“Blessed is God, who desires all men to be saved, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.” Peace and joy be upon you from the Pacific islands Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
With the help of our Good God three projects have been completed in Fiji: the majestic Holy Trinity Sacred Church, the St. Tabitha Orphanage and the Home for the unprotected women known as “Safe Home”.
The inauguration ceremony held on February 8 was a reward and completion of Joy for the Orthodox Fijians and Greeks who came from Greece, America, Australia and New Zealand in order to share with them through prayer and effort all the blessings of those days. Peace and blessings be upon the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, the blessed Christians of Greece and other countries who, through this Fraternity, contributed significantly to the purchase of this land and the completion of these projects.
The divine blessings continue to flow and have already reached the second island-state belonging to the Holy Metropolis of New Zealand along with Fiji and Samoa. The Orthodox Church has been officially recognized here as well by the Royal Government. A relative of King Tupou VI, Kisione Fakafanua, helped in finding and purchasing the land for the construction of a church in honor of Saint George the Triumphant and dwellings on the same plot for the priest rectory and the persons assisting the mission.
Peace and blessings be upon the members of the «St. John the Theologian» Missionary Society and the charitable Christians of Aspropyrgos as well as our Christian brothers- members of the Missionary Fraternity in Australia ‘Missionary Fr. Nicholas Marketos”. «Thanks to their love and generous contributions, we laid the foundations for the Mission on the beautiful island of Tonga, whose inhabitants are characterized by an upright, well-poised figure.
We would not like the third island-state of Samoa to be left disappointed. We went by plane from Tonga to Auckland, New Zealand, where, with the help of God, we conducted the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Trinity church that was celebrating, to the great joy of our Christians and us all. So, equipped with the rich grace of the Holy Spirit, we arrived in beautiful Samoa with the high mountains, the canyons and the cold waters, and above all, with its faithful and pious people.
Our trip was exploratory. We wanted to see whether it was possible to build there the church of St. John the Evangelist, as per the wish of a Christian family from Aspropyrgos.
Two things strengthened our willpower: first our wish to proceed with the construction of this church and second the beginning of the Mission on this island, which is populated by two hundred thousand souls.
The very first night I dreamed that I was at the Sacred Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos, dealing with the cleaning and tidying of this sacred place and then discussing with people of the Holy Monastery of John the Theologian the problems of this pilgrimage shrine of global fame.
The next morning, my companions Fr. Paul and Fr. Meletios came out in the hotel garden to pray. They were seen in their robes by the gardener and were asked whether they were Muslims. They answered negatively, telling him they were Orthodox Christians. Soon I was there myself and we made a brief catechesis on the historical overview and essence of Orthodoxy for him. Mr. Walesi (that was his name) was enthused and so was his fellow gardener Mr. Kelly, who begged us to go to his house and bless his sick wife. Later that day, we went to Oualesi’s house and conducted a short water blessing service for his own sick wife, who was suffering from terrible pains all over her body. We told them about the sign of the Holy Cross, what it means and how it should be made, and they did so with deep faith and full awareness of its symbolism until the end of the blessing service, when, by the Grace of God, all the pains of the sick woman had stopped. Then we met Mr. Pepe, pastor of a small Protestant group, who himself did not know the exact beliefs their group professed. It was with great interest and joy that he heard what we told him about Orthodoxy, and he agreed to embrace it and become an Orthodox priest.
Another evening we talked to a small gathering of their relatives about Patmos and John the Evangelist asking for their support in finding plots for erecting a church in his honor.
People in Samoa have a peculiarity. They are calm, smiling, and deeply religious. I think that they deserve to be members of the Holy and True Orthodox Church and not expect to be fed with the spiritual crumbs of the heretical Protestants, especially those of the extreme Mormons, who do not have the crucifix in their temples. But as without faith in the Resurrection gospel preaching loses all meaning, without believing in the Cross the Christian identity disappears and the theology of salvation in Christ through the God-man’s sacrifice on the cross loses its meaning.
Let us support this new opening of the Orthodox Church for the evangelization of this island, which will lead our brothers to salvation.
† Amphilochios of New Zealand