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”

Δύο Προτεστάντες καθηγητές του Πανεπιστημίου Harvard της Μασαχουσέτης των ΗΠΑ ζητούν να γίνουν Ορθόδοξοι


Δύο Προτεστάντες καθηγητές του Πανεπιστημίου Harvard

της Μασαχουσέτης των ΗΠΑ ζητούν να γίνουν Ορθόδοξοι

Ἄς ἀναγράψουμε ἐδῶ μιά περίπτωσι παρόμοια μ᾽ ἐκείνην τοῦ π. Βill Caldaroni· τήν προσέλευσι στήν Ὀρθοδοξία μέσῳ συγκρίσεων:

Ὁ Δρ. Χ. Γιαμβριᾶς, καθηγητής Ἀνωτάτης Γεωπονικῆς Σχολῆς Ἀθηνῶν, μέ ἐπιστολή του στό περ. Ἀκτίνες γράφει: Ὁ καθηγητής Βιοχημείας στό Harvard Χαράλ. Ἀντωνιάδης σέ ὁμιλία του στήν Ἀκαδημία Ἀθηνῶν «μᾶς εἶπε ὅτι πρό ὀλίγου καιροῦ τόν ἐπισκέφθηκαν δύο καθηγητές τοῦ Πανεπιστημίου Harvard, ὁ ἕνας τῆς Ψυχιατρικῆς καί ὁ ἄλλος τῆς Ἱστορίας καί τοῦ εἶπαν: “Κύριε Ἀντωνιάδη, θέλουμε νά γίνουμε μέλη τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας”. ῞Οταν τούς ρώτησε ὁ κ. Ἀντωνιάδης, τί εἶναι αὐτό πού τούς κάνει νά πάρουν μία τέτοια σοβαρή ἀπόφασι, τοῦ ἀπάντησαν, ὅτι ἐσεῖς στήν Ὀρθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία ἔχετε διατηρήσει ὅλη τήν παράδοσι τῆς πρώτης Χριστιανικῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί δέν ἔχετε νοθεύσει τό Χριστιανισμό. Μελετήσαμε, προτοῦ λάβουμε αὐτή τήν ἀπόφασι, ὅλες τίς Χριστιανικές Ἐκκλησίες καί καταλήξαμε σ᾽ αὐτό τό συμπέρασμα”. Καί ὁ καθηγητής Ἀντωνιάδης εἶπε, τελειώνοντας, ὅτι μέ αὐτό τό γενονός, θέλω νά σᾶς μεταφέρω τό μήνυμα ὅτι ἔχουμε ἐμεῖς οἱ ῞Ελληνες τό θησαυρό τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου παραδόσεως, γιά τόν ὁποῖο πρέπει νά αἰσθανώμασθε ὑπερήφανοι, συγχρόνως ὅμως καί ὑπεύθυνοι ἀπέναντι τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου πίστεώς μας. Νομίζω ὅτι περιττεύουν τά σχόλια σέ μιά τέτοια ὁμολογία πίστεως, ἀπό ἕνα κορυφαῖο καί διεθνῶς ἀναγνωρισμένο ῞Ελληνα ἐπιστήμονα».


Ἀρχιμ. Ἰωάννου Κωστώφ


Ἀπό τόν Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία

ἐκδ. Ἅγ. Ἰωάννης Δαμασκηνός (2108220542)

Ἀθήνα 2011


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”

After 87 years at the Smithsonian, bones of Alaska Natives returned and reburied


After 87 years at the Smithsonian,

bones of Alaska Natives returned and reburied



Anthropologists once excavated the graves of thousands of Native Americans. Now museums in the U.S. are slowly working to return those remains and funerary objects to tribes.

A village in southwest Alaska recently reburied 24 of their ancestors who had been excavated by a Smithsonian anthropologist in 1931.

About half of the village of Igiugig crowded into the Russian Orthodox Church in the center of town on a drizzly fall day. In the center of the nave sat three handmade, wooden coffins that held the bones from the now-abandoned settlement of Kaskanak.

The remains were unearthed by Aleš Hrdlička, who was the head of the anthropology department in what is now the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The question of how people originally came to North America and from where drove Hrdlička to dig up the bones of Native Americans all around the United States. Historians estimate that he took thousands to Washington, D.C., for research.

After more than eight decades in the museum’s collection, Igiugig’s ancestors finally returned home for reburial.

Avery Lill

Η μεταστροφή του Νίκου Λ. από τους “Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά”, τον αθεϊσμό & τον Ινδουϊσμό στην Ορθοδοξία




Η μεταστροφή του Νίκου Λ. από τους “Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά”,

τον αθεϊσμό & τον Ινδουϊσμό στην Ορθοδοξία



Είμαι ο Νίκος Λ. Γεννήθηκα μέσα σε μια πενταμελή οικογένεια “Μαρτύρων του Ιεχωβά” (μόνο ο πατέρας μου δεν ήταν “Μάρτυρας του Ιεχωβά” και ο οποίος έκανε το καλό να με βαπτίσει Ορθόδοξο), και γαλουχήθηκα με αυτή την πίστη, αφού ο πατέρας μου κατά τα άλλα ήταν αδιάφορος περί πίστεως. Δύο χρονών ήξερα τα ονόματα των Βιβλίων της Αγίας Γραφής απ᾽ έξω. Αιτία η θεία μου η οποία μου διάβαζε ιστορίες από την Βίβλο και τα βιβλία και περιοδικά της οργάνωσης.

Βίωσα όμως σαν παιδί δύο αρνητικές καταστάσεις η μία κυρίως στο σχολείο από τα “δήθεν” Ορθόδοξα Ελληνόπουλα που με έδειχναν με το δάχτυλο “να το Γιαχωβάκι” και η άλλη από την καταπίεση λόγω των κανόνων της οργάνωσης. Το κυριότερο και εκείνο που με έκανε να χάσω αυτήν την πίστη ήταν ένα κενό και η απουσία αγάπης που ένιωθα μέσα στην οικογένεια και μέσα στην οργάνωση. Έτσι γύρω στα 15 μου, έκανα την επανάστασή μου και έφυγα από τους “Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά”.

Κατέληξα άθεος, γιατί τον θεό που μου είχαν γνωρίσει τον “Ιεχωβά” αυτόν τον απόμακρο αυστηρό θεό δεν μπορούσα πια να τον πιστεύω και δεν ήξερα και κανέναν άλλον καλύτερο.

Έκτοτε έκανα την ζωή μου που λένε, είχα ξεκινήσει ήδη το κάπνισμα, διασκέδαση, ποτάκια και σχέσεις ό,τι μου απαγόρευε δηλαδή η οργάνωση των “Μαρτύρων των Ιεχωβά”.

Παρόλη αυτή την άσωτη ζωή, μέσα μου υπήρχε μια αγωνία, ένας πόθος να μάθω την αλήθεια, από πού ήρθα και γιατί και που πηγαίνω. Διάβαζα και ερευνούσα ότι μυστικιστικό έπεφτε στα χέρια μου. Έτσι προσελκύστηκα από έναν Ινδουιστικό όμιλο που έλεγε πως κατείχε τα μυστικά για τους αναζητητές της αλήθειας. Ήμουν ήδη στα 26 μου. Αλλά τίποτε δεν με γέμιζε.

Μετά από 3 χρόνια περίπου, ένα μεσημέρι ενώ είχα απελπιστεί απ όλα παρακάλεσα το Χριστό, έπεσα στα γόνατα και προσευχήθηκα, και του είπα αν υπάρχεις κάνε κάτι. Τότε συνέβη κάτι συγκλονιστικό, επί τρεις ημέρες προσευχόμουν ζώντας μέσα σε μια παραδείσια χαρά. Τότε βεβαιώθηκα ότι υπάρχεις! Και ότι Είσαι χαρά! Χριστέ ο Θεός ημών.

Σε παρακάλεσα να μου στείλεις κάποιον να με διδάξει. Έτσι ύστερα από μια σειρά γεγονότων που εγώ χαρακτηρίζω μικρά θαύματα, εμφανίστηκε στη ζωή μου ο Αλέξανδρος, Ορθόδοξος Θεολόγος που με αγάπησε, με κατήχησε, με δίδαξε την ζωή της Ορθοδοξίας και το κάνει μέχρι σήμερα.

The Journey to Antioch – My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church – Clifton D. Healy, USA


The Journey to Antioch

My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church

by Clifton D. Healy




In two previous essays (“Starting from Cane Ridge” and “The Road to Canterbury”), I described these two early periods of my faith journey in largely chronological order. For these two periods of my life there have been relatively clear and distinct time markers. I grew up in and trained for ministry among the Restoration Movement churches. Toward the end of that training, while still at college, I began to investigate the Anglican tradition. And though for a time these two faith traditions overlapped, still the pathways are fairly clear.

The road markers for my journey to Antioch, my inquiry into the Orthodox Church, however, are much more muddled, scattered here and there along previous roadways, seen now as portents of things to come, but known then as only so much new experience, as simple signposts which I was then unable to read. The relating of my investigations into Orthodoxy, then, runs scattershot at first through the stages of my experience in the Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement churches just prior to becoming acquainted with Anglicanism, then through my initial searching in the Anglican tradition, and finally to the culmination of my experience in that tradition as I turned away from the Episcopal Church to finally look with focused attention at the Orthodox Church.

My experience of Orthodoxy can therefore be roughly charted along five time markers: the years prior to the summer of 2000, the months from June 2000 to January 2002, from June 2002 to September 2003 (the “gap” from January to June 2002 will be addressed in due course), from September 2003 to the Sunday of Orthodoxy and our entry into the Cathecumenate, the Catechumenate from the Sunday of Orthodoxy to Pentecost, and our entry into the Church on Pentecost.

1.Encounters with Orthodoxy prior to June 2000

As has been told elsewhere, by the summer of 2000 I had looked outside my own heritage churches to find that longed-for connection to the historic Church and had made my way to Anglicanism in the belief that I had found it there.

But the search had antecedents that predated my Anglican investigations. The first event in which I can recall this longing began to manifest itself with the purchase, in January 1987 between semesters of my freshman at Ozark Christian College, at the college bookstore of the Lightfoot and Harmer Greek and English single volume edition of The Apostolic Fathers. Here was my first attempt to find out what the early Church taught and believed. A seed had been planted as I spent the next semester reading through the Apostolic Fathers. I had no real understanding of what I was reading, but it both satisfied and intensified my longing for a connection to the New Testament Church.

The next event occurred about four years later. In the spring of 1991, just prior to my graduation from college, I prepared for a conditional baptism. I was seeking some certainty and authenticity about my baptism at age seven, especially in light of the fact that my life as an adolescent was godless and Continue reading “The Journey to Antioch – My Discoveries in the Orthodox Church – Clifton D. Healy, USA”

Sister Matthaia Osswald, Germany: My great adventure in search of the Truth – A Roman Catholic nun discovered the fullness of the Truth in the Orthodox Church


My great adventure in search of the Truth

November 2008

Sister Matthaia Osswald , Germany 

A Roman Catholic nun discovered the fullness of the Truth in the Orthodox Church.

Childhood and adolescence.   

I was born in 1961 from Protestant parents, in a town in South Germany. We lived in a suburb which had earlier been a separate village and later was integrated into a municipality. There was only one Roman Catholic family, the rest of the inhabitants being Protestants. The daughter of this family, whom I used to like very much, was in my class at the elementary school. I still remember very well that I was strictly forbidden to visit her, because they told me that it would be embarrassing for our family if anybody learned about such a thing. During the following years there was a growing tolerance on this topic. Even though the majority of the inhabitants were Protestants, with the passage of time the “Catholic” population increased and more Roman Catholic communities were created in the town.

My parents did believe in God but they would not practice their faith, for example they would never go  to church on Sundays, we would not pray, at least not together or before the meals and the topic of “God” was not discussed in our home.
However, in my grand parents’ house lived an elderly Evangelical deaconess, who earlier had been a kindergarten teacher. She was like a light for me. Every time I would visit my grand parents I would use the occasion to “disappear” and visit this nun. She would always talk about Jesus; about His miracles; how repeatedly and in different ways He had helped her; about paradise, heaven and the angels. And she would pray with me. Time with her seemed to flow very fast! I was always sad, every time I would hear a voice telling me: “Where are you again? Come quick”! My grand parents did not take kindly to the fact that I would be so long with the “pious aunt”.

One evening when I was four or five years old, I was lying in my bed thinking how terribly tiring it must be for Father God that He cannot take time off to relax. He must always stay up worrying about the people and be careful that nothing bad happens to them. I made all kinds of suggestions to Him such as for example, if He could alternate with His Son, or with the angels. Finally, I told Him, that I wished so much to help Him and that it would not bother me at all, if every now and then I stayed up all night, but neither would this help the people. On one hand these were very childish, all these thoughts of mine, but on the other hand I meant them and me never forgot, even though in the following years they faded entirely into the background. Afterward my schooling started. I became busy with other things.

Of course I never doubted the existence of God, but His existence had no importance for me and my life. It was as if they were two separate things that had no relationship with each other. All my adolescence was influenced by the fact that I always wished to be like the others (Something that I never succeeded in as I was always marginalized, which possibly was due to my exterior unpleasant appearance.) I tried everything the others did, smoke, go in the evenings to the bars, smoke marijuana, listen to rock music etc. I was then Continue reading “Sister Matthaia Osswald, Germany: My great adventure in search of the Truth – A Roman Catholic nun discovered the fullness of the Truth in the Orthodox Church”