The Church of young people

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you….”

This article is not a simple update on the missionary activity of Orthodoxy in the lands of Colombia and Venezuela, but a message for the teaching of the Orthodox Faith to a Western world that is looking for an answer for its own spiritual life. After all, the message of the Gospel was given for every person on earth and this was done in Greek ways, terms and interpretation which brings to the fore the missionary calling of the One Apostolic Church. Some fear that we will confuse the Mission with proselytism, but the truth is that before the Orthodox Church officially arrived in our places, there were already many of us who were looking for the right faith and worship, and today this number is constantly multiplying. Orthodoxy, which the Orthodox Greeks have bequeathed to all mankind with the best and most authentic way of life, would be limited to Israel and Palestine without the Greek contribution. But the Greeks must not forget their responsibility for saving the Gospel as guardians of the Holy Tradition and the living revelation of God in human history. When a person becomes Orthodox, the one who guided or helped him becomes a new Apostle Paul and is written in the Bible of Life as a great benefactor of his neighbor and great is his salary from the heavenly Father.

As regards the Mission in our own province, I would like to inform you that we are progressing towards the completion of the construction of the Sacred. Church of St. John the Forerunner on the border of Colombia and Venezuela, but we still lack door installation, fencing and other building details that we must implement in order to make the church building perfect, built in an insular style, in blue and white color to remind us of the blessed Greek flag of the homeland, which is a source of culture, wisdom and the Truth in Christ.

New parishes have been opened and new communities of people in different parts of our province are seeking to enter the arms of the Orthodox Faith. However, this implies a need for churches, liturgical equipment, catechetical texts in Spanish and so on, as well as a pastoral presence of a bishop, which forces us to make long trips and many expenses due to the long distances.

The rains also brought discomfort and suffering and spread poverty and misery to families that lost everything and have no one to turn to for help but the Church. That is why along with the work we do to keep Hellenism in different parts of Colombia and Venezuela and the pastoral and liturgical care of the neophytes, we also do charitable missionary work, as mentioned in the teaching of Christ: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Many times I hear some brothers harshly judging other peoples who are not Orthodox, as if they did not want to know the Truth, but as a new Orthodox and a bishop I ask the following questions. Is it only the fault of those who did not seek or are not seeking Orthodoxy, or are those who hold the truth of the Orthodox faith not interested in fulfilling the mission and command of Christ? Is there a missionary awareness among the faithful of the Orthodox Church at a general level, or does it only concern some people and groups, associations and brotherhoods that show interest in the spread of Orthodoxy as a spiritual response to all those who ask for it all over the earth? Do we understand the blessing we have and receive from God when we help the missionary work and get those people to know the Orthodox life in Christ?

Distribution of shoes by the Colombian Bishop Timothy

Unfortunately, in our territory, while many Christian denominations and confessions arrive with human resources and financial power to teach their erroneous doctrines, the Orthodox Church does so with great financial weakness, and much more, without human resources to help in offering missionary ministry, as our priests and missionaries do not even get a salary. If an Orthodox missionary has to beg to fulfill his mission and is subject to constant financial pressure, and even more so if the clergy are obliged to work beyond their pastoral mission in order to be able to survive, then how can he practice his liturgical, pastoral and spiritual ministry in an adequate way for the faithful in the Church

The most urgent need that exists in our territory is to give our parishes the ability to sustain themselves, but this involves financial and human resources and will require a few years’ time so that they themselves can finance their projects and exercise catechetical ministry competently and with the certainty that what they transmit is the teaching and experience of Orthodoxy as a way of life.

Every Orthodox believer, today more than ever, must understand what it means to have a missionary consciousness so that we can respond with unity and power to the request of many people to learn and enter the embrace of the Mother Orthodox Church and the mission “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations …” .

I see the work you are doing as the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity in order to support the missionary struggle in the various places where Orthodoxy is growing today. I also know that it is not easy for you to do it and that you face many difficulties, but we praise God that you have this very special calling from God, because there are few in our Church who have understood the mission and command ““Go ye therefore, and teach all nations …” .

I have now completed two years of high priesthood after I was ordained a bishop on November 8, 2020 by the hands of Their Eminences Metropolitans Athenagoras of Mexico and Alexios of the OCA and His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Myrina at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for being our fellow travelers on the missionary road in the land of Colombia and Venezuela. With your own prayer, love and brotherhood, human loneliness and suffering are dealt with in a better way and your own voice and consolation is an oasis in the most difficult moments of our ministry and mission.

                                                †  Timotheos of Assos

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