Thirst For Christ

This is the century of Orthodoxy. The central theme and the big question though is: “Are we ready to respond to the great request that many people make to know our faith, Orthodoxy?”

I believe that it is necessary to consider seriously creating within the theological schools disciplines that deal directly with the subject, in order to train people with an authentic vocation to exercise the Mission, able to respond to the cultural and demographic realities of each nation. To be a missionary, it is not enough to want it; it is necessary to know, to experience and to be able to use the best methodologies that allow the transmission of faith beyond simple theory, to move from Orthodoxy to Orthopraxy. It is not merely about imparting concepts, but about presenting to young believers the path and exercise that derives from the Orthodox spiritual life inherited from the experience of the Church Fathers through repentance, purification and self-emptying, which lead to enlightenment.

The Orthodox Church must be a missionary Church which does not ignore the request addressed to it by many people in order to know the true and pure faith of Christianity that it contains, and which fulfills the mission that God gave us through the Holy Apostles, who obeyed the Lord’s mandate, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Mat. 28:19).

Besides the introduction, I would like to inform you that the work we started together for the construction of the H. Church in honor of St. Athanasius the Great and of the Virgin Mary is progressing. We had stopped for a while since for the Christmas vacation Colombians suspend their work and activities for a large part towards the end of the year, but in January the project was continued, and it is currently moving forward at a steady pace. We soon hope to complete at least all the building constructions. I want to thank each one of you for your cooperation with the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity. It is your help and kind support that allows this missionary work to develop in Africa, Latin America, Korea and various parts of the world, because together we can contribute to the Evangelization of the people on the four corners of the earth.

Likewise, new Orthodox communities are emerging in the depths of the Colombian Andean Mountains. This is how the missionary work moves forward. We try to give answers to those who ask to know the Orthodox faith, which is why we need new Priests but also the tools required for liturgical life, such as chalices, coverings, priestly vestments and many more that you already know are a fundamental part of the ecclesiastical equipment of every parish. When I mention the issue of the new communities in the depths of the mountains of Colombia, I must point out that many families in our country live far from the cities and towns. If a Greek saw them, he would say that they are “jungle dwellers”, although for us they are not since their places are considered trails and rural areas. Some of them are more than an hour away, while others are up to nine hours into the mountain. These families meet in a simple house for a catechetical session and celebrate the Divine Liturgy under the pastoral and spiritual guidance of Father Juan Pablo, who tirelessly tours the farms on a mule or on foot.

Finally, I would like to thank you all wholeheartedly for participating in this work of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and ask for your prayers these days, as my father in the flesh due to bad state of health and advanced age is preparing for his departure from earthly life. I ask the Lord to give him “a Christian ending to his life: painless, blameless and peaceful, and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ. Amen.”

 † Timothy of Assos

Bishop Assistant for Colombia and Venezuela

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