USA OF MY HEART
Rock Springs, Wyoming, USA
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church
in Rock Springs, Wyoming, USA
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox
405 N St, Rock Springs, WY 82901, USA
NATIVE AMERICANS MET ORTHODOXY
ALASKA OF MY HEART
A Native American Prayer
We will fly on wings like eagles
I bow my head
If it be Thy will,
please save this land
from those who seek
to destroy it.
FACEBOOK: NATIVE AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (NAOCF)
So we are truly on a wing and prayer. What an incredible symbol. When I was in Alaska as part of Alaska Team 2001 sent by the Orthodox Christian Missionary Center (http://www.ocmc.org) I saw a bald eagle, everyday, and if I saw one, I ALWAYS saw three minimum.
I’ve always loved our national symbol and spending the time that I did in Alaska gave me such a feeling of peace and love for this land in which I was born and for it’s Native Peoples that I can’t even express. Seeing Eagles everyday gave me a feeling like I was sharing my experience with them.
I am aware that such atrocities were committed against the Indigenous Populations here in both North & South America (let’s not forget the Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders as well), by Western Europeans in the name of God and of “Progress”. While Alaskans were not totally exempt from all that, it should be noted that the Orthodox Church in Alaska more often helped and protected the Alaskans (where & when they could).
Anyone who is interested can check out our website at: http://www.NAOCF.org for more information and through that site you can reach out to our Spiritual Adviser Fr. Thomas Andrew who is a Native Yupik Priest. Also, I’ll refer you to a PDF of our Journal (also available on our website) in particular an article written by Fr. Michael Oleksa, another Native Priest living and serving in Alaska. They are just two of the Native clergy serving Our Lord and their People in the North.
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
Is There One True Church?
An Interview with Peter Jackson,
a former Protestant missionary
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
Peter Jackson—a former Protestant missionary and the translator of several books of Holy Scripture into the language of the Kogi people of Colombia, presently a student at Holy Trinity Spiritual Seminary—tells of his road to Orthodoxy. This is an Interview conducted with him on the pages of Pravoslavnaya Rus’ [Orthodox Rus’] by R. Sholkov.
* * *
RS: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
PJ: I was an Evangelical Protestant from birth. My family attended Baptist and Presbyterian churches, and my parents were firm believers in [the concept of] the “invisible Church,” i.e., [the belief] that there has never been a single church on earth which could call herself the one True Church; i.e., [a church] possessing the fullness of the Truth. All that was necessary was “to believe in Christ” and to attend that church which was “convenient.” But I could never understand why there were so many different so-called churches, all of which considered themselves to be Bible-based?
When I was 12 years old, our community was visited by some preachers who were doing missionary work in Colombia and translating the Bible for the Indians. Because I had always been interested in languages, I was attracted to this work. I was astonished [to learn] that there are thousands of languages in the world into which the Bible has not yet been translated.
I began to study Greek and Hebrew, in order to prepare myself for working in translating the Bible into such languages; and, at the university, I studied linguistics. Later, I joined the Protestant Mission of Bible translators (Wycliffe Bible Translators), in order to obtain a more detailed education.
When I was in training at Wycliffe, I became acquainted with my future wife, Styliana; now we have two sons, Nicholas and Benjamin. Styliana’s parents were missionaries in Colombia, when she was yet 5 years old. They preached among the semi-savage Kogi tribe. Her parents were very happy to receive our Continue reading “Is There One True Church? ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* An Interview with Peter Jackson, a former Protestant missionary”
EXPERIENCES DURING THE DIVINE LITURGY
Guatemala: The Divine Liturgy in a Mayan language (Ghuj)
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
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.
USA OF MY HEART
NATIVE AMERICANS OF MY HEART
HAWAII OF MY HEART
Robert Arakaki, Hawaii, USA:
From Unchurched Hawaiian to Local Orthodox
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
I grew up unchurched. I became a Christian in high school through reading the Living Bible. I was active in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Hawaii. My home church was Kalihi Union Church (KUC), a fine evangelical congregation that was part of the United Church of Christ (UCC).
I was deeply troubled by the UCC’s liberal theology and wanted to help it return to its biblical roots. This led me to study at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary for the purpose of preparing to become an evangelical seminary professor in the liberal United Church of Christ to help the UCC return to its biblical roots.
However, in a surprising turn of events, I became Orthodox!
It was my first week at seminary. As I walked down the hallway of Main Dorm I saw on the door of one of the student’s room an icon of Christ. I thought to myself,
“An icon in a Calvinist seminary!?!”
This was to be the first of many encounters with Eastern Orthodoxy.
After receiving my M.A. in Church History, I did doctoral studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. While there I attended Saints Kyril and Methodios Bulgarian Orthodox Church. I was drawn to the deep mystical worship of liturgical worship that was rooted in the historic Christian Faith. I also felt comfortable with its all-English services and a congregation that was made up mostly of converts. Orthodox worship presents a stark contrast to the emotionally driven entertainment that passes for contemporary Evangelical worship.
My journey to Orthodoxy began when little questions about Protestant theology turned into big questions, and the big questions turned into a theological crisis. Protestant theology holds up so long as one accepts certain premises but becomes problematic when considered from the standpoint of church history and the early Church Fathers. As a church history major I became painfully aware that much of what passes for Evangelicalism: the altar call, the symbolic understanding of the Lord’s Supper, the inductive bible study method, minimalist creed, the rapture, all have their origins in the 1800s.
This means that Evangelicalism is a modern innovation as is Liberalism.
But more troubling was my investigation of classical Reformation theology, e.g., Martin Luther and John Calvin. Two foundational tenets of Protestantism: sola fide (faith alone) and sola scriptura (Bible alone), were not part of the early Church and rely upon reading the Bible in a certain way. Moreover, these two tenets originated out of the theological debates of Medieval Scholasticism. In other words, the Protestant Reformation marks not a return to the historic Christian Faith, but rather a late innovation.
What makes Orthodoxy so daunting to an Evangelical is its understanding that to have the true Faith means belonging to the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. If the Orthodox Church is the true Church, then that meant that I needed to resign my membership from Kalihi Union Church and become Orthodox. I was received into the Orthodox Church on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1999 at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Honolulu. I am very grateful for what I have learned from Evangelicalism but there is so much more to Christianity. Orthodoxy is the fulfillment of Evangelical theology and worship.
Robert Arakaki, Hawaii, USA
LATIN AMERICA OF MY HEART
Latin America: Peoples in search of Orthodoxy
by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico
Thirteen years ago, when I undertook the (then newly-established) Holy Metropolis of Mexico with only three priests and three mainly Greek-speaking communities, in Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, I would never have expected, let alone conceive the miracle that is unfolding today for our Orthodox Church in Latin America. We all lived the miracle of Cuba, when Fidel Castro’s government undertook the construction of the Sacred Temple of Saint Nicholas in Havana and officially received Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who officiated the inauguration of that Holy shrine in January of 2004. In the decade that passed, we experienced the propagating of our faith in the states of Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, etc… just as we experienced – and continue to experience – the continuing drama of the people of Haiti, after the catastrophic earthquake of last January. A drama which unfortunately will heal, only after several years have passed.
Greece became acquainted with Christianity and lived its own Pentecost around two thousand years ago, through the Apostle Paul and the other Apostles. Greece is the most Continue reading “Latin America: Peoples in search of Orthodoxy”