, he bled to death. The Jesuit promised to torture to death his comrades also on the next day.

But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were dispatched to Monterey with the exception of the martyred Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who was the comrade of the tortured Aleut. Afterwards he escaped from imprisonment, and I reported this incident to the supreme authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, ‘And how did they call the martyred Aleut?’ I answered, ‘Peter; I do not remember his family name.’ The Elder stood up before an icon reverently, made the sign of the Cross and pronounced, “Holy newly-martyred Peter, pray to God for usl”


In order to express the spirit of Father Herman’s teaching, we present here a quotation from a letter that was written by his own hand.

“The empty years of these desires separate us from our heavenly homeland, and our Love for these desires and our habits clothe us, as it were, in an odious dress; it is called by the Apostle ‘the external (earthy) man.’ (I Cor. 15:47). We who are wanderers in the journey of this life call to God for aid. We must divest ourselves of this repulsiveness, and put on new desires, and a new love for the coming age. Thus, through this we will know either an attraction or a repulsion for the heavenly homeland. It is possible to do this quickly, but we must follow the example of the sick, who wishing for desired health, do not stop searching for means of curing themselves. But I am not speaking clearly.”

Not desiring anything for himself in life; long ago when he first came to America having refused, because of his humility, the dignity of hiero-monk and archimandrite; and deciding to remain forever a common monk, Father Herman, without the least fear before the, powerful, strove with all sincerity for God. With gentle love, and disregarding the person, he criticized many for intemperate living, for unworthy behavior, and for oppressing the Aleuts. Evil armed itself against him and gave him all sorts of trouble and sorrow. But God protected the Elder. The Administrator of the Colony, Yanovsky, not having yet seen Father Herman, after receiving one of those complaints, had already written to St Petersburg of the necessity of his removal. He explained that it seemed that he was arousing the Aleuts against the administration. But this accusation turned out to be unjust, and in the end Yanovsky was numbered among the admirers of Father Herman.

Once an inspector came to Spruce Island with the Administrator of the Colony N. and with company employees to search through Father Herman’s call.

This party expected to find property of great value in Father Herman’s call. But when they found nothing of value, an employee (of the American Company), Ponomarkhov, began to tear up the floor with an axe, undoubtedly with the consent of his seniors. Then Father Herman said to him, “My friend, you have lifted the axe in vain; this weapon shall deprive you of your life.” Some time later people were needed at Fort Nicholas, and for that reason several Russian employees were sent there from Kodiak; among them was Ponomarkhov; there the natives of Kenai cut off his head while he slept.


Many great sorrows were borne by Father Herman from evil spirits. He himself revealed this to his disciple, Gerasim. Once when he entered Father Herman’s cell without the usual prayer he received no answer from Father Herman to any of his questions. The next day Gerasim asked him the reason for his silence. On that occasion Father Herman said to him, “When I came to this island and settled in this hermitage the evil spirits approached me ostensibly to be helpful. They came in the form of a man, and in the form of animals. I suffered much from them; from various afflictions and temptations. And that is why I do not speak now to anyone who enters into my presence without prayer.” (It is customary among devout laymen, as well as clergy, to say out loud a prayer, and upon hearing a response ending with Amen, to enter and go to the icon in the room to reverence it, and to say a prayer before greeting the host).


Herman dedicated himself fully for the Lord’s service; he strove with zeal solely for the glorification of His Most Holy Name. Far from his homeland in the midst of a variety of afflictions and privations Father Herman spent several decades performing the noblest deeds of self-sacrifice. He was privileged to receive many supernatural gifts from God.

In the midst of Spruce Island down the hill flows a little stream into the sea. The mouth of this stream was always swept by surf. In the spring when the brook fish appeared the Elder raked away some of the sand at its mouth so that the fish could enter, and at their first appearance they rushed up the stream. His disciple, lgnaty, said, “it was so that if ‘Apa’ would tell me, I would go and get fish in the streaml” Father Herman fed the birds with dried fish, and they would gather in great numbers around his call. Underneath his cell there lived an ermine. This little animal can not be approached when it has had its young, but the Elder fed it from his own hand. “Was not this a miracle that we had seen?” said his disciple, Ignaty. They also saw Father Herman feeding bears. But when Father Herman died the birds and animals left; even the garden would not give any sort of crops even though someone had willingly taken care of it, Ignaty insisted.

On Spruce Island there once occurred a flood. The inhabitants came to the Elder in great fear. Father Herman then took an icon of the Mother of God from the home where his students lived, and placed it on a “laida” (a sandy bank) and began to pray. After his After his prayer he turned to those present and said,“Have no fear, the water will not go any higher than the place where this holy icon stands.” The words of the Elder were fulfilled. After this he promised the same aid from this holy icon in the future, through the intercessions of the Most Immaculate Queen. He entrusted the icon to his disciple Sophia; in case of future floods the icon was to be placed on the “laida.” This icon is preserved on the island to this day.

At the request of the Elder, Baron F. P. Wrangel wrote a letter to a Metropolitan (his name is not known) which was dictated by Father Herman. When the letter was completed and read, the Elder congratulated the Baron upon his attaining the rank of admiral. The Baron was taken aback. This was news to him. It was confirmed, but only after an elapse of some time, and just before he departed for St. Petersburg.

Father Herman said to the administrator Kashevarov, from whom he accepted his son from the font (during the Sacrament of Baptism), “I am sorry for you, my dear ’kum.’ It’s a shame; the change will be unpleasant for you.” In two years, during a change of administration Kashevarov was sent to Sitka in chains.

Once, the forest on Spruce Island caught fire. The Elder, with his disciple Ignaty, in a thicket of the forest made a belt about a yard wide in which they turned over the moss. They extended it to the foot of the hill. The Elder said, “Rest assured, the fire will not pass this line.” On the next day, according to the testimony of Ignaty, there was no hope of salvation (from the fire) and the fire, pushed by a strong wind, reached the place where the moss had been turned over by the Elder. The fire ran over the moss and halted, leaving untouched the thick forest which was beyond the line.

The Elder often said that there would be a Bishop for America; this at a time when no one even thought of it, and there was no hope that there would be a Bishop for America. This was related by Bishop Peter, and his prophecy was fulfilled in time.

“After my death,” said Father Herman, “there will be an epidemic, many people shall die during it, and the Russians shall unite the Aleuts.” And so it happened. It seems that about a half a year after his passing, there was a smallpox epidemic; the death rate in America during the epidemic was tremendous. In some villages, only a few inhabitants remained alive. This led the administration of the colony to unite the Aleuts; the twelve settlements were consolidated into seven.

“Although a long time shall elapse after my death, I will not be forgotten” said Father Herman to his disciples. “My place of habitation will not remain empty. A monk like me, who will be escaping from the glory of men, will come and he will live on Spruce Island, and Spruce Island will not be without people.” (This prophecy has now been fulfilled in its entirety. Just such a monk as Father Herman described lived on Spruce Island for many years; his name was Archimandrite Gerasim, who died on October 13, 1969. This monk took on himself the responsibility of taking care of the Chapel under which the Elder Herman was first buried. Metropolitan Leonty, soon after his elevation to the primacy of the Russian Orthodox Church in America, made a pilgrimage to Spruce Island, and the grave of Herman.


The Creole Constantine, when he was not more than twelve years old, was asked by Father Herman, “My beloved one, what do you think; this chapel which they are building now, will it ever stand empty?” The youngster answered, “I do not know, Apa.” “Indeed,” said Constantine, “I did not understand his question at that time, even though the whole conversation with the Elder remains vivid in my memory.” The Elder remained silent for some time, and then said, “My child, remember, in time there will be a monastery in this place.”

Father Herman said to his disciple the Aleut Ignaty Aligyaga, “ Thirty years shall pass after my death, and all those living on Spruce Island will have died, but you alone will remain alive. You will be old and poor when I will be remembered.” And indeed after the death of Father Herman thirty years passed when they were reminded of him, and they began to gather information and facts about him; on the basis of which his Life was written. “ It is amazing,” exclaims Ignaty, “ how a man like us could know all this so long before it happened! However, no, he was no ordinary man! He knew our thoughts, and involuntarily he led us to the point where we revealed them to him, and we received counsel from him.”

“When I die,” the Elder said to his disciple, “you will bury me alongside Father Joasaph. You will bury me by yourself, for you will not wait for the priest. Do not wash my body. Lay it on a board. Clasp my hands over my chest, wrap me in my mantia (the monk’s outer cloak), and with its wings cover my face and place the klobuk (monastic head covering) on my head. If anyone wishes to bid farewell to me, let them kiss the Cross. Do not show my face to anyone….”


The time of the Elder’s passing had come. One day he ordered his disciple Gerasim to light a candle before the Icons, and to read the Acts of the Holy Apostles. After some time his face glowed brightly and he said in a loud voice, “Glory to Thee, O Lord!” He then ordered the reading to be halted, and he announced that the Lord had willed that his life would now be spared for another week. A week later, again by his orders, candles were lit, and the Acts of the Holy Apostles were read. Quietly, the Elder bowed his head on Gerasim’s chest; the cell was filled with a sweet-smelling odor; and his face glowed, and Father Herman was no more! Thus he died in blessedness, he passed away in the sleep of a righteous man in the eighty-first year of his life of great labor the 25th day of December 1837. (It was the 13th of December according to the Julian Calendar, although there are some records which state that he died on November 28th and was buried on December 26th).

Those sent with the sad news to the harbor returned to announce that the administrator of the colony Kashevarov had forbidden the burial of the Elder until his own arrival. He also ordered that a finer coffin be made for Father Herman, and that he would come as soon as possible and would bring a priest with him. But then a great wind came up, a rain fell, and a terrible storm broke. The distance from the harbor to Spruce Island is not great — about a two hour journey — but no one would agree to go to sea in such weather. Thus it continued for a full month, and although the body lay in state for a full month in the warm house of his students, his face did not undergo any change at all, and not the slightest odor emanated from his body. Finally, through the efforts of Kuzma Uchilischev, a coffin was obtained. No one arrived from the harbor, and the inhabitants of Spruce Island alone buried the remains of the Elder in the ground. Thus the words which Father Herman uttered before his death were fulfilled. After this the wind quieted down, and the surface of the sea became as smooth as a mirror.

One evening, above the village Katani (on Afognak) an unusual pillar of light which reached up to heaven was seen above Spruce Island. Astonished by the miraculous appearance, experienced elders and the Creole Gerasim Vologdin and his wife Anna said, “It seems that Father Herman has left us,” and they began to pray. After a time, they were informed that the Elder had indeed passed away that very night. This same pillar was seen in various places by others. On the night of his death a vision was seen in another of the settlements on Afognak; it seemed as though a man was rising from Spruce Island into the clouds.

The disciples buried their father, and placed a wooden memorial marker above his grave. Father Peter Kashevarov, the priest on Kodiak, says, “I saw it myself, and I can say that today it seems as though it had never been touched by time; as though it had been cut this day.”

Having witnessed the life of Father Herman glorified by his zealous labors, having seen his miracles, and the fulfillment of his predictions, finally having observed his blessed falling asleep, “in general, all the local inhabitants,” Bishop Peter witnesses, “have the highest esteem for him, as though he was a holy ascetic, and they are fully convinced that he has found favor in the presence of God.”

In 1842, five years after the passing away of the Elder, Archbishop Innocent of Kamchatka and the Aleutians, was near Kodiak on a sailing vessel which was in great distress. He looked to Spruce Island, and said to himself, “If you have found favor in God’s presence, Father Herman then may the wind change.” It seems as though not more than fifteen minutes had passed, said the bishop, when the wind became favorable, and he successfully reached the shore. In thanksgiving for being saved, Archbishop Innocent himself conducted a Memorial Service (Panikhida) over the grave of the blessed Father Herman.