Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA



Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA





Can one be Roman Catholic and Orthodox? I would like to share with you a brief letter that was published some time ago in an Italian Orthodox parish newsletter. Its author, Archpriest Gregorio Cognetti, is the Dean of the Italian parishes under the Moscow Patriarchate. This letter was generally liked by the Italian Orthodox converts, and also received a high degree of appreciation among some cradle-born Orthodox (it was, for instance, translated into Romanian); I hope it may be prove an interesting reading and a source of inspiration for all of you.


Chapel Hill (U.S.), March 1982

Dear Bill,

Even though you never asked it directly, I feel from your words that you do not yet understand why I left the Roman Church to become Orthodox.

You were even a member of one of the least latinized Byzantine parishes, you seem to say, why, then?…

I guess I owe you an explanation, since, a long time ago, when we were both members of the Latin church, we shared the same feelings. These same feelings brought both of us to a Byzantine rite parish, and then myself to Orthodoxy. You could not have forgotten the criticisms that we moved to the Romans: the continual insertion of new traditions in place of the old ones, Scholasticism, the legalistic approach to spiritual life, the dogma of papal infallibility. At the same time we both reckoned the legitimacy and correctness of the Orthodox Church. A Uniate parish seemed the optimal solution. I Continue reading “Letter To A Roman Catholic Friend – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA”


Video: Orthodox Church Plants Seeds in Moses Lake, Washington, USA



Orthodox Church Plants Seeds in Moses Lake,

Washington, 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 Continue reading “A Life Changed By Icons – Vasily Tomachinsky, USA & Germany”

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



I knew right then, in that second…

by Trudy Ellmore, USA





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”

Why Orthodoxy? – Ryan Hunter, USA & Scotland – From Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy






Ryan Hunter

Setauket, New York, USA

Brotherhood of the Holy Cross

East Setauket, Long Island, NY, USA

Holy Cross Orthodox Monastery


Why Orthodoxy?


Ryan Hunter

(Part 1-14)




After years of spiritual wandering and disillusionment, and studying all religions, I am entering the Eastern Orthodox Church: How I discovered new meaning in the word “catholic” and the true challenge of a Christian life

“In His unbounded love, God became what we are that He might make us what He is.” —St. Irenaeus (d. 202)

I am in love. The object of my affection, or rather, my devotion, is not a person per se, though it is very much alive. It has been alive for 2,000 years, persisting through seemingly insurmountable odds, and in that time it spread from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean north and east, ultimately to the shores of Alaska and the New World. Now it is very much established and thriving here in the US. What is this thing that has become such a defining part of my life?

I have fallen in love with the Orthodox Church.

It is difficult for me to render into words an account of the transformation that this awakening has wrought in all areas of my life. I feel myself to be at last truly satisfied, spiritually and emotionally. I feel enriched beyond description after years of an ever-present void. From the depths of my heart I sense that I am now a more fulfilled Christian, and above all I know that I am a more inspired human being. Sadly in this increasingly secular society, many people my age do not want or desire such inspiration.

For the rare college student who craves a deeper inspiration that goes beyond a routine weekly church hour, for anyone who wants to enter into a new level of spiritual life, I urge him or her to consider Orthodoxy. It has awakened in me a kind of spiritual consciousness that I never imagined I would experience, a kind of spiritual inspiration that very few of my non-Orthodox friends have today.

For this awakening, I am, and will always be, forever grateful.


“Remember constantly that the light of your soul, of your thoughts, and of your heart comes from Jesus Christ.” –St. John of Kronstadt (1829-1908).

Before I begin, I wish to thank two dear friends who have had the biggest impact on introducing me to Orthodoxy, Rebecca Dixon and Gillian Davies. They exemplify all that is best about the faith first and foremost in their incredible kindness and warmth. They Continue reading “Why Orthodoxy? – Ryan Hunter, USA & Scotland – From Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy”

Native Americans and Orthodoxy – Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA



Native Americans and Orthodoxy

Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA

[Ancient Faith Radio; August 28, 2008]

Frederica Mathewes-Green: Here I am, I’m in Anchorage, Alaska. My first visit to Alaska, this completes my visiting fifty states. This is my fiftieth state, so it’s wonderful to be here at last. I am on the grounds of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, speaking to Steven Alvarez, who is- what is your role here at the center?

Steven Alvarez: I am Director of Strategic Initiatives and Media.

FMG: You were telling me you produce films sometimes for the center as well. And we were hearing the story of what brought you here, you said it was St. Herman that brought you. To begin with, your heritage goes back to New Mexico, your background is Apache. You were telling me that it’s connected with some of the peoples in Alaska, as well.

SA: Right. The Athabaskans up here share a common language (a common language base), and we’re pretty much the same people.

FMG: And, how in the world did you end up becoming Orthodox?

SA: I was part of San Jose Christian Fellowship that converted back in 1993. And I was the music director there at the church, and so that whole process brought us to Orthodoxy and…

FMG: You were swept up.

SA: Yeah, yeah.

FMG: Had you been a Christian all your life?

SA: I was raised Roman Catholic. So I had really no issues with the theology. I mean, I grew up with it. The only question that I kept asking was, once we become Orthodox, where does the band go? (laughs)

FMG: Because you were the percussionist in the worship band.

SA: I was the worship leader.

FMG: Oh, you were the worship leader.

SA: Yeah, and so we were chrismated and I was ordained a subdeacon that Continue reading “Native Americans and Orthodoxy – Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA”

San Martire Vescovo Paul Ballester Convallier in Messico dalla Spagna (Ex monaco Catolico) – Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana – La mia conversione all’Ortodossia ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Italian









San Martire Vescovo Paul Ballester Convalier in Messico dalla Spagna (Ex monaco Catolico)

Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana

La mia conversione all’Ortodossia





Una eccezionale testimonianza storica del cammino verso la riscoperta della Fede Ortodossa e delle difficoltà che tale scelta poteva implicare negli anni ’50 del secolo scorso. Lo propongo ai lettori esattamente come scritto nella copia in mio possesso. E’ un testo lungo, ma si legge con piacere.

* * * * *

Di Paul Fr. Ballester Convalier – Atene 1954. Traduzione dal greco dell’Archimandrita Benedictos Katsanevakis, Napoli – presso la chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo dei nazionali Elleni, 1955.

Al nascente movimento ortodosso italiano dedico

Invece di premessa

Nell’ottobre dell’anno scorso 1954 è sorto a Catania ed a Firenze, promosso da Italiani di puro sangue, un movimento che mira non ad un Cattolicesimo riformato, ma addirittura ad un ritorno completo e sincero alle origini, cioè alla genuina Chiesa Cristiana esistente prima del funesto grande scisma tra Oriente ed Occidente consumato dal Papa Urbano II nell’anno 1098 nel Sinodo di Bari da lui ivi convocato. I pionieri di tale movimento hanno trovato tale Chiesa primitiva nella Chiesa Ortodossa Cristiana che è infatti l’unica genuina continuatrice della Chiesa fondata da Gesù Cristo e divulgata dai SS. Apostoli.

È molto commovente il fatto che proprio in quest’anno che è il novecentesimo dagli inizi dei primi aperti contrasti ecclesiastici tra Occidente e Oriente, che condussero poi all’anzidetta separazione definitiva dell’anno 1098, ha inizio con il movimento Ortodosso italiano in parola, il ritorno alla retta dottrina di Cristo dei popoli Occidentali trascinati allo scisma. Il detto movimento Ortodosso italiano, pur giovanissimo e recentissimo, conta già in Catania ed in Firenze due Vescovi, quattro presbiteri, un diacono e circa duecento aderenti e moltissimi simpatizzanti.

Ora, il molto Rev. Paul Fr. Ballester Convalier ex Frate Francescano in Spagna – ora Presbitero Ortodosso – abbandonò anch’egli il Cattolicesimo Romano e scrisse poi in greco un opuscolo intitolato “La mia conversione all’Ortodossia” in cui espone con molta chiarezza il dramma della sua anima a tale riguardo. Egli spirito studioso, occasionalmente veniva messo in seri dubbi circa la verità di alcune dottrine fondamentali della Chiesa Romana a cui apparteneva ed ha cercato sinceramente e ad ogni costo e sacrificio di arrivare al fondo della questione. Ed è riuscito a trovarne, da solo, l’uscita dal cieco vicolo in cui inconsciamente si trovava. Il dramma spirituale esposto dal Rev. Convalier è, senza dubbio, il dramma di numerosissime altre anime incapaci di trovare l’uscita dal cieco vicolo. Per venire incontro a tale stato e specialmente a tutti i simpatizzanti del suddetto «Movimento Ortodosso italiano» sentiamo il dovere di presentare in debita traduzione il su riferito documento del Rev. Convalier, sostituendo il titolo originale: “La mia conversione all’Ortodossia” con quello: “Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana”, come più adatto al Continue reading “San Martire Vescovo Paul Ballester Convallier in Messico dalla Spagna (Ex monaco Catolico) – Perché abbandonai la Chiesa Cattolica Romana – La mia conversione all’Ortodossia ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Italian”