The Life of Fr. John Maitland Moir, Scotland (1924-2013)


The Life of Fr. John Maitland Moir,

Scotland (1924-2013)


The Life of Fr. John Maitland Moir


Below is his official obituary. Our prayers go to all who knew and loved him, and for the repose of his holy soul.

* * *

Father John Maitland Moir, Priest of the Orthodox Church of St Andrew in Edinburgh, founder of many smaller Orthodox communities throughout Scotland and Orthodox Chaplain to the University of Edinburgh, died peacefully in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on the 17th April 2013.

A man of profound holiness and bedazzling eccentricity, of boundless compassion and canny wisdom, utterly selfless and stubbornly self-willed, serenely prayerful and fiercely self-disciplined, Father John will surely earn a place as a unique and outstanding figure in the ecclesiastical annals of Scotland. He was born in 1924 in the village of Currie where his father was the local doctor; his fondness for his mother was always mingled with quiet pride in the fact that she was a member of the lesser aristocracy. The privileged but somewhat severe upbringing of an only child in this household together with a chronic weakness in his knees kept him apart from the hurly-burly of boyhood and directed him from an early age to more spiritual and intellectual pursuits. After his schooling at Edinburgh Academy, he went on to study Classics at Edinburgh University during the war years, his never robust health precluding any active military service. After the war, and a short spell as Classics Master at Cargilfield School in Perthshire, he moved to Oxford to continue classical studies at Christ Church and theological studies at Cuddesdon Theological College.

His interest in Eastern Christendom was awakened in Oxford and he eagerly seized the opportunity to study at the famous Halki Theological Academy in Istanbul in 1950-51. During this year he also travelled in the Holy Land and Middle East and forged friendships in the Eastern Churches which he maintained throughout his life. On his return to Scotland he was ordained in the Scottish Episcopalian Church, which he was to serve faithfully for the next thirty years. His first charge was as Curate at St Mary’s in Broughty Ferry, then for a period of six years he taught at St Chad’s College, Durham. He returned to Scotland in 1962 as Curate in Charge of the Edinburgh Parish of St Barnabas and as Honorary Chaplain at St Mary’s Cathedral, then in 1967 he moved north to the Diocese of Moray where he served as Chaplain to the Bishop of Moray and latterly as Canon of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Inverness. His devotion to his pastoral and liturgical duties as well as his personal holiness and prayerfulness inspired a sense of awe in his loyal parishoners. Only his habit of wearing the kilt beneath his cassock provoked a reprimand from his Bishop, who was more than somewhat bewildered by Father John’s fervent and unbending Scottish patriotism. The Scottish Episcopalian Church which Father John loved and served was, he believed, a Church with special affinities with the Eastern Churches: his eyes would light up when explaining how the Liturgy of Scottish Episcopalian Church, like those of the East, Continue reading “The Life of Fr. John Maitland Moir, Scotland (1924-2013)”

Η μεταστροφή ενός Ελβετού από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία


Η μεταστροφή ενός Ελβετού

από τον Προτεσταντισμό στην Ορθοδοξία

«Ἕνας Ἑλβετός, κάνοντας πορεία στόν Ἄθωνα, βρέθηκε μπροστά σέ μιά καλύβη, πού δέν διέφερε καί πολύ ἀπό ταυροκάλυβο. (Ταυροκάλυβο στό Ὄρος ὀνομάζουν τό χῶρο στόν ὁποῖο σταυλίζουν τά ἀρσενικά βόδια.) Κτύπησε δειλά-δειλά τήν πόρτα. Μιά ἰσχνή φωνή τόν κράζει νά περάση μέσα. Ὁ Γέροντας, καθισμένος στό ξυλοκρέββατο, γύριζε στά δάκτυλά του τό κομποσχοίνι. Ὁ ξένος περιέφερε τά μάτια του στό ξεροκάλυβο καί στό τέλος περιεργάσθηκε τό Γέροντα μέσα στά τρίχινα ἐνδύματά του. Οἱ κουβέντες λεῖπαν ἀπ’ τή γλῶσσα, ἀλλά τά πάντα ἦταν ἐκφραστικά. Ὁ Γέροντας ζῆ τή φτώχεια καί τήν περιφρόνησι. Δέν παίζει μέ τά θεῖα πράγματα, νά κάνη τό σπουδαῖο, γι’ αὐτό παραμένει ἄγνωστος. Ὁ ξένος ἔβγαλε ἀπ’ τό πορτοφόλι του πενῆντα δολλάρια νά δώση στό Γέροντα.

—Ὄχι, δέν θά τά πάρω. Μπροστά ἀπό πολλές μέρες κάποιος μοῦ ἔδωσε εἴκοσι δολλάρια. Αὐτά γιά μένα εἶναι ἀρκετά γιά πολύ καιρό.

Ἦλθε ὁ χειμῶνας καί ὁ ξένος θυμήθηκε τήν καλύβα τοῦ ἀσκητοῦ. Τοῦ ἀπέστειλε ταχυδρομικά ἑκατό δολλάρια γιά τή θέρμανσί του καί τό προσφάγι του. Ὁ Γέροντας σάν τά ’λαβε τά γύρισε πίσω, γιατί ἄλλος τόν πρόλαβε. Ὁ ξένος πάλι τοῦ τά ἔστειλε νά τά δώση σέ πτωχούς ἀδελφούς. Ὁ Γέροντας πάλι τοῦ τά ἐπέστρεψε μέ τήν παράκλησι:

—Ἐσύ δῶσε τα. Μέ τό δικό σου κόπο δέν πρέπει ἐγώ νά φανῶ ἐλεήμων.

Τό καλοκαίρι ὁ Ἑλβετός βαπτίσθηκε Ὀρθόδοξος, ἀφοῦ κατηχήθηκε ἀπ’ τό Γέροντα πώς “μακάριος εἶναι αὐτός πού δίνει καί ὄχι αὐτός πού παίρνει” καί “μή δέχεσαι, ὅταν ἔχης, μήτε ὀβολόν”».

Από το βιβλίο: Ἀρχιμ. Ἰωάννου Κωστώφ, Θεός Ἐφανερώθη – Ἀπό τόν Ἀθεϊσμό στό Χριστό, ἐκδ. Ἁγ. Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός (2108220542), Ἀθήνα 2011

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».