The explosive growth of Orthodoxy in Guatemala




The explosive growth of Orthodoxy in Guatemala




Whenever someone speaks of “American Orthodoxy,” there is usually an unspoken understanding that the term refers to North American Orthodoxy: the United States, Canada, and sometimes Mexico. This way of speaking is indeed convenient, considering that the majority of Orthodox parishes in the Western Hemisphere are still located in North America. However, in the past few years a great change has occurred in Latin America that makes it increasingly inaccurate to focus on North America as the western outpost of Orthodoxy. Just two years ago, in 2010, the Orthodox Church received a large group of Guatemalan converts numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Now Guatemala, and possibly all of Latin America, holds tremendous promise of becoming fertile ground for the Orthodox Christian Church.

The seed of Orthodoxy in Guatemala was planted by the nuns of the Hogar Rafael Ayau, an Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala City. Many people are familiar with the incredible work of Mother Inés, Mother Ivonne, and Mother María. In fact, just this year a group of seminarians from St. Vladimir’s Seminary traveled with the seminary Chancellor/CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield to see the work of the nuns and to assist at the orphanage. It is through these nuns that the Guatemalan soil was first prepared for the Orthodox Church.

Now, with the recent chrismation of a new group of Guatemalan converts that numbers between 100,000 and 200,000, the Orthodox Church is ready to blossom in Guatemala. The magnitude of the event cannot be overstated. Almost overnight, Guatemala has become the most Orthodox country in the Western Hemisphere (by percentage of national population). Furthermore, the Orthodox communities in Guatemala continue to grow rapidly and attract attention throughout Guatemala. There is still, however, little information available to the broader Orthodox world on the history and character of these new communities. For this reason, I traveled to Guatemala this summer, spending two months visiting many of the Orthodox parishes, meeting the leaders of the communities, and accompanying the bishop of the Guatemalan Church—His Eminence, Metropolitan Athenagoras—as he made his historic first visit to the new parishes in Guatemala. I returned to the United States with the desire to share what I saw and the conviction that the Holy Spirit is at work with power in Latin America…


Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865) – The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska




Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865)

The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska

July 26


Saint Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of Alaska, was a native of the Aleutian Islands who became a priest of the Orthodox Church and continued the missionary work of St. Innocent among his and other Alaskan people. His feast day is celebrated on the day of his repose, July 26.

Father Jacob was born in 1802 on Atka Island, part of the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska. His father, Yegor Vasil’evich Netsvetov, was Russian from Tobolsk, Russia, and his mother, Maria Alekscevna, was an Aleut from Atka Island. Jacob was the eldest of four children who survived infancy. The others were Osip (Joseph), Elena, and Antony. Although not well off, Yegor and Maria did all they could to provide for their children and prepare them to live their lives. Osip and Antony were able to study at the St. Petersburg Naval Academy and then were able to become a naval officer and ship builder, respectively. Elena married a respected clerk with the Russian-American Company. Jacob chose a life with the Church and enrolled in the Irkutsk Theological Seminary.

On October 1, 1825, Jacob was tonsured a sub-deacon. He married Anna Simeonovna, a Russian woman perhaps of a Creole background as was he, and then in 1826 he graduated from the seminary with certificates in history and theology. With graduation he was ordained a deacon on October 31, 1826 and assigned to the Holy Trinity-St. Peter Church in Irkutsk. Two years later, Archbishop Michael ordained Jacob to the holy priesthood on March 4, 1828. Archbishop Michael had earlier ordained John Veniaminov (St. Innocent) to the priesthood. With his elevation to the priesthood, Father Jacob began to yearn to return to his native Alaska to preach the Word of God.

Upon departing, Archbishop Michael gave Father Jacob two antimensia, one for use in the new church that Father Jacob planned to build on Atka, and the other for use in Father Jacob’s missionary travels. After a molieben, Father Jacob and his party set off for Alaska on May 1, 1828. The travelers included Father Jacob, Anna his wife, and his father Yegor who had been tonsured reader for the new Atka Church. This journey, which was always hard, took over year to complete, which was completed on June 15, 1829.

Father Jacob’s new parish was a challenge. The Atka “parish” covered most of the islands and land surrounding the Bering Sea: Amchitka, Attu, Copper, Bering, and Kurile Islands. But, he was to meet the challenge as clothed in his Continue reading “Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska (+1865) – The evangelizer of the Yup’ik Eskimo & Athabascan peoples of Alaska”

Native Americans may become the largest ethnic group in the American Orthodox Church


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An interview with His Beatitude Jonah, Archbishop of Washington,

Metropolitan of All America and Canada



In early December of 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada (Orthodox Church of America) visited Russia to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the OCA’s representation in Moscow. Correspondent Miguel Palacio took the opportunity to talk with Metropolitan Jonah about the OCA’s presence in Latin America.

– Your Beatitude, in which Latin America countries is the Orthodox Church in America represented?

– Our jurisdiction extends to Mexico. We used to have parishes in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela as well, but one of them joined the Russian Church Abroad, while others simply closed.

Several communities in Latin America want to join the American Orthodox Church. We would be happy to receive these faithful people, but there would be no one to take care of them because we have very few clergymen who speak Spanish or Portuguese.

One priest, who I hope will soon become a bishop, began a mission in Ecuador, in the city of Guayaquil, where there is a large Palestinian colony. Unfortunately, his good initiative has fizzled out. I have heard that many Continue reading “Native Americans may become the largest ethnic group in the American Orthodox Church”

ケイリー=ヒロユキ・タガワ – 2015年11月に彼は正統派キリスト教の洗礼を受け – 3ビデオ Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa


ケイリー=ヒロユキ・タガワ Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa




東方正教会の歴史 – 日本正教会





Saint New Martyr Jose Munoz-Cortez from Chile & Canada who martyred in Athens, Greece (+1997) & the miracle Hawaii’s Icon of Holy Virgin Mary ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* From Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy


Saint New Martyr Jose Munoz-Cortez

from Chile & Canada who martyred in Athens, Greece (+1997)

& the miracle Hawaii’s Icon of Holy Virgin Mary


From Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy

Saint Jose (Joseph) Muñoz-Cortes (a privately tonsure monk Ambrose; 13 May 1948, Santiago, Chile – 30/31 October 1997, Athens, Greece) was an Orthodox clergyman, the keeper of the Iveron Icon of Montreal.

Jose was born in Chile into a pious Roman Catholic family of Spanish descent. He was a boy of twelve when he became acquainted with Archbishop Leontius (Filippovich) and under his influence José was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia two years later, with his mother’s consent.

A talented artist, he secured a job teaching art at the University of Montreal, and began studying iconography. In the summer of 1982, Brother Joseph went to Mount Athos with a particular interest in visiting some sketes and monasteries specializing in icon painting.

At the small skete of the Nativity of Christ, Brother Joseph felt an immediate and strong attraction for an icon of the Mother of God, a contemporary (1981) copy of the ancient and revered Iveron Icon. He was disappointed to learn that it was not for sale, but to his great joy, as he was leaving the skete, Abbot Clement, unexpectedly handed the icon to him, saying that it pleased the Mother of God to go with him to America. Back in Montreal, Brother Joseph began reading an akathist daily before the icon. A few weeks later, on November 25, he awoke and smelled a strong fragrance. The new icon was streaked with myrrh, miraculously emanating from the hands of the Mother of God.

For the next fifteen years, as myrrh continued to flow from the Icon, Brother Joseph devoted himself to its care, accompanying it on numerous trips to parishes all over the United States and Canada, to South America, Australia, and Europe. Brother Joseph was also faithful in fulfilling the countless requests for prayers that he received, daily commemorating scores of people, among whom were several dozen godchildren. Jose was tortured and murdered in an hotel room in Athens, Greece on the night of October 30 or 31st, 1997, and the icon has not been seen since. He had planned to return to Canada the following day to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the appearance of the miraculous myrrh on the icon.

Source: Wikipedia




Афонский монах Ефрем (Мораитис) впервые приехал в Америку в 1972 году по приглашению своих духовных чад. Он беседовал с людьми, наставлял, утешал, проповедовал… Почувствовав потребность американцев в живом слове Евангелия и их искание настоящей духовной жизни, старец Ефрем начал свою миссионерскую деятельность. Один за другим он открыл девятнадцать православных монастырей, мужских и женских, в разных регионах США и Канады: Нью-Йорке, Техасе, Флориде, Вашингтоне, Южной Каролине, Пенсильвании, Иллинойсе, Калифорнии, Мичигане, Монреале и Торонто.

Первый его монастырь, обитель святого Антония, был основан в 1995 году в безводной и засушливой пустыне в Аризоне. Жилищем старца Ефрема и его учеников были четыре трейлера. Сегодня монастырь – это цветущий оазис, по числу посетителей обитель святого Антония находится на втором месте в штате Аризона, лишь немного уступая Великому Каньону. Старец Ефрем и сейчас живет в этом монастыре и служит духовным наставником для тысяч мирян, которые приезжают в Аризону со всех уголков планеты.

Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana La mia conversione all’Ortodossia╰⊰¸¸.•¨* San Martire Vescovo Paul Ballester Convalier in Messico dalla Spagna (Ex monaco Catolico)






San Martire Vescovo Paul Ballester Convalier

in Messico dalla Spagna (Ex monaco Catolico)


Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana

La mia conversione all’Ortodossia



Una eccezionale testimonianza storica del cammino verso la riscoperta della Fede Ortodossa e delle difficoltà che tale scelta poteva implicare negli anni ’50 del secolo scorso. Lo propongo ai lettori esattamente come scritto nella copia in mio possesso. E’ un testo lungo, ma si legge con piacere.

* * * * *

Di Paul Fr. Ballester Convalier – Atene 1954. Traduzione dal greco dell’Archimandrita Benedictos Katsanevakis, Napoli – presso la chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo dei nazionali Elleni, 1955.

Al nascente movimento ortodosso italiano dedico

Invece di premessa

Nell’ottobre dell’anno scorso 1954 è sorto a Catania ed a Firenze, promosso da Italiani di puro sangue, un movimento che mira non ad un Cattolicesimo riformato, ma addirittura ad un ritorno completo e sincero alle origini, cioè alla genuina Chiesa Cristiana esistente prima del funesto grande scisma tra Oriente ed Occidente consumato dal Papa Urbano II nell’anno 1098 nel Sinodo di Bari da lui ivi convocato. I pionieri di tale movimento hanno trovato tale Chiesa primitiva nella Chiesa Ortodossa Cristiana che è infatti l’unica genuina continuatrice della Chiesa fondata da Gesù Cristo e divulgata dai SS. Apostoli.

È molto commovente il fatto che proprio in quest’anno che è il novecentesimo dagli inizi dei primi aperti contrasti ecclesiastici tra Occidente e Oriente, che condussero poi all’anzidetta separazione definitiva dell’anno 1098, ha inizio con il movimento Ortodosso italiano in parola, il ritorno alla retta dottrina di Cristo dei popoli Occidentali trascinati allo scisma. Il detto movimento Ortodosso italiano, pur giovanissimo e recentissimo, conta già in Catania ed in Firenze due Vescovi, quattro presbiteri, un diacono e circa duecento aderenti e moltissimi simpatizzanti.

Ora, il molto Rev. Paul Fr. Ballester Convalier ex Frate Francescano in Spagna – ora Presbitero Ortodosso – abbandonò anch’egli il Cattolicesimo Romano e scrisse poi in greco un opuscolo intitolato “La mia conversione all’Ortodossia” in cui espone con molta chiarezza il dramma della sua anima a tale riguardo. Egli spirito studioso, occasionalmente veniva messo in seri dubbi circa la verità di alcune dottrine fondamentali della Chiesa Romana a cui apparteneva ed ha cercato sinceramente e ad ogni costo e sacrificio di arrivare al fondo della questione. Ed è riuscito a trovarne, da solo, l’uscita dal cieco vicolo in cui inconsciamente si trovava. Il dramma spirituale esposto dal Rev. Convalier è, senza dubbio, il dramma di numerosissime altre anime incapaci di trovare l’uscita dal cieco vicolo. Per venire incontro a tale stato e specialmente a tutti i simpatizzanti del suddetto «Movimento Ortodosso italiano» sentiamo il dovere di presentare in debita traduzione il su riferito documento del Rev. Convalier, sostituendo il titolo originale: “La mia conversione all’Ortodossia” con quello: “Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana”, come più adatto al contenuto e come più comprensibile ai lettori in Italia. Siamo convinti che finché l’Europa Occidentale e Centrale non sarà rieducata alla retta fede cristiana, direi riortodossata, studi sì fatti non saranno mai inutili.

Infine ringrazio il mio carissimo figlio in Cristo Sig. Augusto Scrino dell’aiuto letterario prestatomi per la sollecita traduzione del presente.

Napoli, 25 Marzo 1955.

Festa dell’Annunziazione di M. V.

† Archimandrita Benedictos Katsanevakis

* * * * *

Due parole al lettore

Non è scopo di queste pagine una personale giustificazione della conversione dell’autore all’Ortodossia, ma esse, costituiscono una testimonianza apologetica, commovente e riconoscente della purezza della fede e dell’arditezza del suo insegnamento. L’originalità del presente studio, non consiste precisamente nel tema, per il quale sono già state scritte innumerevoli opere teoriche sotto ogni punto di vista ecclesiastico, ma nella maniera originale con cui esso viene svolto. Padre Ballester non si è Continue reading “Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana La mia conversione all’Ortodossia╰⊰¸¸.•¨* San Martire Vescovo Paul Ballester Convalier in Messico dalla Spagna (Ex monaco Catolico)”

Predigt über die Gnade des Schächers – Hl. Johannes Maximowitsch (+1966)




Hl. Johannes Maximowitsch


Predigt über die Gnade des Schächers

Hl. Johannes Maximowitsch (+1966)



“Einer der gehängten Verbrecher lästerte Ihn und sagte: «Bist Du nicht der Messias? Dann hilf Dir selbst und uns!» Der andere aber wies ihn zurecht und sagte: «Hast du nicht einmal Furcht vor Gott, der du das gleiche Gericht erleidest? Wir leiden zu Recht, denn wir empfangen, was unsere Taten verdienen: Dieser aber hat nichts Unrechtes getan. Und er sprach zu Jesus: «Gedenke meiner, wenn Du in Dein Reich kommst!» Er erwiderte ihm: «Wahrlich, ich sage dir, heute noch wirst du mit mir im Paradiese sein!” (Luk 23,39-43)

So berichtet der heilige Evangelist Lukas über die Bekehrung und Begnadigung des Schächers durch Christus, der neben Ihm am Kreuz auf Golgatha gehängt wurde.

Womit hat sich der Schächer eine solche Gnade erworben? Wie bewirkte er eine so schnelle und entschiedene Antwort des Herrn? In der Hölle befanden sich noch alle alttestamentlichen Gerechten, einschließlich des Heiligen Johannes des Vorläufers. In die Hölle zu gehen bereitete sich der Herr selbst vor, natürlich nicht , um dort zu leiden, sondern um die dort Gefangenen herauszuführen.

Noch keinem hatte der Herr bisher verkündet, ihn in das Himmelreich zu führen, selbst den Aposteln verkündete Er nur, daß Er sie in Seine Wohnungen aufnehmen werde, wenn sie bereitet sind. Weshalb erlangte der Schächer vor allen anderen die Gnade? Warum öffneten sich ihm so rasch die Tore des Paradieses? Versetzen wir uns in den Seelenzustand des Schächers und in die ihn umgebende Lage. Sein ganzes Leben verbrachte er mit Raub und Verbrechen. Aber anscheinend starb in ihm nicht das Gewissen und in der Tiefe seiner Seele blieb etwas Gutes. Die Überlieferung sagt sogar, daß er eben jener Räuber war, dem zur Zeit der Flucht Christi nach Ägypten das wunderschöne Kind leid tat, so daß er nicht zuließ, daß Es seine Genossen töteten, die zusammen mit ihm die nach Ägypten fliehende Familie überfallen hatten. Erinnerte er sich nun vielleicht, als er das Antlitz des Allerhöchsten neben sich am Kreuz betrachtete? Aber sei es so gewesen oder auch nicht, auf alle Fälle weckte der Anblick Christi des Schächers Gewissen. Er hing jetzt neben einem Gerechten “dem Schönsten und Besten aller Menschensöhne”, welcher zu diesem Zeitpunkt “ohne Ansehen und kleiner als alle Menschensöhne” war, Der weder Gestalt noch Ansehen hatte” (Jesaja). Auf Ihn schauend kam der Schächer im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes wie aus einem Tiefschlaf wieder zur Besinnung. Er erkannte deutlich den Unterschied zwischen Ihm und sich selbst . Dieser ist zweifellos ein Gerechter, der sogar Seinen Folterern verzeiht und für sie zu Gott betet, Welchen Er als Seinen Vater bezeichnet. Und er, ein mehrfacher Mörder, der das Blut vieler Menschen vergossen hat, die ihm nichts Böses getan hatten. Indem er auf Den am Kreuz Hängenden blickte, erkannte er tatsächlich im Spiegel seinen Continue reading “Predigt über die Gnade des Schächers – Hl. Johannes Maximowitsch (+1966)”