Blog / missions
Physician, diplomat, scholar and, above all, theologian, St. Maruthas was a man for all seasons and a man for all reasons, the most noble being his dedication to the service of Jesus Christ, expressing the will of God and man in various ways.
"The odds against anyone born a Christian in the early third century, particularly in the city of Neocaesaria, were staggering, but there was born in that city in 203 a man who reversed those odds in Christianity’s favor and who, as events bore out, made the number seventeen a magic number. It was by coincidence that the number seventeen marked milestones in an illustrious career, but divine design that diverted a pagan from a course that would have led to oblivion to a course which led to sainthood and glory..."
"At Paul’s suggestion, Titus went to his native Crete alone, there to promote the establishment of houses of worship and to provide the necessary personnel for the maintenance of a cohesive Christian Church to serve the needs of all the people."
It's Missions Week here at Hellenic College Holy Cross! If you've attended a service in our chapel this week, you might have heard Greek, Slavonic, Romanian, Albanian, and even Hawai'an. Our campus is brimming with speakers, events, and other missions-related activities.
In the spirit of this week, we thought we'd share with you two of our favorite books about Orthodox missions.
Mission in Christ's Way, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania
If you haven't heard of Archbishop Anastasios, you need to.
After the fall of Communism in the early 1990s, the church in Albania had all but been destroyed. Even a simple belief in God had been outlawed--a severity that distinguished Albania from its cousins in the Soviet bloc--and the church's supply of priests had dwindled from 440 to 22.
It was to this situation that Archbishop Anastasios was sent, with the task of resurrecting the church in Albania. He succeeded; today, the church in Albania is growing exponentially. His Eminence has also worked hard to revisit the role of missions in Orthodoxy, emphasizing that missions is the call of all Christians, not just those who live in the jungle:
In each country, the Church is called to glorify God with her own voice. That means that in missionary work there must be a sincere respect for the identity of every nation, an investigation into the past of each particular people...
This means, we must endeavor not only to "adapt," but to "incarnate" the logos of God into the language and customs of the country; and the sanctification of the people's characteristics, so that they may become truly themselves, develop their own voice and add their own contribution to the common doxological hymn--always in harmony of the whole Church.
Hooked yet? The entire book is that good!
Go Forth: Stories of Missions and Resurrection in Albania, Fr. Luke Veronis
Speaking of Albania, we'd also like to tell you about this title by one of our HCHC professors, Fr. Luke Veronis. Fr. Luke and his family spent many years in the mission field, first in Kenya and then in Albania, working directly with Archbishop Anastasios. While Mission in Christ's Way gives you the "why" of Orthodox missions, Go Forth gives you the "how." Go Forth is a first-hand account of the joys and challenges of missionary life; it reads like Fr. Luke's personal diary.
April 25, 2000
Since my return from America, the electricity has become much worse. We were losing electricity only an hour here or there before Christmas, but we heard that our power line is no longer aligned with the university dormitory line, and thus...we have no electricity fifteen hours a day...
Of course, whenever I think of our own problems, I then think of the reality for the Albanians. It has now been nine years since the fall of communism, and this European country still struggles with such fundamental issues such as electricity...
Yet, in the midst of the hardships, Fr. Luke's stories brim with the hope of the Gospel:
One of the greatest ways to evangelize the world is for us to become instruments of God's reconciliation. This is our witness to the world. This is what missions and evangelism are all about. First, to reconcile ourselves to God. Then, to break away from our egocentric, comfortable lives and struggle to reconcile ourselves with our enemies, as well as to help the enemies be reconciled with one another. O Lord, please make us instruments of your peace! Amen!
You can find both these titles--and many more--here at Holy Cross Bookstore.