The conversion of French Photographer Frère Jean (Gérard Gascuel) to Orthodoxy


The conversion of French

Photographer Frère Jean (Gérard Gascuel)

to Orthodoxy

Photographer Gérard Gascuel who worked with Marcel Marceau and Salvador Dali and now is Hieromonk Gerasimos says he decided to become a monk after hearing an Athonite monk singing.

«I was 33 when the editor in chief of an influential Japanese magazine sent me to Greece to make a report about the life of Athonite monks,» Father Gerasimos was quoted as saying by the Rossijskaya Gazeta daily on Tuesday.

Going around the monasteries he came upon a monastery where there is an ancient tradition to keep skulls of deceased monks.

«I went into the crypt and then life was divided: ‘before’ and ‘after’. When I was going back I met a Greek monk and we talked about the meaning of life. His English was poor… And suddenly he started singing!» Father Gerasimos recalls.

According to him, it was then that he decided to become a monk.

«I made a decision in few seconds. Having returned to France, I delivered my report to the magazine, sold my estate and became an ordinary monk on Athos. I spent many years in the Holy Land at St. Savvas Monastery in the Continue reading “The conversion of French Photographer Frère Jean (Gérard Gascuel) to Orthodoxy”

Μεταστροφές δολοφόνων προς τη Θεία Εξομολόγηση – Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ


Μεταστροφές δολοφόνων προς τη Θεία Εξομολόγηση

Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ

Ἀναφέρει ὁ ἀείμνηστος Ἱεροκήρυκας και Πνευματικός Ἀρχιμ. Βενέδικτος Πετράκης (+1961):

«Διά τοῦ κηρύγματος καί τοῦ Μυστηρίου τῆς Ἐξομολογήσεως ακυρώθηκαν τουλάχιστον δέκα προγραμματισμένοι φόνοι!

Ἕνας ἀπ᾽ τούς παραιτηθέντες ἀπ᾽ τά φονικά σχέδιά του, μόλις βγῆκε ἀπ᾽ τήν ἐκκλησία μετά τήν ἐξομολόγησι, ἄρχισε νά λέη σέ αὐτούς πού ἦταν στήν πλατεία: “Τρέξτε ὅλοι στόν Πνευματικό νά σᾶς κάνη ἀνθρώπους!”. Ὁ ἴδιος ὄχι μόνο παρετήθηκε ἀπ᾽ τό φόνο καί συγχώρησε τόν ἐχθρό του, ἀλλά κατώρθωσε καί τόν ἔφερε στήν ἐξομολόγησι.

Σ᾽ ἕνα ἄλλο χωριό μία γερόντισσα, τῆς ὁποίας εἶχαν φονεύση τόν μοναχογιό της, ἀμέσως μόλις μετά τήν ἐξομολόγησι βγῆκε ἀπ᾽ τήν ἐκκλησία, ἔσπευσε στό μαγαζί, πλησίασε τόν φονιά τοῦ παιδιοῦ της καί τόν συγχώρησε. Τόν προέτρεψε μάλιστα νά ἐξομολογηθῆ καί ἐκεῖνος! Ὁ φονεύς βαθύτατα συγκινημένος προσῆλθε μετά δακρύων στό Μυστήριο τῆς Ἱ. Ἐξομολογήσεως!

Σ᾽ ἕνα ἄλλο χωριό τῆς ἴδιας περιοχῆς μετανόησαν καί ἐξομολογήθηκαν καί μερικοί, οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶχαν ἔρθει μέ τήν ἐντολή καί τήν ἀπόφασι νά μέ ἐκτελέσουν…».



Fr. David, New York, USA: From Protestant to Orthodox


Fr. David, New York, USA:

From Protestant to Orthodox



This will be the only post on this blog, and it’s for the sole purpose of sharing my testimony of how I converted from Evangelical Protestantism to the Eastern Orthodox Church. After the text of the testimony, there are two appendices: the first is a breakdown of the earliest bishops in the Christian Church and their beliefs, and the second is a brief defense addressing from Scripture certain issues Evangelicals have with Orthodoxy. Enjoy.

”If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” II Cor. 5:17


When I talk with people “who knew me when”—during my first twenty years of life as an Evangelical Protestant—I usually am met with a variety of reactions when I tell them that, in the middle of my time at one of the nation’s foremost charismatic universities, I decided to convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some are offended, as though I were rejecting everything I’d been taught to believe as a good Protestant; others react with genuine, open curiosity, since the Orthodox Church is still relatively unknown to many Americans; still others react with dismay, convinced that I’ve traded in biblical, relationship-based Christianity for the rules and regulations of the Pharisees, the exotic “smells and bells” of Orthodoxy’s “foreignness,” and the off-base traditions of men that only serve to take a soul away from a true, unadulterated relationship with Jesus Christ. It is my hope that this essay will help to shed light on the issues that were central to my conversion, as well as provide insight both to those who are thinking about converting to Orthodoxy and to those who have a loved one on the way into (or already in) the Orthodox Church and are concerned for their spiritual well-being. The Orthodox Church has been, for me, the ultimate revelation of what it means to be “in Christ”; my upbringing in Evangelical Protestantism has not only helped me appreciate this now, but was very much preparing me for this all along [1].

My childhood was one of sharp contrasts between my mother’s and father’s homes—they divorced when I was an infant—for while my mother (with whom I spent most of my time growing up) was devoutly religious and marked the Continue reading “Fr. David, New York, USA: From Protestant to Orthodox”

I knew right then, in that second… – Trudy Ellmore, USA


I knew right then, in that second…

by Trudy Ellmore, USA


I Knew Right Then, In That Second…


My family of origin is Roman Catholic, the faith I practiced until I was 18. My love of God was deep and personal. There was never a time in my life when God was not present, even in my earliest memories. Yet, when someone witnessed to me and asked,

“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t, you’re going to hell”

my reaction was one of panic. I turned away from my childhood church to a non-denominational fundamentalist church to allay my fear of damnation. There I met my first husband. After our marriage, we became involved in a Southern Baptist church where we both were baptized by immersion.

Following my husband’s death after 26 months of marriage, my infant son and I returned to my hometown. Thinking all Baptist churches were alike, I joined an American Baptist church, where I met my current husband, who was attending Seminary with the intention of pastoring in the Baptist denomination. We served the church for 5 years until he transitioned to higher education fundraising.

For the next 20 years, it was in the American Baptist denomination where my faith and love of God was nurtured and grew deeper and deeper, where I taught children and adult Sunday school classes, counseled children for Continue reading “I knew right then, in that second… – Trudy Ellmore, USA”

Η θαυμαστή μεταστροφή ενός βασιλιά και ολόκληριου του λαού του μέσω των Αγίων Πάυλου του Επισκόπου & Ιωάννου του Πρεσβυτέρου στην Ασία (+5ος αιώνας)


Η θαυμαστή μεταστροφή ενός βασιλιά

& ολόκληριου του λαού του μέσω των Αγίων Πάυλου του Επισκόπου

& Ιωάννου του Πρεσβυτέρου στην Ασία (+5ος αιώνας)

Ἅγιοι Παῦλος ὁ Ἐπίσκοπος καί Ἰωάννης ὁ Πρεσβύτερος, ὅσιοι στην Μ. Ἀσία, Συρία, Λίβανο και Μεσσοποταμία (30 Ιουλίου, +5ος αἰ.) [Πηγή: Οἱ Ὅσιοι Παῦλος ὁ Ἐπίσκοπος καί Ἰωάννης ὁ Πρεσβύτερος, Ἁγνωστα Συναξάρια 3, ἐκδ. Ἑνωμένη Ρωμηοσύνη, Θεσ/νίκη 2016]

«Τούς Ἁγίους Παύλο τόν Ἐπίσκοπο καί Ἰωάννη τον Πρεσβύτερο (30 Ἰλ, +5ος αἰ.) τούς ἔδεσε μέ μεγάλη σιγουριά καί τούς ἔβγαλε ἔξω ἀπ᾽τό στρατόπεδό τους, σ᾽ ἕνα τόπο μέ πολλούς φοίνικες, ἀπ᾽ τούς ὁποίους τρέφονταν οἱ ντόπιοι Ἄραβες. Ὑπῆρχε στό μέσο τῶν φοινικῶν ἕνα πολύ ὑψηλό καί ὡραῖο δένδρο, κάτω ἀπ᾽ τό ὁποῖο ἔβαλαν τούς Ἅγίους μέ τήν πρόθεσι νά τούς σφάξουν. Τότε ὁ μακάριος Ἰωάννης προσεφώνησε τόν ἄρχοντα τους λέγοντας:

—Πλησίασε ἐδῶ, γιά νά σοῦ μιλήσω. Καί κάθώς πλησίασε, τοῦ λέει: Τί εἶναι γιά σᾶς τοῦτο τό δένδρο;

Καί τοῦ ἀπαντᾶ:

—Εἶναι θεός ὅλου αὐτοῦ τοῦ στρατῶνα.

Τοῦ λέει ὁ μακάριος Ἰωάννης:

—Ἄν συμφωνῆς, λοιπόν, σύναξε ἐδῶ τούς φίλους σου καί ἐπικαλεσθῆτε τό θεό σας, καί ἐμεῖς νά ἐπικαλεσθοῦμε τό δικό μας Θεό, καί ὅποιος θεός νικήσει, αὐτός εἶναι ὁ ἀληθινός Θεός καί αὐτόν πρέπει νά ἀκολουθήσετε.

Καί τοῦ ἀποκρίνεται ὁ βασιλιάς:

—Πολύ σοφή ἡ κρίσι σου.

Τότε ὁ μακάριος Ἰωάννης ἔκτεινε τά χέρια του καί ἔκαμε τούτη τήν προσευχή:

—Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, ὁ καρπός πού περιέχει τό θεῖο ἔλεος καί τή ζωή, πού μέ τή θέλησί σου τρέφεις τίς κέδρους τοῦ Λιβάνου, δέξου τούτη τήν παράκλησι καί ἐξαπόστειλε τήν ὀργή σου σέ τοῦτο τό δένδρο καί ξερίζωσέ το ἐξ ὁλοκλήρου, γιά νά μή γίνη αἴτιο εἰδωλολατρικῆς πλάνης σέ πολλούς ἀνθρώπους.
Καί ἀμέσως ἔπνευσε βίαιος ἄνεμος καί ἀπέσπασε ἐκεῖνο τόν φοίνικα μαζί μέ τίς ρίζες του καί τόν κατέκαυσε σάν νά ᾽πεσε φωτιά. Τότε ὅλοι οἱ παρευρεθέντες, καθώς εἶδαν τό θαῦμα πού ἔγινε, φώναξαν δυνατά:

—Πράγματι, ὁ θεός πού ἔκανε αὐτό τό θαῦμα, αὐτός εἶναι ὁ ἀληθινός Θεός.
Καί λέει ὁ μακάριος Ἰωάννης στό βασιλιά:

—Πιστεύεις τώρα, ἤ κατακαίονται καί οἱ ὑπόλοιποι φοίνικες καί στερεῖσθε τῆς ζωῆς πού σᾶς παρέχουν;

Εἶπε ὁ βασιλιάς:

—Πιστεύω ὅτι ὁ Χριστός εἶναι ἀληθινός Θεός καί ὅτι αὐτός σᾶς ἀπέστειλε, γιά νά μᾶς ἐλευθερώσετε ἀπ᾽ τήν πλάνη τοῦ σκοτασμοῦ

Ἀμέσως τότε σηκώθηκαν οἱ Ἅγιοι καί ἔκτισαν μία κολυμβήθρα καί τήν ἁγίασαν, καί βάπτισαν ἐκεῖ τό βασιλιά καί τούς ἀξιωματούχους του καί ὅλο τό λαό του».



Arrowhead Springs To Antioch – Odyssey To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Fr. Peter Gillquist & Fr. Gordon Thomas Walker, USA


Arrowhead Springs To Antioch


Odyssey To Orthodoxy


Fr. Peter Gillquist

& Fr. Gordon Thomas Walker,



Arrowhead Springs To Antioch


By the summer of 1966, our bubble was starting to burst. As staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ (headquartered at Arrowhead Springs in California) and men in key roles of leadership, we were intent on bringing America’s college students to faith in Christ. And we were further committed to Christ’s Great Commission: bringing the Gospel to the whole world. But that summer, we realized we would have to change our strategy. For we had become convinced from the Scriptures that the Church was the means to fulfilling that Great Commission.

The question was, of course, what is the Church?

By 1968, our National Field Coordinator — Jon Braun, Canadian Director — Ken Berven, African Director — Gordon Walker, Asian Director — Ray Nethery, Regional Directors — Richard Ballew and Peter Gillquist — and a host of others — resigned from Campus Crusade to pursue evangelism through the Church.

We did not want to build and maintain another new organization, at least not right away. Most of us struck out on our own, building house-churches in different parts of the country fashioned after what we saw as the New Testament model. We kept in touch with each other and exchanged ideas and encouragement from our successes and failures. Many of us had taken outside jobs to support ourselves and our families.

By 1973 all of us were expressing a desire to labor more closely together again. Working on our own was frustrating, and we sensed a need for mutual support and accountability. Consequently we decided to meet together in Dallas, Texas in July, 1973. Out of that meeting of about 70 people came a Continue reading “Arrowhead Springs To Antioch – Odyssey To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Fr. Peter Gillquist & Fr. Gordon Thomas Walker, USA”