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Mother Magdalena, PA, USA: In Search of Solid Ground – From New Age Hippie to Orthodox Nun



Mother Magdalena, PA, USA:

In Search of Solid Ground – From New Age Hippie to Orthodox Nun

Mother Magdalena, from the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, will share her faith journey and speak on the Theology of Joy.

Mother Magdalena was born the second child in a family of 10 children. She grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, which she loved. During her high school years, the effects of Vatican II on church liturgical life hit, catapulting her out of the church into a search for solid ground to stand on: through the hippie movement, feminism, the New Age, life in a yoga ashram, and humanistic and trans-personal psychologies. These experiences created a hunger for a life grounded in ancient truth rather than made-up ritual or emotional highs. Eventually she joined a group born out of the hippie movement in San Francisco, which, many years later, as a group joined the Orthodox Church, finding there the deepest, clearest path to Christ. These experiences were a perfect segue into monastic life, a life of women led by a woman, holding all in common, living lightly, serving all, filled with the joy of the presence of Christ, rich in the ancient, ever-renewing traditions of Orthodoxy.



Fr. Simeon de la Jara, Peru: On a righteous path from Peru to Mount Athos, Greece




Fr. Simeon de la Jara, Peru:

On a righteous path from Peru to Mount Athos, Greece

When Miguel Angel de la Jara Higgingson was seven, his mother had a vision. She sensed that her son would some day leave her for a “far away place, like an island, there where people of solitude lived who pray all the time and rarely step out into the world”. Even she, however, could probably not have imagined just how far from his native Peru, both physically and spiritually, his life’s search would take him.

Now he is Father Simeon the hermit, an Orthodox Christian monk of Eastern Orthodox Church who lives on Mount Athos, a self-administrating, all-male monastic community on the Athos peninsula – the eastern most of three jutting peninsulas in the northern Greek prefecture of Halkidiki in Greece.

However, it’s not just his Peruvian origins that make Father Simeon such a well-known figure among visitors to Mount Athos; it’s also his radiant presence as an artist, poet and painter that makes him so sought after, especially by the young.

His journey began in 1968, when at the age of 18 he left Peru to discover the world. After travelling through Europe and Asia for over two years – during which time he was exposed to eastern philosophies and religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga – he finally settled in Paris, where he lived for the next three years.

It was in Paris that he first met a GreekOrthodox monk and learned about Orthodoxy, a meeting that was to have a profound effect on him. For the next Continue reading “Fr. Simeon de la Jara, Peru: On a righteous path from Peru to Mount Athos, Greece”

Ορθόδοξες Ομαδικές Βαπτίσεις στην Ινδία με θαύμα του Σταυρού



Ορθόδοξες Ομαδικές Βαπτίσεις στην Ινδία με θαύμα του Σταυρού

Η Ινδία είναι μια πολύ μεγάλη χώρα στην οποία η πλειοψηφία είναι Ινδουιστές. Η χώρα αυτή δέχθηκε το κήρυγμα του Ευαγγελίου από τον Απόστολο Θωμά, όμως οι περισσότεροι κάτοικοί της έμειναν ειδωλολάτρες.

Κάποτε ένας ιεραπόστολος αφού κατήχησε και βάφτισε αρκετές οικογένειες Ινδών ύψωσε έναν ξυλόγλυπτο Σταυρό με τον Εσταυρωμένο τον οποίο στόλισε πολύ όμορφα.

Μια μέρα οι ειδωλολάτρες πήγαν στον Εσταυρωμένο και άρχισαν να τον περιγελούν πετώντας στο πρόσωπό του ακαθαρσίες φτύνοντας και χτυπώντας με ρόπαλα.

Ξαφνικά ο Χριστός έστρεψε το πρόσωπό του προς τα δεξιά και κοιτώντας τους είπε: “Γιατί με περιγελάτε;”.

Εκείνοι έμειναν στήλη άλατος, μάλιστα μερικοί πέθαναν από το φόβο τους. Οι υπόλοιποι έτρεξαν στους δασκάλους τους και τους είπαν για το θαύμα. Όταν επέστρεψαν μαζί με τους δασκάλους τους είδαν ότι το πρόσωπο του Χριστού ήταν ακόμη στραμμένο δεξιά και τόσο πολύ εξεπλάγησαν ώστε ζήτησαν και βαφτίστηκαν αμέσως.

Σήμερα στο σημείο που ήταν ο Εσταυρωμένος βρίσκεται ο καθεδρικός τους ναός, ο δε ξύλινος εκείνος σταυρός σώζεται μέσα στο Άγιο Βήμα.

(Από το βιβλίο: π. Δαμασκηνός Γρηγοριάτης (Μετάφραση), Ιστορίες Γέροντος Κλεόπα, Εκδόσεις Άθως, Α´ και Β´ τόμος)




Ορθόδοξη Ιεραποστολή του Μπουσούγκιου στην Ουγκάντα

Η δημόσια ομολογία και μεταστροφή μίας Αφρικανής μάγισσας από την ειδωλολατρία στην Ορθοδοξία στο Κονγκό



Η Ορθοδοξία στην Αφρική

Η δημόσια ομολογία και μεταστροφή μίας Αφρικανής μάγισσας

από την ειδωλολατρία στην Ορθοδοξία στο Κονγκό

Ἀναφέρει ὁ Μητροπολίτης Πενταπόλως Αφρικῆς, Ἰγνάτιος Μαδενλίδης, ἀπό τήν Ὀρθόδοξη Ἐξωτερική Ἱεραποστολή στο Κονγκό της Αφρικῆς (πρώην Ζαϊρ):

«Ἦταν μεταξύ τῶν ἀκροατῶν αὐτή τή φορά καί μία 25χρονη γυναῖκα. Αἰσθάνθηκε κατάνυξι, συντριβή, ὁρμή γιά μετάνοια. Σηκώθηκε καί σέ ἐπήκοο τῶν συγχωριανῶν της, πού ἄκουγαν τήν ἐκπομπή, ὁμολόγησε:

—Εἶμαι sorcèire (=μάγισσα). Οὔτε ὁ ἄνδρας μου τό ξέρει αὐτό. Θυσίασα τό ἕνα παιδί μου· ἤμουν ἕτοιμη νά θυσιάσω καί τό δεύτερο. Μετανοῶ. Ὁρκίζομαι νά τά ἀπαρνηθῶ ὅλα. Πιστεύω. Θέλω νά βαπτισθῶ γιά νά σωθῶ…

Κατάπληξι! Ἦταν κάτι τό ἀναπάντεχο.

—Σηκωθήκαμε ὅλοι, διηγόταν ὁ ὑπεύθυνος τῶν λίγων Ὀρθοδόξων τῆς Tshibambula, καί κάναμε μιά προσευχή γι᾽ αὐτή τή γυναῖκα. Ἡ ὁμολογία καί ἡ ἀπόφασί της ἦταν ἀληθινή, ἀφοῦ τώρα αὐτή καί ὁ ἄνδρας της περιμένουν καί ἑτοιμάζονται νά βαπτισθοῦν.

Ποιός θά περίμενε ἀπό μία καί μόνη ἀκρόασι τοῦ λόγου τοῦ Θεοῦ νά ξεπηδήση μιά τέτοια ἀληθινή μετάνοια (μέ δημόσια μάλιστα ὁμολογία!) καί νά ληφθῆ μιά τόσο δυνατή ἀπόφασι καί ὁρμή πρός τό βάπτισμα;!».

11 μεταστροφές Πεντηκοστιανών στην Ορθοδοξία

11 μεταστροφές Πεντηκοστιανών στην Ορθοδοξία



Πεντηκοστιανοί, αίρεση. Μαρτυρία πρώην Πεντηκοστιανού



Πως ξέφυγα από τους Πεντηκοστιανούς!

Η μεταστροφή ενός Πεντηκοστιανού τής ΕΑΕΠ στην Εκκλησία τού Χριστού

Από τους πεντηκοστιανούς στην αιώνια Πεντηκοστή της Ορθοδοξίας!

Πεντηκοστιανοί: Μεταστροφές … (Αναστασία Λ.)



“They must learn, for they do not know” – The conversion of French George Lesier from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy



“They must learn, for they do not know”

The conversion of French George Lesier from

Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy




With this title we publish the letter of Mrs. Catherine Lesier, by which she expresses her thanks for the contribution of our Holy Monastery for the conversion of her reposed husband to the One, Catholic and Apostolic Church, our Orthodox Church.

We used the above title, because it consists of the saying of George Lesier himself, while expressing his pain for his countrymen, himself being French, and because we believe this publication would also help those who have yet to know and taste the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

The conversion of George, of course is by nature the work of the Divine Grace. It is the response of God to his innocent intention, in his personal spiritual struggle which was but an expression of his anticipation for his union with the Holy Church. It is without doubt the fruit of love and of the hearty prayers of his pious wife and of the spiritual fathers and brothers, who anonymously or otherwise, they are referred to in the letter of Mrs. Lesier.

The contribution of our Holy Monastery lies in the divine functioning providence of its New Marmara Metohion at Halkidiki. of the last few years.
We believe that George, as he requested, kept clean the robe of holy baptism and now he reposes in the glory of the Lord. He intercedes for his family, his spiritual brothers but also for his, of the flesh countrymen. “They must learn, because they do not know” he would say when he referred to them. He wished that they all knew, if possible, the Grace of the Holy Spirit which he intensely lived with his holy baptism. Finally George was speaking from experience. For this he was very convincing and he became greatly accepted within his narrow family circle and by his countrymen that came to know him.

We pray that God rest his spirit with the Just and we ask him to pray to God for us who came to love him.

* * *

N. Marmaras 15-3-1993.

My honourable elder George, bless.

I know your time is precious, for this I beg you to forgive me that I make you spend a little time reading my letter.

Personally I thank you for the contribution of your spiritual work at the New Marmara Metohion. I especially thank you and all the fathers of the Monastery, for helping my husband George to come to Orthodoxy and be baptized at 65 years of age. I truly believe I have lived a miracle, because in my twenty years of married life, I had to deal with a very difficult man, especially in religious matters.

When after our wedding – fortunately we married in the Orthodox Church – I learned from someone spiritual that it is a heavy misdemeanour that I had married a heterodox and even as he called him a heretic. I was shaken and I started to feel the weight of my responsibility and guilt. That Spiritual one suggested to me that I should help him get to know Orthodoxy and perhaps if Continue reading ““They must learn, for they do not know” – The conversion of French George Lesier from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy”

A letter to a new convert by Mother Thekla, Abbess of Orthodox Monastery of the Assumpion in North Yorkshire, England





A letter to a new convert by Mother Thekla,

Abbess of  Orthodox Monastery of the Assumpion

in North Yorkshire, England



Mother Thekla’s Letter To A New Convert


Mother Thekla, who died on Aug. 7, 2011 at aged 93, was the last surviving nun to have occupied the enclosed Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption in North Yorkshire, but became better known to the wider world as the spiritual muse of the composer Sir John Tavener. Mother Thekla wrote the following letter in 2009, when she was 91 years old. You can read more about her here.


Dear “John”,

I understand that you are on the way to becoming Orthodox. I know nothing about you, beyond the fact that you are English.

Before we go any further, there is one point I should make clear. I have not been told why you are about to convert, but I assure you there is no point whatsoever if it is for negative reasons. You will find as much “wrong” (if not more) in Orthodoxy as in the Anglican or Roman Churches.

So – the first point is, are you prepared to face lies, hypocrisy, evil and all the rest, just as much in Orthodoxy as in any other religion or denomination?

Are you expecting a kind of earthly paradise with plenty of incense and the right kind of music?

Do you expect to go straight to heaven if you cross yourself slowly, pompously and in the correct form from the right side?

Have you a cookery book with all the authentic Russian recipes for Easter festivities?

Are you an expert in kissing three times on every possible or improper occasion?

Can you prostrate elegantly without dropping a variety of stationery out of your pockets?


Have you read the Gospels?

Have you faced Christ crucified? In the spirit have you attended the Last Supper – the meaning of Holy Communion?


Are you prepared, in all humility, to understand that you will never, in this life, know beyond Faith; that Faith means accepting the Truth without proof. Faith and knowledge are the ultimate contradiction –and the ultimate absorption into each other.

Living Orthodoxy is based on paradox, which is carried on into worship – private or public.

We know because we believe and we believe because we know.

Above all, are you prepared to accept all things as from God?

If we are meant, always, to be “happy”, why the Crucifixion? Are you prepared, whatever happens, to believe that somewhere, somehow, it must make sense? That does not mean passive endurance, but it means constant vigilance, listening, for what is demanded; and above all, Love.

Poor, old, sick, to our last breath, we can love. Not sentimental nonsense so often confused with love, but the love of sacrifice – inner crucifixion of greed, envy, pride.

And never confuse love with sentimentality.

And never confuse worship with affectation.

Be humble – love, even when it is difficult. Not sentimental so called love – And do not treat church worship as a theatrical performance!

I hope that some of this makes sense,

With my best wishes,
Mother Thekla
(sometime Abbess of the Monastery of the Assumption, Normanby)

The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas – Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA



The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas

By Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA

Printed in Issue 24 – Death to the World





I’m an Orthodox Christian living in Homer, Alaska and experienced Jesus Christ in the Himalayas, in India.

I listen to the heartbeat of rain outside…

Cold, Alaskan fog blowing in off the bay, emerald hills now that autumn is here and summer chased away into the mountains. But a milky white fog spreads over the bay like a silken ghost. I used to visit Trappist monasteries, back when I was Catholic, at the beginning of high school, and searching for a relationship of love. I read plenty of philosophy then to know that knowing isn’t enough, that having a realization in the mind is entirely different from experiencing a revelation of the heart.

I spent two birthdays in the Himalayas…

Traveling along gravel roads that drop deep into icy gulches where the Ganges river rages below not yet packed with the filth and mud and newspapers of villages, not yet carrying remainders of Indians in her current, I found Christ found me. It’s a difficult and strangely compelling atmosphere to confront oneself, – – India, – – sandwiched with black corpses, white snow, pagan fires and virulent animals.

I took a bus north from Delhi. It was crowded, tight and cramped, flies buzzed between my face and the windows smeared with brown slime. It’s so Continue reading “The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas – Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA”

Η μεταστροφή ενός Αφρικανού από την ειδωλολατρεία στην Ορθοδοξία στο Κονγκό και το θαύμα την ώρα της Βαπτίσεώς του



Η μεταστροφή ενός Αφρικανού

από την ειδωλολατρεία στην Ορθοδοξία στο Κονγκό

και το θαύμα την ώρα της Βαπτίσεώς του

Ἀναφέρει ὁ Μητροπολίτης Πενταπόλως Αφρικῆς, Ἰγνάτιος Μαδενλίδης, ἄλλη μία μεταστροφή ἀπό τήν Ὀρθόδοξη Ἐξωτερική Ἱεραποστολή στο Κονγκό της Αφρικῆς (πρώην Ζαϊρ):

«Ἦταν εὐκαιρία. Ἦλθε ἱερέας ἀπό τή Kananga στήν Dekeshia τοῦ Κονγκό (πρώην Ζαΐρ). Αὐτό γίνεται κάθε δύο χρόνια περίπου. Θά βάπτιζε τούς Κατηχουμένους καί θά λειτουργοῦσε γιά νά κοινωνήση τούς πιστούς.

Ὁ γέροντας ἤθελε κι αὐτός νά βαπτισθῆ. Τό ἐννοοῦσε νά μή χάση τήν εὐκαιρία.

Πῶς ὅμως;

Εἶχε τά βάσανά του. Ἀνημπόρια. Ὄχι μόνο τά γεράματά του. Ἦταν κι αὐτά ἀνημπόρια. Κυρίως ὅμως τά ἕρμα τά πόδια του. Πρησμένα ἀπό καιρό, τώρα παραῆταν. Οὔτε τά παπούτσια μποροῦσε νά φορέση, ἀλλά καί τό περπάτημα ἦταν βάσανο.

Ὅμως θά πήγαινε νά βαπτισθῆ. Τό ᾽λεγε ἡ καρδιά του, πόθος μακροχρόνιος καί βαθύς, κι ἄς ἔφερναν τήν ἀντίρρησί τους τά πόδια του.

Σύρθηκε. Πῆγε.

Ἦρθε καί ἡ σειρά του. Μπῆκε στά νερά τοῦ ποταμοῦ.

—“Βαπτίζεται ὁ δοῦλος τοῦ Θεοῦ… Ἀμήν”.

Μά, τί ἀλλαγή ἦταν αὐτή πού ἔνιωθε;

Θεέ μου, τά πόδια του! Τά δικά του πόδια. Δέν ἦταν πιά ὅπως μέχρι τώρα. Τά πιάνει. Βεβαιώνεται. Δέν ἦταν καθόλου πρησμένα. Καί τά ἔνιωθε πιό δυνατά.

Τά ἔδειξε καί στούς ἄλλους. Τά ἔδειχνε νά τά δοῦνε· νά βεβαιώσουν τό θαῦμα.

Τό γεγονός τῆς ἡμέρας. Τό θαῦμα αὐταπόδεικτο. Ἐνισχύθηκαν οἱ νεοφώτιστοι· τό καυχοῦνταν οἱ πιστοί: “Ἔχουμε δυνατή πίστι. Ἔχουμε ἀληθινή Ἐκκλησία…”».

Native Americans and Orthodoxy – Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA



Native Americans and Orthodoxy

Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA

[Ancient Faith Radio; August 28, 2008]

Frederica Mathewes-Green: Here I am, I’m in Anchorage, Alaska. My first visit to Alaska, this completes my visiting fifty states. This is my fiftieth state, so it’s wonderful to be here at last. I am on the grounds of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, speaking to Steven Alvarez, who is- what is your role here at the center?

Steven Alvarez: I am Director of Strategic Initiatives and Media.

FMG: You were telling me you produce films sometimes for the center as well. And we were hearing the story of what brought you here, you said it was St. Herman that brought you. To begin with, your heritage goes back to New Mexico, your background is Apache. You were telling me that it’s connected with some of the peoples in Alaska, as well.

SA: Right. The Athabaskans up here share a common language (a common language base), and we’re pretty much the same people.

FMG: And, how in the world did you end up becoming Orthodox?

SA: I was part of San Jose Christian Fellowship that converted back in 1993. And I was the music director there at the church, and so that whole process brought us to Orthodoxy and…

FMG: You were swept up.

SA: Yeah, yeah.

FMG: Had you been a Christian all your life?

SA: I was raised Roman Catholic. So I had really no issues with the theology. I mean, I grew up with it. The only question that I kept asking was, once we become Orthodox, where does the band go? (laughs)

FMG: Because you were the percussionist in the worship band.

SA: I was the worship leader.

FMG: Oh, you were the worship leader.

SA: Yeah, and so we were chrismated and I was ordained a subdeacon that Continue reading “Native Americans and Orthodoxy – Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA”