Witness history as thousands of people enter the Orthodox Church in Guatemala and Mexico.More information available here.
WHO ARE THE MAYAN ORTHODOX?
The Mayan Orthodox are a group of several thousand Guatemalans and Mexicans who came into the Orthodox Church in 2010 under the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico. They are called "Mayan" Orthodox because the majority of the converts are descendants of the ancient Mayan groups who lived in Central America long before Europeans arrived. The Mayans might seem like a relic of ancient history, but there are still millions of Mayan people who live in Central America and speak their native, Mayan languages. Now, a huge group of those Mayans have entered the Orthodox Church.
Note: the technical term for the people is "Maya," but the popular term "Mayan" is used throughout the site.
HOW DID THEY COME INTO THE ORTHODOX CHURCH?
Most of these people were originally Roman Catholics who fell away for various reasons. Some of the people wanted to stay in the Catholic Church but were alienated because of their non-traditional, often charismatic worship practices. Other people came from a different background that was liturgically conservative, and they left because they thought poorly of their bishops or they disagreed with changes in the Catholic Church (e.g., Vatican II). These diverse communities were all united by the late Fr. Andrés Girón, a former Roman Catholic priest and an active politician. Through his charisma and his leadership in land reform movements, Fr. Andrés united the diverse communities and brought them into the Orthodox Church in 2010.
IS THIS GROUP RELATED TO THE ORPHANAGE IN GUATEMALA CITY?
People from across the world have traveled to the Hogar Rafael Ayau, an Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala City. In terms of its history, the orphanage is not connected with the Mayan communities. The nuns who run the orphanage came into the Orthodox Church through different life events, and they entered into a different church jurisdiction (Antiochian) than that of the Mayan communities (Greek). There has been some interaction between these two different Orthodox groups: two of the Mayan clergy were ordained at the nuns' monastery by Metropolitan Athenagoras, and at one point some of the orphans from the Hogar lived with Fr. Andrés Girón. At this point, however, the collaboration has not developed further. Nevertheless, by God's grace and through the leadership of the hierarchs, the two groups could work more closely in the future to create an even stronger movement towards Orthodoxy in Central America...