Episcopalian Minister & Congregation Convert in Frederick, Maryland, USA



Episcopalian Minister & Congregation Convert

in Frederick, Maryland, USA





It appears the fruits of St. John of San Francisco’s labors have paid off. After a year of instruction and a prayer, an Episcopalian clergymen and many from his congregation entered the Orthodox Church. While the members of the congregation became Orthodox Christians in April, their former minister was ordained to the Holy Priesthood a little over a week ago.

The now Fr. James Hamrick is pastor of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Frederick, MD. He was a minister in the United Methodist Church for years, but as he was looking for ancient faith, he found himself in the Charismatic Episcopal Church for a few years. At least until now. The CEC underwent a major rupture, causing the bishop who ordained Fr. Hamrick to question the notion of Protestantism altogether.

He said, he “believed that God’s authority was not only found in the Scriptures, as he felt Protestant churches emphasized, but also in the apostolic succession and sacred traditions.”

This invariably led him to Orthodoxy.

In keeping with the authentic, ancient liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Orthodox West, the new converts opted to be Western Orthodox. What does that look like? It resembles what an old Tridentine Roman Catholic Liturgy would look like, but in English. There are many variations to how Western Orthodox celebrate their liturgy (in many WO churches, they use the term ‘Mass’).For example, there is the Divine Liturgy of St. Ambrose which some use, as well as the Divine Liturgy of St. Gregory the Great (which resembles the ancient Pre-Vatican II Catholic Liturgy, but in English) and the Divine Liturgy of St. Tikhon, which is similar to the Anglican Book of Common prayer.

All of these have been slightly modified to conform to Orthodox doctrine, such as deleting the Filioque clause from the Creed and commemorating Orthodox Bishops. These Western Orthodox Christians keep to the same spiritual heritage as was seen in the West before the Schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches. Will his conversion influence other Protestant clergy to bring their flocks to the historic Church? Time will tell.

It will be interesting to see if disillusioned Episcopalians, Methodists and Lutherans convert en masse to Orthodoxy, given the fact that both denominations now support homosexual clergy (with the United Methodist Church pursuing full communion with the Episcopalians, who passed similar measures recently), after an agreement of full communion was signed between the two last week.

The parishioners of St. John the Baptist have remodeled an old church to make it acceptable for Western Orthodox worship.A total of 26 people were received into the Orthodox Church, with other Orthodox supporting them. Today, Fr. Hamrick celebrated his first liturgy as an Orthodox priest. May God grant him and his parishioners many years!


Video: Fr. James Bernstein, USA: Surprised by Christ



Fr. James Bernstein, USA: Surprised by Christ

I knew right then, in that second… – Trudy Ellmore, USA



I knew right then, in that second…

by Trudy Ellmore, USA



I Knew Right Then, In That Second…


My family of origin is Roman Catholic, the faith I practiced until I was 18. My love of God was deep and personal. There was never a time in my life when God was not present, even in my earliest memories. Yet, when someone witnessed to me and asked,

“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t, you’re going to hell”

my reaction was one of panic. I turned away from my childhood church to a non-denominational fundamentalist church to allay my fear of damnation. There I met my first husband. After our marriage, we became involved in a Southern Baptist church where we both were baptized by immersion.

Following my husband’s death after 26 months of marriage, my infant son and I returned to my hometown. Thinking all Baptist churches were alike, I joined an American Baptist church, where I met my current husband, who was attending Seminary with the intention of pastoring in the Baptist denomination. We served the church for 5 years until he transitioned to higher education fundraising.

For the next 20 years, it was in the American Baptist denomination where my faith and love of God was nurtured and grew deeper and deeper, where I taught children and adult Sunday school classes, counseled children for Continue reading “I knew right then, in that second… – Trudy Ellmore, USA”

A Life Changed By Icons – Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany



A Life Changed By Icons


Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany





—Please tell us about your background and your journey to the Orthodox Church.

My name is Cliff (Isaac in Orthodox Baptism) Gardner, and this is my background. I was raised in a Protestant Southern Baptist family. We were in the military; my father was in the U.S. Air Force. I have four brothers, a family of five boys, and we moved all over the world. We lived most our lives in America and then in Germany, where I was as a teenager. No matter where my parents moved, they always found a Southern Baptist church, including in Puerto Rico, where I was born, and Germany, where our German pastor was Southern Baptist!

I grew up in Miami, Florida where my mother was from, so we moved back to Miami after my father retired from the Air Force. Miami is where I went to high school. It was when I was in the high school that I felt called to be a missionary. I wanted to be a Protestant missionary/Bible translator in Indonesia. So I went to a Bible school in Chicago called the Moody Bible Institute—a famous Bible school. I studied Bible-Theology/Greek; it was at Moody where I first started to interact with people from the Muslim world. I was very attracted to working with Muslims. I ended up going to the University of Illinois at Chicago where I studied linguistics, Middle East studies and Arabic. This is how I met my wife Marilyn.

She was raised in Pakistan, as her parents were Baptist missionaries for over thirty-five years there. She went to nursing school in Chicago. She was a nurse and I was a linguist, and we met back to back in an Indian restaurant.

“I was amazed by the worship, the liturgy, and the icons.”

We first moved to Pakistan in 1986 where I taught English to Pakistani government employees. Pakistan was Marilyn’s home, and we were involved in a Protestant church there. Then we moved to Egypt in 1989, where we lived for seven years; this is where I first encountered Orthodoxy. I don’t think I ever met anyone who was Orthodox before I moved to Egypt. I had an Egyptian friend in Chicago, so I had met one Oriental Orthodox person before. But when I moved to Egypt, I was an English teacher and I started to meet Coptic Orthodox Christians, who were very amazing and very faithful. One of my colleagues, an English teacher, was Orthodox. She was always fasting and I didn’t understand why. She said that she fasted over two hundred days of theyear. And I was so Continue reading “A Life Changed By Icons – Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany”

Η μεταστροφή ενός Άγγλου ιατρού από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία και η Ευχή του Ιησού, “Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ ελέησόν με”



Η μεταστροφή ενός Άγγλου ιατρού από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία και η Ευχή του Ιησού, “Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ ελέησόν με”

Ἀναφέρει ὁ π. Στέφανος Ἀναγνωστόπουλος:

«Πρίν μερικά χρόνια, κάποιος Ἄγγλος γιατρός βαπτίσθηκε Ὀρθόδοξος Χριστιανός καί ἔμαθε νά λέη τήν Εὐχή “Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, ἐλέησόν με” στά ἀγγλικά. Ἔτσι, ἄρχισε σιγά-σίγα νά τή λέη συστηματικά ὅλη τήν ἡμέρα, μέχρι πού γλυκάθηκε τόσο πολύ, ὥστε νά ἀφιερώνη σ᾽ αὐτή τήν ἐργασία καί κάποιες ὧρες ἀπ᾽ τή νύχτα. Μέ τόν καιρό, ὅμως, ὅσο χρόνιζε αὐτή ἡ ἀδολεσχία μέσα στήν ψυχή του, σέ μία στιγμή ἄρχισε ν᾽ ἀκούη τήν καρδιά του νά κτυπᾶ, νά πάλλεται, μέ τό ὄνομα τοῦ Κυρίου, ἀλλά… στά ἑλληνικά! Ὁ ἴδιος μέ ἀπορία τό περιέγραψε περίπου ὡς ἑξῆς:

—Ἀκούω μέσα μου greek (ἑλληνικά): “Γκύριε, Ἰησοῦ Κριστέ, ἐλέησόν με”. Ἐγκώ λέω μέ τό στόμα english (ἀγγλικά), καί ἡ καρντιά ἀπαντᾶ greek!

Αὐτό τό ἔκτακτο γεγονός τοῦ ἔκανε μεγάλη ἐντύπωσι καί ἀπετέλεσε τήν ἀφορμή νά ἀρχίση νά μαθαίνη τήν ἑλληνική γλῶσσα. Μάλιστα, κατάφερε νά τή μάθη ἀρκετά γρήγορα, ὥστε νά μελετᾶ πνευματικά βιβλία σχετικά μέ τό θέμα τῆς προσευχῆς.

Ἔτσι, ἡ Εὐχή ἄλλαξε τή ζωή του, ὁδηγώντας τον σταδιακά στήν κάθαρσι ἀπ᾽ τά πάθη καί στό φωτισμό τοῦ νοός. Ἀλλά καί τό περιβάλλον του δέν ἔμεινε ἀνεπηρέαστο, καθώς τό παράδειγμά του ἐνέπνευσε πολλούς συμπατριῶτες του νά ἀσπασθοῦν τήν Ὀρθοδοξία. Κι ὅλα αὐτά, σέ μία χώρα προτεσταντική, χωρίς ἠθικούς φραγμούς καί παραδοσιακές ἀξίες».

Η μεταστροφή του Αμερικανού π. Αθανασίου Kone & της οικογένεια του από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία – Σύγχρονο θαύμα του Αγίου Γερμανού της Αλάσκας μέσω του π. Σεραφείμ Ρόουζ της California, ΗΠΑ







Ο Άγιος Γερμανός της Αλάσκας (+1836)


π. Σεραφείμ Ρόουζ

Κοιμήθηκε 48 ετών το 1982


O π. Αθανάσιος Kone & οι οικογένειά του


Η μεταστροφή του Αμερικανού π. Αθανασίου Kone

& της οικογένεια του από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία


Σύγχρονο θαύμα του Αγίου Γερμανού της Αλάσκας μέσω

του π. Σεραφείμ Rose της Καλιφόρνια, ΗΠΑ



Το 1741 η ρωσική εξερευνητική αποστολή των Βίτους Μπέριγκ και Αλεξέι Τσιρικώφ ανακάλυψε τις Αλεούτες Νήσους και έδωσε το έναυσμα για την αποίκιση της αχανούς εκτάσεως της Αλάσκας. Σύντομα κατέφθασαν έμποροι, κυνηγοί γουνοφόρων ζώων και τυχοδιώκτες κάθε λογής, άπληστοι για τα πλούτη της περιοχής, και στα βήματα τους ακολούθησαν θαρραλέοι ιεραπόστολοι, οι όποιοι, αψηφώντας τους κινδύνους, το δριμύ κλίμα και την εχθρότητα των αποίκων, ήλθαν για να σπείρουν τον σπόρο του Ευαγγελίου μεταξύ των ιθαγενών. Αυτοί οι ιεραπόστολοι ίδρυσαν την Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία του Νέου Κόσμου την στερέωσαν στον βράχο της πίστεως και την κόσμησαν με τα δάκρυα της ασκήσεως και το αίμα του μαρτυρίου.

Ό όσιος πατήρ ημών Γερμανός, ο όποιος εκάρη μοναχός το 1783 στην ονομαστή Μονή Βαλαάμ στις όχθες της λίμνης Λατόγκα, ήταν ένας άπ’ αυτούς τους αξιοθαύμαστους ιεραποστόλους. Με ζήλο υποτάχθηκε στον άγιο ηγούμενο Ναζάριο, πού τον έστειλε, μαζί με άλλους τρεις ιερομόναχους, το 1793, για ιεραποστολή στην Αλάσκα. Υπέστησαν οδοιπορία στις αχανείς παγωμένες εκτάσεις, πηγαίνοντας από νησί σε νησί με σαθρά πλεούμενα, κήρυτταν αδιάκοπα τα λόγο του Ευαγγελίου, προτρέποντας τους ιθαγενείς να κάψουν τα είδωλα τους, να εγκαταλείψουν την πολυγαμία και τα παγανιστικά ήθη τους για να ασπασθούν τα ευαγγελικό ήθος και να λάβουν τον φωτισμό του αγίου Βαπτίσματος.

Γενικά, τους επιφυλασσόταν καλή υποδοχή· ορισμένοι όμως ιθαγενείς, παρακινούμενοι από σαμάνους μάγους, αντιστέκονταν στο κήρυγμα και Continue reading “Η μεταστροφή του Αμερικανού π. Αθανασίου Kone & της οικογένεια του από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία – Σύγχρονο θαύμα του Αγίου Γερμανού της Αλάσκας μέσω του π. Σεραφείμ Ρόουζ της California, ΗΠΑ”