Fr. Lawrence Farley, Canada: The Not So Eastern Church





The Not So Eastern Church


Fr. Lawrence Farley, Canada



I can, I think, count on the fingers of my one hand the number of times I have described myself as an Eastern Orthodox. Usually the preferred self-designation is simply “Orthodox,” but sometimes this provokes confusion, as when I am further asked, “Oh, are you Jewish?” The respondent has clearly heard of Orthodox Jews, and supposes that I must be one of them, though you would think the big pectoral cross around my neck would tip them off somewhat that I was a Christian. On these occasions I am reduced to elaborating more fully, saying that I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian: “You know, like the Russians, or the Greeks?” The respondent’s eyes then glaze over for a moment, since I am neither Russian, nor Greek, but they usually let the matter drop. In these conversations, the adjective “eastern” serves to connect me with a known quantity, such as the Russian Orthodox Church or the Greek Orthodox Church—i.e. the ones on television with the fancy robes and the icons.

There is a reason for not referring to our Church as “the Eastern Orthodox Church”—namely, that we are not in fact eastern. Our own jurisdiction has its membership in the west (i.e. North America), and my own parish is situated on the extreme west coast of that western continent. So, in what sense are we eastern? Only in the historical sense, and long dead history at that. In the first millennium the Church was dispersed throughout the Roman world, living in the west from Britain to Rome and in the east, from Jerusalem to Parthia and beyond. (Yep, Parthia. Like I said: long dead history.) In those far off days, east was east and west was west and never (or rarely) the twain shall meet. The church organized itself into patriarchates, including the famous five of the so-called “Pentarchy”, even though the actual reality never was quite as tidy as all that. In this ancient system, you had Rome leading the west, and Constantinople leading the east. Latin flourished out west, and Greek out east (and later on, Slavic languages in the northern land of the Rus) and, oh yes, Syriac. In those days, the designations of “western church” and “eastern church” meant something, since the faithful who lived in the west didn’t often visit the east, and those in the east visited the west even less often. Most people, in fact, didn’t travel very far from their homes at all, and for the overwhelming majority a trip of a hundred miles was the trip of a lifetime. The Greeks stayed in Greece, and the British stayed in Britain. (The Irish monks took to travelling, but that counted as a kind of ascetic exploit, and was quite exceptional.) Thus “the eastern church” was the church you found in the eastern part of the Roman empire, and which had certain identifiable characteristics, including language, liturgical traditions, and a certain way of organizing its life. “The western church” was the one you found in the west, which also had its distinctive language (Latin), its liturgical traditions and ways of organizing itself. Geography largely determined where churches with these characteristics were to be found.

That was then, and this is now. Since then people have enjoyed a tremendous increase in mobility. Greeks no longer are to be found only in Greece; they can be found anywhere. And people formerly found only in the west are now found also in eastern regions. Thus, people of religions that were once found in geographical concentration in a particular place can now be found everywhere in the global village: Roman Catholicism is global—as is Orthodoxy. As is Islam.

In this world it makes little sense to refer to the Roman Catholic church (or to its Protestant daughters) as “the western church,” and little sense to refer to the Orthodox church as “the eastern church.” Geography has succumbed to mobility and world-wide diffusion. Could one perhaps salvage the designation “eastern” by using it to refer to the liturgical usages of the church that was once rooted and concentrated in the east? Could one say that things like the use of incense, and chanted services, and icons, and not using pews, are specifically and peculiarly eastern?

Well, no, actually. In the church of Britain before the Reformation, all of these things could be found there too. One entered a British church in (say) the fourteenth century and found Latin—and also icons all over the walls, and incense, and long chanted services, and no pews. It even had a large screen up front—the “rood screen” (not exactly an iconostas), separating the nave from the chancel. Things that we now most commonly associate with “the eastern Orthodox church” were once universal, even in the west. They are not so much specifically eastern as specifically Christian. The west has dropped most of them, and these things now survive only in the Orthodox Church.

I would suggest therefore that the issue is not whether a church is eastern, but whether its teaching is true. I sometimes meet dear friends who come from the “western churches” of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, who tell me that they could never convert to Orthodoxy because it is “eastern” and they are “western.” Conversion is treated as a kind of betrayal of their ancestors. But surely this is to do a disservice to one’s ancestors, who would prefer that one choose the truth whether it accords with family pedigree or not. And what about people from non-Christian backgrounds? What about people from India or China? Their ancestors were Hindus and Buddhists or Taoists, yet no one sensibly suggests that conversion to the Christian Faith involves a disservice to them. The fact is that for all people of whatever ancestry or geography, conversion involves taking Abraham and the patriarchs as their new ancestors, and like them “leaving your country and your father’s house” (Genesis 12:1). To be a Christian at all involves becoming a stranger to all the tribes of earth, and living as an alien and sojourner here, and of confessing that here we have continuing city (1 Peter 2:11, Hebrews 13:14). It is folly to say that we will embrace this eschatological rootlessness, but only if we can still retain cultural vestiges that defined our ancestors.

The Orthodox Church is not “the eastern Church.” It is simply “the Church”—the one that began in the east (i.e. Jerusalem) and from there spread out into all the world. Schisms and other catastrophes have attended it over the years as it soldiered on throughout the long and winding course of history. But it remains now what it always was. One can perhaps find our church defined as “the eastern church” in Google. But one cannot find it so described in the Creed. There we find it described with greater accuracy: “the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church”. Not so eastern, is it?


Answering Main Street Canada




Answering Main Street Canada



We offer you an article written by Fr. Geoffrey Korz, Managing Editor of Orthodox Canada and the Dean of All Saints of North America Orthodox Church in Hamilton ON, Canada.

Some years ago, I had the pleasure of dining in Toronto’s “Greek Town” with a sister in Christ, a Greek grandmother who had been around the Church all her life, and who was a true realist. As we walked through the warm summer streets, surrounded by mobs of young people – many of them Greek, and presumably Orthodox Christians – my friend let out an audible exclamation.

“Look at them, Father – they don’t even know what an Orthodox priest is! Why aren’t they at Church?! They should be ashamed of themselves!”

Of course hearing this, all these young people heard the voice of their own yia-yia, or grandmother, confronting them with their own lack of piety, spiritual observance, and Continue reading “Answering Main Street Canada”

The Department of Missions & Evangelism in USA & Canada




The Department of Missions

& Evangelism in USA & Canada




The Department of Missions and Evangelism was established in 1988 to “Make America Orthodox,” in the words of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. To fulfill that dream, the department endeavors to: 1) build new missions in North American cities of over 100,000 population which have no Orthodox Church of any jurisdiction; 2) respond to invitations of lay groups of Orthodox Christians who desire an English-speaking parish; 3) cultivate relationships with independent (generally Protestant) communities which desire to become Orthodox; 4) work with non-Orthodox pastors who desire to become Orthodox; 5) cooperate with College Ministry to develop mission parishes adjacent to major college campuses with no English-speaking Orthodox Church nearby; and 6) train and encourage Antiochian Orthodox priests and lay leaders to promote Orthodox Christian evangelism in their communities and begin new missions in nearby localities.

Since Metropolitan Philip founded this department 108 missions (excluding Western Rite parishes) have been established by the Antiochian Archdiocese. Of these, fifty-five have grown to full parishes. At present the department is developing missions in seven cities across the United States and Canada, and is exploring possibilities in several more.

Becoming Truly Human: the Spirit of Orthodox Christian Evangelism

by Sdn. Adam Lowell Roberts

Many of you may be familiar with the new Antiochian Archdiocese program Becoming Truly Human. Becoming Truly Human is a new evangelism program available to every parish in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and the ministry has been blessed to be shared with other jurisdictions.

While some may be weary of programs, this program has proven to be different. More than several priests and lay people have admitted they were wrong about their initial concerns. Others recognized right away that this program captures and shares the spirit of Orthodox evangelism. They applauded the Archdiocese for having a program which is effective, loving, Orthodox in spirit and nature, and above all helping our North American churches reconnect with our history of evangelism. We even have some overseas churches wanting to run the program.

Read more

Reflections on the Becoming Truly Human Program

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week outreach course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese that uses the vehicle of small group discussions and hosted meals to share the love of Christ. The following two articles by a layman and priest, tell the story of how this program is changing lives.

~~For many years as a Protestant, I witnessed to others because I thought it was my duty. After all, we had been scripturally mandated by the Great Commission to do so, hadn’t we? Unfortunately, try though I might, I can’t remember many of the names or personal circumstances of those with whom I shared the Gospel. I mostly thought that my work was finished and the rest was up to God. (Read James Blackstock’s reflection.)

~~For many years I have felt that in my parish, and in Orthodox Christian parishes in general, there is a need for an evangelism program that is more than simply posting the time of our services and asking parishioners to invite friends to the liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is definitely very powerful and full of the Grace of God. However, I think that most of our parishioners hesitate to invite others to come to an Orthodox Liturgy without laying some ground work that they often do not feel equipped to do. (Read a reflection by Fr. Michael Byars.)

“Love for our Brethren”:

AFR Interview Introduces New Program

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism, especially towards those who have no religion or church affiliation. The program uses the vehicle of small group discussions and shared meals to help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed.

In a June 24, 2015 podcast, Ancient Faith Ministries President John Maddex interviewed Charles Ajalat, one of the program’s founding committee members, about the new outreach. Charles is an attorney, the former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and a member of the Order of St. Ignatius. As one of the founders of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America, Charles is a veteran of start-up efforts, and in the interview he expressed his hopes that this new venture will help people “discuss questions…and then want to go forward into a catechism class with a priest.”

Read more

Department of Missions and Evangelism News Archive

Ο Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνας θεραπεύει δαιμονισμένη στον Καναδά & έπειτα εκείνη του ζητάει να εξομολογηθεί




Ο Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνας

θεραπεύει δαιμονισμένη στον Καναδά & έπειτα εκείνη του ζητάει

να εξομολογηθεί

Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνας:

“Είχα πάει στον Καναδά και εκεί μίλησα στην Ελληνική ομογένεια, για τον διάβολο, για το πώς μάς ξεγελά και μάς υποσκελίζει στην αμαρτία. Όταν τελείωσα την ομιλία και έφευγε ό κόσμος από το χώρο όπου έγινε ή ομιλία, ξαφνικά άρχισε να γίνεται ένας μεγάλος σαματάς. Ήρθαν κάποιες κυρίες τότε και με ενημέρωσαν ότι κάποια μεγαλοκυρία είχε δαιμονιστεί. Φώναζε και ούρλιαζε ή δαιμονισμένη λέγοντας λόγια για μένα:

Με φανέρωσε αυτός ό άνθρωπος, με έβγαλε στη φόρα. Τί γυρεύει εδώ στον Καναδά; Ήρθε να πάρει τούς δικούς μου, τούς οποίους είχα καλά δεμένους. Θα του κάνω κακό και θα τον εκδικηθώ και πολλά άλλα παρόμοια έλεγε ή δαιμονισμένη.

Την μετέφεραν σέ ένα δωμάτιο. Και μόλις λίγο ηρέμησε, πήγα και την συνάντησα. Είχε κλειστά τα μάτια και έτρεμε σαν το ψάρι. Κατά το χρέος μου άνοιξα το Ευχολόγιο, φόρεσα το πετραχήλι μου και της διάβασα τις ευχές του Μεγάλου Βασιλείου και όταν τελείωσα, άνοιξε τα μάτια, σταμάτησε να τρέμει και με λέει:

Πάτερ, θέλω να εξομολογηθώ! Πράγματι την εξομολόγησα. Ή κοπέλα αυτή είχε δαιμόνιο για πολλά χρόνια, αλλά δεν είχε εκδηλωθεί μέσα της. Κοινωνούσε, εκκλησιαζόταν κανονικά, αλλά δεν γνώριζε oτι ήταν δαιμονισμένη.

Με αφορμή όμως εκείνη την ομιλία πού είχα κάνει εκδηλώθηκε το δαιμόνιο πού είχε.
Πολλοί πού ήταν παρόντες στο σκηνικό με την δαιμονισμένη, ωφελήθηκαν πολύ και άνθρωποι πού δεν πίστευαν στα δαιμόνια και στον διάβολο, πίστεψαν στην ύπαρξη των πονηρών πνευμάτων από το περιστατικό αυτό.

Το περιστατικό απλώθηκε πολύ γρήγορα στην ευρύτερη περιοχή και με πήραν τηλέφωνο και από τις Η.Π.Α να πάω και εκεί στην ομογένεια να τούς μιλήσω και να τούς εξομολογήσω. Έτσι με τη Χάρη του Θεού πήγα και σέ εκείνους τούς ανθρώπους και βοηθήθηκαν και εκείνοι”.


Ο Θεός Είναι Μαζί μας, Εμείς Είμαστε Μαζί Του;

εκδ. Ορθόδοξη Κυψέλη

Θεσσαλονίκη 2015

Επιστροφή στην Ορθοδοξία: Το μακρύ ταξίδι επιστροφής του π. Lawrence Farley, Καναδάς – Από Αγγλικανός ιερέας, Ορθόδοξος ιερέας





π. Lawrence Farley, Καναδάς


Επιστροφή στην Ορθοδοξία:

Το μακρύ ταξίδι επιστροφής του

π. Lawrence Farley, Καναδάς


Στο ταξίδι της επιστροφής μου στην Ορθοδοξία, πήρα το μακρύ δρόμο, έκανα μεγάλους κύκλους. Γεννήθηκα στα προάστια του Toronto, στην περιοχή του Ontario στον Καναδά, και παρακολουθούσα τις Κυριακές το Προτεσταντικό Κατηχητικό Σχολείο, όπως όλα τα άλλα παιδιά της ηλικίας μου. Επειδή η Χριστιανική Πίστη στο σπίτι μου ήταν περισσότερο στο όνομα παρά πραγματική, όταν το Κατηχητικό Σχολείο έγινε βαρετό, σταμάτησα να πηγαίνω και σύντομα βυθίστηκα στήν αγνωστικιστική έφηβική μετριότητα. Δεν με ενδιέφεραι να πάρω απαντήσεις στις απορίες μου περι του Θεού. Περισσότερο ενδιαφερόμουν για τα κορίτσια. (Αν και αυτά ενδιαφερόντουσαν λίγο για μένα.)

Όμως γύρω στα μέσα της εφηβείας μου, σκέφτηκα ότι η ζωή πρέπει να αποτελείται από κάτι περισσότερο από ένα ανόητο χορό των ατόμων, και έτσι πήγα πίσω στην “Ηνωμένη Εκκλησία” ψάχνοντας για απαντήσεις. Εκεί συνάντησα μερικούς ανθρώπους της ηλικίας μου που μου σύστησαν το “Κίνημα του Ιησού” (ήταν 1970), και στο “Κίνημα του Ιησού” γνώρισα καλήτερα τον Κύριο μας Ιησού Χριστό…

… Ένα πράγμα που έλειπε, όμως, από την “Ηνωμένη Εκκλησία”, ήταν κάποια ιστορική μνήμη. Η “Ενωμένη Εκκλησία” στην οποία γεννήθηκα και ανατράφηκα δημιουργήθηκε το 1925 και η μαμά μου δημιουργήθηκε (γεννήθηκε) το 1921, και διαισθάνθηκα ότι η Εκκλησία ενός ατόμου θα πρέπει τουλάχιστον να είναι μεγαλύτερη από ό,τι η μητέρα του ατόμου αυτού. Άρχισα να αναζητώ μία αίσθηση της ιστορίας στην εμπειρία της “Εκκλησίας” μου, μαζί με την ομορφιά στη λατρεία, και μια επιβεβαίωση της πραγματικότητας που είχα βιώσει στο “Κίνημα του Ιησού”. Η φιλελεύθερη “Ηνωμένη Εκκλησία” δεν μπορούσε να μου προμηθεύσει αυτά, έτσι άρχισα να κοιτάζω αλλού.

Ως Προτεστάντης , φυσικά, δεν αλίευα εκτός της προτεσταντικής πισίνας. Έγινα ένας Αγγλικανός, και στη συνέχεια, Αγγλικανός ιερέας.

Είχα χάλια χρονοδιάγραμμα… Για πολύ καιρό προσπάθησα να προσποιηθώ ότι η Αγγλικανική Εκκλησία δεν ήταν απλώς ένα άλλο είδος φιλελεύθερου Προτεσταντισμού. Αλλά η πραγματικότητα είναι ένα αμείλικτο πράγμα, και τελικά είχα να ομολογήσω ότι η Αγγλικανική Εκκλησία στην οποία μπήκα ήταν σε μεγάλο βαθμό, όπως οι “Ηνωμένη Εκκλησία” από την οποία έφυγα. Έτσι, πού να πάω; Στη συνέχεια, προνοητικά, ανακάλυψα την Ορθοδοξία.

… Ο Ρωμαιοκαθολικισμός δεν ήταν ποτέ “στο τραπέζι” για μένα. Κρίμα που οι Ορθόδοξοι δεν μιλούσαν αγγλικά. Όταν σύντομα ανακάλυψα ότι μιλούσαν αγγλικά, γαντζώθηκα. Βρήκα στην Ορθοδοξία τη σύγκλιση των δύο πράγματων που είχα σε αξία πάνω από όλα στην Εκκλησία: μια εμπειρία του Αγίου Πνεύματος και της Πατερικής συνέχειας.

Μεταστροφή για μένα σημαίνει να γυρνάς Σπίτι και η επίλυση των εντάσεων μεταξύ του χαρισματικού και του ιστορικόυ. Καθώς έγινα Ορθόδοξος τα πολύτιμα πράγματα που είχα στο παρελθόν μου, βρήκαν την τελειοποίησή τους και ήμουν πλέον σε θέση να τα απολαύσω στο σωστό χώρο.

Είμαι ευγνώμων στο Θεό, τόσο για όλα τα μέρη που έχω πάει, όσο και για το πού βρίσκομαι τώρα.


Άβελ-Τάσος Γκιουζέλης


Πηγή & αρχικό κείμενο:









The path of the Native American Mohawk’s Chief Frank Natawe

led him to the bosom of Orthodoxy


Dr. John (Yanni) Hadjinikolaou

Rate Professor of  McGill University in Montreal, Canada

in the magazine Synaxis

“The passing of a Mohawk Native American”

Here is the story of Frank Natawe an American Native Mohawk’s Chief (1927-2000) who lived and died as an Orthodox Christian (Eastern Orthodox Church), at the same time defending his tribe’s tradition. He even began translating the words of the most holy ceremony of Orthodoxy into his own people’s language.


Saturday night. Very few lights were on.  In the Russian Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Vespers have just started. The shadowy silhouettes of the few faithful who were attending the service became more defined, as the candles were lit, one by one, in the candle stand. The iconostasis of the altar was very imposing; it was something that was carved by experienced craftsmen at the beginning of the century…….

It was my second time at Vespers, years ago… The words of the prayer “mirthful light” in Slavonic gave one a sense of inner peace and relaxation.  Everything seemed to be in prayer at that moment; for the day that passed and the day that was to come. After the madness of the day, this refuge of thankfulness actually calmed the wild beasts of the mind….

In the dim, half-light I could discern a few of the profiles there: an old Russian lady with her grandchild, a tall, skinny, middle-aged man, a young girl around fifteen, a young family with their two children… and suddenly, my attention was caught by a figure near the large window.  Directly below it, I made out a silhouette that was completely different to all the others.  It was a fifty-year old Native American with vivid, characteristic features, and his long hair tied back in a ponytail that reached his waist. My gaze stopped upon him… What a strange figure in here…  I imagined he was just a Continue reading “CANADA: THE PASSING OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN MOHAWK’S CHIEF FRANK NATAWE (1927-2000)”

Η πορεία του Frank Natawe φυλάρχου των Αυτόχθονων Αμερικανών Mohawk του Καναδά, στην αγκαλιά της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας





Η πορεία του Frank Natawe φυλάρχου

των Αυτόχθονων Αμερικανών Mohawk του Καναδά,

στην αγκαλιά της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας


Από τόν

Δρ. Ιωάννη Χατζηνικολάου, Καθηγητή στο Πανεπιστήμιο

McGill του Montreal, Καναδάς

“Το πέρασμα ενός Αυτόχθονου Αμερικανού Mohawk”

στο περιοδ. Σύναξις

Η ιστορία του Αυτόχθονου Αμερικανού Frank Natawe αρχηγού των Mohawk, που έζησε και πέθανε ως Ορθόδοξος Χριστιανός, υπερασπιζόμενος παράλληλα και την παράδοση της φυλής του. Άρχισε μάλιστα να μεταφράζει τα λόγια της πιο ιερής τελετής της Ορθοδοξίας στη γλώσσα του λαού του.


Σάββατο βράδυ. Λιγοστά φώτα. Στη ρωσική Μητρόπολη των Αγίων Πέτρου και Παύλου ο εσπερινός μόλις έχει αρχίσει. Οι σκιερές σιλουέτες των λιγοστών πιστών που παρευρίσκονται, παίρνουν όγκο καθώς ανάβουν τα κεριά στα μανουάλια. Το τέμπλο υποβλητικό, φτιαγμένο από έμπειρους τεχνίτες στις αρχές του αιώνα…

Είναι η δεύτερη μου φορά στον Εσπερινό, πάνε χρόνια τώρα… Το «φως ιλαρόν» στα σλαβονικά δημιουργεί μια αίσθηση εσώτερης γαλήνης και ανάπαυσης. Όλα δέονται τούτη την ώρα για την μέρα που φεύγει και για την μέρα που έρχεται. Μετά την τρέλλα της μέρας τούτο το ευχαριστιακό καταφύγιο καθησυχάζει τα θηρία του νου…

Μέσα στο ημίφως διακρίνω μερικά προφίλ. Μια γερόντισσα ρωσίδα με το εγγονάκι της, ένα ψηλό ξερακιανό μεσήλικα, μια κοπελλίτσα γύρω στα δεκαπέντε, μια νεαρή οικογένεια με τα δυο τους παιδάκια… και ξάφνου το μάτι μου πέφτει κοντά στο μεγάλο παράθυρο. Ακριβώς από κάτω διακρίνω μια μορφή αλλιώτικη από τις άλλες. Ένας πενηντάρης Αυτόχθονας Αμερικάνος με Continue reading “Η πορεία του Frank Natawe φυλάρχου των Αυτόχθονων Αμερικανών Mohawk του Καναδά, στην αγκαλιά της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας”