November 2014 – Diocese of New Zealand – Fiji
Dear brothers in Christ, members and associates of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, may the blessing and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
In the book of the Acts, chapter 16, we read that when Paul and his missionary team were in a region called Mysia, near Adramytteion and Pergamon, they thought of heading to Bithynia for the propagation of the Gospel.
However, they were prevented by the Holy Spirit, “But the Spirit suffered them not”.
Therefore, they went down to the city of Troas, where Apostle Paul was shown in a vision a man from Macedonia begging him and telling him in Greek
“Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” (Acts, 16, 9)Therefore, after this vision, Paul got ready to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called them to preach the gospel there, so he went to Philippi (near the city of Kavala today), where he started his missionary work in Greece..
Apparently, the Holy Apostles preached the Gospel being inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Such things happen in the life and work of the missionaries in all ages, since the Mission may be carried out by people but it is a work of God.
As we speak, I would like to talk to you about the Head of the Orthodox Mission in New Zealand and Fiji, Metropolitan Amphilochios, who, until recently, with the agreement of our Venerable Shepherd His-All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the advice of a pious physician and missionary, had decided to submit his resignation from his position for health reasons. “But God works in mysterious ways.”
Now Metropolitan Amphilochios has decided not to carry out his decision for several reasons:
- Because by the grace of God and after a special treatment he underwent, his health has greatly improved, and now he is in a position to continue his humble ministry.
- Because so far no plot of land has been found in Fiji in order to erect there an Orthodox Sacred Church of Saint George the Great Martyr with money sent by the Orthodox Missionary Society “Saint John the Theologian” from Aspropyrgos, Greece.
- Because a newly illuminated but zealous Orthodox Christian, Mr. Silouanos Vea, baptized in Melbourne Australia, came from Tonga, the other island of Oceania, and asked us to go to his homeland in order to propagate Orthodoxy there and build a sacred Church.
- Because in Sydney , on the initiative of the pious priest Father Nicholas Marketos and the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, the Greek Orthodox people offered enough money for the erection of the Sacred Church of St. George in Tonga; this way, the Orthodox Mission will take its first steps there. As for Silouanos, we have appointed him to the position of catechist on his island. On October 21 we saw him off at the airport where he would fly to his country, and there we met a fellow traveler of his from Samoa, the third island near Tonga, who also wants Orthodoxy to spread in his homeland; therefore, after Tonga, it is Samoa awaiting us.
Naturally, after such overt intervention s on the part of God, it would not be possible for His Eminence to think about resignation and things like that.
“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke, 12:49). This is the fire of Pentecost. The fire of the Orthodox Mission in Oceania is growing bigger and bigger! A gift of the Divine will granted to us. We cannot do otherwise but bow in reverence to the God of love who wants “all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth “(Tim 2: 4), repeating the words of St. Job the Much-Suffering : ” The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord now and to the ages. Amen”
From the Holy Metropolis