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The orthodox missionary among the locals


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#1 Victor V.

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 09:42 AM

Hello everyone
I found this article on Pravoslavie.ru. I was intrigued by this paragraph:

On our way from Israel, we stopped in the Swiss town of Shambezi [not far from Geneva], where we visited Metropolitan Damaskenos Papandreu of Switzerland (Church 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).

I'm just wondering, why the Ancient Patriarchate are so less interested regard the local population. Why you need 10 years to be accepted by the church? Why we do not do missionary work much intense among the native populations. Unfortunately it is not the only case when the locals who wants to become orthodoxs, are ignored by the priests, especially in Latin America

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 12:51 PM

victor,

In partial answer to your question, look at the dates when this was all taking place. It was not yesterday or last year - it was in 1986. The Soviet Union was still going strong, and thus the Russian Church was not able to reach out to its own people, let alone to establish missions in other countries. Antioch was a very small community at that time, only established to serve the Arab diaspora (they did not really find their "missionary" identity until much later with the influx and integration of the EOC in the US.) I don't know that the Greeks have ever really moved outside of their mission in the diaspora of caring for the Greek community - why that is, is beyond my competency.

In 1986, there was at least one other major Orthodox convent/Orphanage in South America (in Santiago) and the Abbess, M. Juliana, was a very strong, outspoken personality. If the Guatemalan nuns had contacted that convent for assistance, it might have been a different story. I don't know. In reading the article with your questions in mind, I find that there are far to many missing details and unanswered questions to provide an accurate picture of what happened and why. I do not think that the situation at that time is the same as it is today. There are many new missionary efforts by all the major national Churches in the diaspora, not only in Latin America but in other parts of the world as well.

Fr David Moser

#3 Nina

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:18 PM

I don't know that the Greeks have ever really moved outside of their mission in the diaspora of caring for the Greek community - why that is, is beyond my competency.
Fr David Moser


Orthodox Christian Mission Center which does missions in USA (esp. Alaska), and all over the world was started and is funded by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Greek-American Orthodox belivers. We also have an orphanage in Guatemala which is supported by churches of GOARCH.

#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:52 PM

Orthodox Christian Mission Center which does missions in USA (esp. Alaska), and all over the world was started and is funded by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Greek-American Orthodox belivers. We also have an orphanage in Guatemala which is supported by churches of GOARCH.


I stand corrected - thank you Nina

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:53 PM

Orthodox Christian Mission Center which does missions in USA (esp. Alaska), and all over the world was started and is funded by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Greek-American Orthodox belivers. We also have an orphanage in Guatemala which is supported by churches of GOARCH.


What would become the OCMC definitely started as a Lenten project in a Greek Church to support mission work in Africa, Mexico, and Korea. It grew within the GOA as the Missions Committee and later became a Missions Center in Florida until Archbishop Iakovos put it under SCOBA and it officially became OCMC, which now enjoys the support of Orthodox Christians of all SCOBA jurisdictions.

There was also an interesting experiment attempted by the Greeks to evangelize the American black community in the early part of the 20th century. It did not succeed here but there is interesting evidence to suggest it helped create the Orthodox Church in Uganda and Kenya.

Herman the historical Pooh

#6 Nina

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:08 PM

What would become the OCMC definitely started as a Lenten project in a Greek Church to support mission work in Africa, Mexico, and Korea. It grew within the GOA as the Missions Committee and later became a Missions Center in Florida until Archbishop Iakovos put it under SCOBA and it officially became OCMC, which now enjoys the support of Orthodox Christians of all SCOBA jurisdictions.

Herman the historical Pooh


It is mainly financially supported by the GOARCH churches and GA Orthodox. And GOARCH churches are very active in raising funds for these missions and sending always groups for the missions even from the simple parishioners and they try to spread awareness constantly in the parish level. There are missionaries from all Orthodox jurisdictions of US participating in missions though because as you said former GOARCH Archbishop included all Orthodox jurisdictions here. Which is great I think.

The OCMC new building was just inaugurated these past weeks in FL and it is named after Archbishop Dimitrios of GOARCH, and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania. The latter is a well known Greek Orthodox (not from US) missionary who has spent his years in missions in Africa and Albania.

P.S Dear Father David, you did not know and I am no one to correct you. Please forgive me but I just wanted to write what is usually not publicized about the GOs in US.

#7 Ryan

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:25 PM

I've also heard that the Greek Archdiocese has a church for Korean-Americans (in Atlanta, Georgia, I think).

#8 Barbara J.

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 07:21 PM

Hello everyone
I found this article on Pravoslavie.ru. I was intrigued by this paragraph:

I'm just wondering, why the Ancient Patriarchate are so less interested regard the local population. Why you need 10 years to be accepted by the church? Why we do not do missionary work much intense among the native populations. Unfortunately it is not the only case when the locals who wants to become orthodoxs, are ignored by the priests, especially in Latin America

Greetings, Victor V.,

Your comment opens up a real kettle of worms for me!
Our ethnically American group was introduced to the Orthodox church through the St. Herman of Alaska brotherhood of Platina, CA. in 1986. We received a loving and welcoming introduction to the Church through them.

When my family's circumstances forced us to join a local ethnically oriented parish we began a trial by fire.
I must say that it crystalized a real love for the Church Triumphant in me!
I found my true fellowship with the saints of the church through hagiography.

I, also, learned that the most important questions to ask oneself about whether to stay in a church community are:
Can I worship God here? Do I find the Lord present in communion in this church?
If the answer to those questions is "yes" then there is no reason to leave it regardless of whether you are accepted by the majority of the congregation or not!


I have been embraced by some loving individuals in my parish over the last 18 years. However it has been made painfully clear to me throughout the years, that, in many parishioner's eyes, I will never be a true member of my parish because I am not of their ethnic origin.
My youngest son was raised from birth in this parish and TO THIS DAY feels treated like an outsider by many church members.

Our family has spent a great deal of time over the years visiting monasteries and developing relationships in those settings.
This has helped us.
I have found my father confessor in a fellow convert who serves at a parish to which I do not belong!

Many of my fellow converts have had excrutiatingly painful experiences in ethnically oriented churches. I know of one family who left Orthodoxy all together because of the prejudice they experienced over a period of TEN YEARS as members of an ethnic parish.

Well, this post may appear to reflect a real antipathy for my parish but the reverse is true. I have learned to continue to love where I am not loved. I have, also, found many close friends within my parish.

It is the chief miracle of my life that the Lord has led me to the Orthodox church.

I consider it an absolute honour and privilege to be a member of the True Church.

I guess I just needed to express this! I have never put these thoughts down in writing before.

If anyone happens to read this, thanks for listening!

Most sincerely,

A grateful American convert

#9 Kusanagi

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 09:11 PM

Hello everyone
I found this article on Pravoslavie.ru. I was intrigued by this paragraph:

I'm just wondering, why the Ancient Patriarchate are so less interested regard the local population. Why you need 10 years to be accepted by the church? Why we do not do missionary work much intense among the native populations. Unfortunately it is not the only case when the locals who wants to become orthodoxs, are ignored by the priests, especially in Latin America


ah its not just Latin American countries, for eg. in Malaysia no news about starting a church there its just a small community. They need a permenant priest there to serve.

Speaking of which why don't the Romanians send missionaries to China??;)

#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 11:50 PM

Speaking of which why don't the Romanians send missionaries to China??;)


The reason would be that China is not an "extension" of the territory of the Romanian Church and no one has invited them. If anyone were to send missionaries to China, it would be either the Russian Church (extension of territory - existing Russian Orthodox presence there) or the Ecumenical Patriarch (prior claim based on the ancient "division" of the world and an existing presence.)

Some enlightenment on the ancient division of the world by the Patriarchates can be gained by listening to Bishop Basil's talk ( at the recent St Vladimir's conference (available on the Ancient Faith Radio podcast site) on "The Vision of Chalcedon Canon 28" (it is much clearer with the visual aides which are unfortunately not available in the audio recording).

Fr David Moser

#11 Victor V.

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:30 AM

Hello

@Barbara J.
I'm glad to see that you are so enthusiastic and onored to be a orthodox. Good for you.
Your story is sad. The diaspora forget to be first of all ,,catholic / universal", and not ethnical.
I remember that I read last year a story of a men from Venezuela, who was complaining about the same thing as you. He was receive with a lour faces by the church parishioner.
It is verrry frustating for me, a romanian, who was born orthodox, and i'm an orthodox.

Speaking of which why don't the Romanians send missionaries to China??;)

It is the last thing they should do!
First: There are Churchs of Russia and Constantinople. The overlap jurisdictions are not good.
Second: Outside the country borders the Patriarchate is more focused on the romanian people, diaspora, them missionary. It is not the Romanian canonical territory.
Third: I agree with Father David Moser post

God bless you all




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#12 Michael 'Anthony' Cornett

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:42 PM

One may also recall the life of Blessed Fr. Cosmas, aka the 'Apostle to Zaire'. The extensive documentation on African missions and baptism/marriage rates, mostly through Greek presence, is mind blowing.

http://www.amazon.co...33564833&sr=8-1

#13 Stephen Hayes

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:15 AM

A couple of years ago I contributed an article to a journal on the topic of diaspora and mission:

http://www.euppublis...6/swc.2010.0105

The problem is that diaspora may spread Orthodoxy throughout the world, but it is not mission, and it is not effective as a method of mission, because immigrant communities tend to be inward looking. Orthodox communities that were established primarily to minister to immigrant communities therefore tend to overlook the need for mission, and to regard it as of secondary importance.

This is a real problem in Orthodox missiology.

#14 Phoebe K.

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 12:33 PM

In the parish I attend I have been welcomed openly and there seems to be a continual flow of new members converting one or two at a time. although it is a Greek parish we have a range of other ethnicity who are orthodox who attend and a small number of English converts. There is no explicit mission from the core of the church, but those of us who converted are anything but shy in sharing our faith. Mission happens rather than being planed in our area, sometimes we just have to preach the gospel through our lives and showing the truth even if our hiarachs have their attention elsewhere.

Phoebe

#15 Stephen Hayes

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 07:04 AM

Yes, in our diocese there are some ethnic parishes that have a core of committed people who are mission minded, and who try to reach out to others. But not all such parishes do, and even when there is such a missional core, they are usually a minority.

#16 Luiz E. F. Alves

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

Unfortunately it is not the only case when the locals who wants to become orthodoxs, are ignored by the priests, especially in Latin America


I'm Brazilian Catholic intending to become orthodox and I was ignored by the priest...I think that here in my country the few orthodox churches that we have are strictly ethnic-related

#17 Kosta

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:01 PM

Personally it doesn't bother me that we are not mission minded. It can lead to proselytism and when groups are brought in many times it leads to unforeseen problems. The GOARCH is the largest and fastest growing jurisdiction simply from interethnic marriages.

I wouldn't even know where to start in a place like south America. Syncretism is a major problem there and the canons which require to make a sharp distinction with the heterodoxy are simply not observed. Even the immediate relatives of Brother Munoz of Chile did not know he converted. It was at his funeral they found out the ROCOR was not a subdivision of the Roman Catholic Church.

#18 Dan L.

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:44 PM

Given that Christ commanded missions, I believe it is incumbent on us as Orthodox to value it. We cannot just rely on the Saints who ministered to Russia and other regions to let us slide for the next 1000 yrs. I don't agree with proselytizing other Christian groups, but preaching the Gospel to those who are not Christian is the responsibility of the Church.




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