By Katherine G. Valone
Orthodoxy in the world is alive and well, but, also in some cases suffering great persecution. This is to be expected. The Lord Jesus Christ said that His Church would suffer much and history records “The Suffering Church” that has prevailed. At this point in history it is significant to understand that the four patriarchies of the Middle East are under siege and all four Orthodox centers are facing Islamic terrorism encircling them especially in Jerusalem. But so are Alexandria (Cairo); Antioch, Syria; and Constantinople where anti-Christian forces are doing their best to eradicate the “infidels”.
Yet, a bright spot appears. We read in the quarterly of Apostoliki Diakonia “PANTA TA ETHNOI” that Orthodoxy is planting churches in Korea where they built the magnificent St. Nicholas Cathedral which looks a lot like St. Nicholas in Oak Lawn, IL. The cathedral has been renovated by funds collected from a monastery in Spetsai, which also sent numerous new icons.
This year Orthodoxy the world over is commemorating the 1600 yr. Anniversary of St. John Chrysostom (354-407AD), which will also be celebrated at Kenosha at the St. John Chrysostom Monastery. Seminars, lectures, and liturgies will abound. More to come.
Missions in Africa and Asia were listed in the same “PANTA TA ETHNOI”. I counted 405 native and missionary priests in these countries:
Give glory to God who has inspired missions to these countries. PhosAdelphia (formerly Phos Mission) has sent funds to overseas missions since 1964 when Goyans in Chicago met Anastasios Yiannoulatos a deacon who asked us to help missions. Phos Mission raised $5000 to send to him at Apostoliki Diakonia to buy a printer with which they printed the Divine Liturgy in Kikuyu and Swahili for the first time in those languages spoken in Kenya. This Deacon is now Metropolitan Anastasios of Albania who not only has revived Orthodoxy but who has drawn in thousands of former Communists into the Faith in and of Christ.
THINGS OF INTEREST
The Chicago Tribune in its World Watch section listed the European countries with the cleanest beaches. Cyprus and Greece have the cleanest beaches in all Europe according to the May 31 European Union report! I could have told them that since I taught in Greece for a year in Kifissia at the American School for Airbase children who lived in Athens. Greece is the greatest country to travel to with its climate, mountains, seas, history, and sounds in the streets. You should try it. You probably have.
However, Greece does not rank among the top 10 countries in 2005 in life expectancy, according to www.usnews.com. The countries ranked in order are Andorra, Japan, Hong Kong, Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Macau, Israel (!) and Italy. And these from the ages of 80.6 yrs. to 83.5 yrs. The US ranks 40th!
The Orthodox Christian network (OCN) is an effective media witness for the Orthodox Church. It presents 24 hours of Orthodox music and teaching through the World Wide Web. It is called “The Ark”. Direct your children and grandchildren to this great program on www, which is in your home 24 hours! Every Orthodox should encourage their children to log in especially since they often log into inappropriate programs, which are often immoral or not appropriate for those who believe in Jesus Christ. www.ocnark.com
Bravo to Helen Theodosakis, Editor of Philoptochos Focus of the Chicago Metropolis and her staff for the great job they are doing especially in the Spring, Summer, 2007 edition. If you haven’t seen it be sure to look at a copy on page 25 and 26 which contains “How Old Is the Orthodox Faith?” and page 26 called “The University Professor” . Make copies of these articles and send to your children in college and to your friends. They are great. I hope Helen will continue to use the “PF” to educate our people to appreciate our Faith. If you don’t get the periodical write to me and I will send the two articles.
Perastika to His Eminence, Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece. I love to see him on television on the “Hellenic Heartbeat” on Sunday from 3 to 6 PM on ch.48. Vicki Kournetas does a marvelous job of informing us on local and international news. I especially love the religious activities of the churches here and abroad. She has opened a new window for us. May she continue in good health. We need people like Ms. Kournetas. www.HellenicHeartbeat.com
53 Million Muslims live in Europe according to “Idea Spectrum” Jan 2007. Of course, we know that Islamic countries do not allow Christian churches to open on Islamic soil. Those Christians who are in these countries who are being persecuted are old Christian churches that existed there before the present “Jihad” that exists now. The countries with the biggest Muslim population are Indonesia with 180 million; Pakistan with 130M; India with 90M; China with 80M; Iran with 70M; Turkey with 70M; and Egypt with 60M. These 7 countries have one fourth of the world’s 1 billion Muslims!! In fact, Austria and Switzerland have more Muslims in their country than Christians that can be found living in Iran, Turkey or Libya according to Prof. Rudolf Grulich. He prepared a report for Catholic Aid ministry and he insists “Europe is being prepared as a mission field for Islam” (from “News from Israel”, June 2007). The Christian population in Muslim countries has shrunk significantly during the last 100 years, particularly in Turkey. Millions of Christians have become refugees, many were killed and some were forced to abandon their homeland. Today, only 100,000 Christians can be found in Turkey. According to Orthodox sources there are only 5000 Greek Orthodox Christians if that many left in Turkey. It was in Turkey that the seven churches of the Apocalypse were listed in the Book of Revelation chapter 1 verse 11: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
But do not be afraid. As Orthodox we must remember that everything is in the hands of God and He will protect us and when the time comes to pass He will take charge and the world age that has come to its full circle will be renewed. The earth will not be destroyed, but the world system will be changed. The Scriptures tell the children of the Triune God, that all things will be restored and He will be in charge of our eternal life. Islam will not be victorious despite its violent militancy.
In these days how many Orthodox churches are having serious study of the Book of Revelation. So many later Fathers of the Church have written about this last book of the New Testament. Their writings are available both on the Internet or in books. We have great resources that were not available decades ago. I suggest you get a copy of the catalog from Light & Life which is the largest Orthodox supplier that I know of; thanks to decades of the effort by Father Anthony Coniaris, a most prolific writer – whose books are written for lay people. Order a catalog from or fax (888) 925-3918 or visit www.light-n-life.com.Begin a life of study before it is too late.
It’s hard to believe that Professor Dr. Andrew T. Kopan, an eminent orthodox layman has left this earth a year ago. On June 24th a memorial will be prayed at the Assumption Church in Chicago. Many old friends will be in town for this event. Eternal be his memory!
Georgia Godellas , the sister of Helen Angelopoulos has also gone to be with the Lord after years of suffering. Helen, you will remember, was the previous editor of the Greek Press. Eternal be her memory.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!