Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Greek Archdiocese "Se habla español"

The OCA and Antiochian jurisdictions already have rather developed Spanish outreach efforts. It's interesting seeing a Greek effort take shape.

Saint Augustine, FL (GOARCH) - The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will host its first-ever conference for the organization of outreach ministry to Spanish-speaking persons with a conference at Saint Photios National Shrine in St. Augustine, Florida, this April 28-30.

The conference is part of an initiative spearheaded by Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the Shrine's Hierarchal Proistamenos, or pastor, and will explore strategies to better serve Spanish-speaking Orthodox Christians and reach out to new members. Participants will seek to create a foundation for a lasting national ministry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

Fr. John Bakas, Dean of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, will headline the conference with a keynote address entitled, "Breaking Down Ethnic Barriers." Various panel discussions and workshops will review existing Spanish-language liturgical materials and ways to expand into communities where existing Spanish-speaking Orthodox Christians exist.

The conference will feature dozens of clergy and laypeople from throughout the nation who are Spanish speakers or who have experience with Spanish-speaking communities. Unique to a Greek Orthodox gathering, worship services will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

The initiative was launched by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who tasked Bishop Demetrios with the organization of a missionary and philanthropic outreach to Spanish-speaking persons throughout the nation, believed to be one of the fastest-growing groups of Orthodox faithful in the country.

“We are not seeking to transform our Greek Orthodox Church into an Hispanic Orthodox Church,” noted Bishop Demetrios, “We are simply seeking to make our parishes more welcoming to those who come to us from such a cultural background, while enhancing our ministry to retain the families of our parishes where inter-cultural experiences are a present reality.”

Thus far, over twenty clergy and laypeople have expressed an interest in this initiative, according to Bishop Demetrios and there is room for more participation.

The funding for the conference was provided by a grant from Leadership 100, an organization of the Greek Orthodox Church that provides financial support to various church-based initiatives.

For additional information or to participate in the program, please email bishop@bishopdemetrios.com.

St. Photios is the first National Shrine of the Archdiocese and is located in historic St. Augustine, Florida, on St. George Street between Orange and Cuna Streets, in a building that once served as a place of refuge in the 1700s for Greek settlers that fled a failed British colony and were supported by Spanish settlers.


  1. Unique to a Greek Orthodox gathering, worship services will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

    If this is anything like GOARCH's "worship services will be conducted entirely in English", they will dramatically underestimate the amount Greek retained throughout the typical Sunday Liturgy (not to mention the even more Greek-heavy services on Great Feasts, Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha. That is, it's simply the religious section of the Hellenistic culture club with a modicum of English (or in this case Spanish) to help visitors navigate the museum.

  2. Now they decide they're a missionary Church with services in the vernacular.

    1. Met. Philip of blessed memory once offered to go under +Bartholomew's omophorion if he moved to New York City.

  3. I find this story rather humorous. A few years ago, I attended a Greek Church because a friend of mine invited me (I was Antiochian at the time). After the Liturgy during the coffee hour, a woman asked me where I attended Church. I told her that my parish was St George. She said, "Oh, is that the Greek parish in the next town?" I said, "No, it's an Antiochian parish." She said, "Oh, you're not Orthodox."

  4. There is an old adage that states "when God created hunankind He placed limitations on our intelligence. Unfortuntely He didn't do the same with our stupidity."

    1. well it looks like we are in a divide and conquer mode again,,,, way back when fan noli had all the albanians,, then all of a sudden mark lipa shows up under the goa with 2 parishes,, a diocese of 2 parishes in scoba no less with equal rank to nolis group,,, then a group of antiochians break away and go under the jerusalem patriarchate,,one that should have been arabicized years ago but is still led by the greek invaders,,, this jerusalem group in the usa is dissolved but instead of shepharding them back to their roots - antioch,,,no, the jerusalem group under the goa is formed,,, now they are harboring russians,,,it seems that they just love to stir the pot and create confusion,,, and i must ask where is the christiaity in all this?

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