The Holy Baptism of Jon Gissel in Denmark



The Holy Baptism of Jon Gissel in Denmark

On May 31, 2015, Pentecost Sunday, at a Romanian parish of Eastern Orthodox Church in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Danish professor of Byzantine History at the University of Copenhagen, Jon Gissel, baptized Orthodox Christian, after nearly three years of spiritual catechism. God bless him!




Fr. Pierre Haab, Switzerland: His long journey from Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism to Orthodoxy


Fr. Pierre Haab, Switzerland: His long journey from Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism to Orthodoxy

Aviv Saliu-Diallo, Pierre Haab

Fr. Pierre Haab, a Swiss former Roman Catholic who was disappointed with his religion and was carried away by Buddhism, Hinduism and other screamingly “fashionable” Eastern teachings and who is now a subdeacon of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in Geneva, speaks about his conversion to Orthodoxy.

* * *

—Can you tell us a few words about your family, education and the story of your conversion to the Orthodox faith?

I was born in an under-developed, impoverished, hungry country where the sky is permanently overcast with dark clouds—of course, in the spiritual sense. I am speaking of Switzerland, and especially of the city of Geneva—the center of world freemasonry and finances, the stronghold of obscurantist heresy, and a materialistic megalopolis that is enjoying the lulling, stable comfort that easily protects it from the numerous everyday tragedies of humanity.

My parents raised me in the Roman Catholic faith that they had inherited from their ancestors, for which I am extremely grateful to them; they implanted the fundamentals of Christian Revelation in me from childhood—namely faith in God, the doctrine and the necessity of prayer.

We were a practicing Catholic family. We attended Mass on Sundays and major Church feasts, and prayer was a part of our daily life (at least it was so for the first ten years of my childhood). My father, a journalist, devoted his professional life to the protection of the oppressed and justice. As far as my parents are concerned, they did their best to provide the continuity of religious education in our family.

As for the Church, though in my case the more precise name was “Papism”, the situation was different. As a child (in the 1950s) I felt comfortable in that religious environment; for example, I had no problem with prayers in Latin. Although for me faith was “the faith in obedience,” I used to ask many questions, and the adults—my parents and priests—were unable to answer them. And if they did answer me, they did it with a smile and condescendingly, thinking that I was trying to get to the core of the matter too seriously. They gave me to understand that performing the morally required duties was enough for me. And I decided that I would get the answers to my questions later through my independent, in-depth research and analysis of the primary sources, where the morals come from. Judging by my childhood memories, I always had a thirst for truth.

So I was waiting for some changes, when, at the very dawn of my youth, a crucial event happened in the West—a real revolution in Papism (which is still going on today). I mean the Second Vatican Council of 1962. Over a short span of several months (or, in some cases, two to three years) a whole set of rules which had been shaped in the living daily reality of Western Christianity formany centuries, were abolished, declared invalid and obsolete and even partly prohibited; in the twinkling of an eye this heritage was declared the lifeless and dusty relics of archeology. For example, thenceforth during the Mass the officiating priest and the altar were “turned around” and must face toward the congregation; the use of Latin—the centuries-old language of Western liturgies—was banned; the Sunday Mass was moved to Saturday evening—in order to give believers the opportunity to go skiing or sleep more on Sunday morning; the cassock (or soutane)—a non-liturgical garment traditionally worn by Catholic clergy—was declared “unnecessary”; all fasts (the Eucharistic fast, Lent and fasting on Fridays) were abolished; the sacramental wafers are distributed among the faithful by lay people (of both sexes) to “assist” the priest in his “work” and so on.

On the whole, it was an unhealthy thirst for changes. Continuity was no longer supported—it was seen as a sign of death. Instability became the norm, coupled with its main and inevitable consequence—the complacent confidence that thanks to our modern civilization we infinitely surpass all that Continue reading “Fr. Pierre Haab, Switzerland: His long journey from Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism to Orthodoxy”

Cenni di storia dell’ortodossia dell’archimandrita Padre Placide Deseille, Francia ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Italian


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Cenni di storia dell’ortodossia dell’archimandrita

Padre Placide Deseille, Francia

La Chiesa indivisa del primo millennio

I primi tre secoli della Chiesa sono stati contrassegnati da fatti importanti: la notevole espansione del cristianesimo nell’Impero romano, e la feroce persecuzione dei cristiani in determinati periodi, fino alla convenzione di Milano (313) con cui l’imperatore Costantino il Grande concedeva libertà di culto ai seguaci di Cristo.

Gli apostoli e i loro primi successori fondarono molte chiese nelle città principali dell’Impero romano. In ogni città c’era una comunità cristiana di base, presieduta da un vescovo che, nominato originariamente dagli apostoli, era aiutato da presbiteri e diaconi. Questo tipo di organizzazione dal triplo ministero già verso la fine del I secolo era ben consolidato; è quanto appare con chiarezza già dagli Atti degli Apostoli e se ne fa menzione nelle lettere scritte tra 95 e 98 da san Clemente vescovo di Roma e verso il 107 da Sant’Ignazio, vescovo di Antiochia, mentre si recava a Roma dove sarebbe statomartirizzato. Sant’Ignazio fu il primo ad esprimere chiaramente che la comunità cristiana locale è Chiesa, idea che rimane il cuore della concezione ortodossa.

La preoccupazione principale dei cristiani, durante questo primo periodo, era innanzitutto la celebrazione della fede e la testimonianza di questa fede in un ambiente sovente ostile.

I primi discorsi esplicativi della fede cristiana sono stati scritti a partire dal II secolo – sono quelli di Ireneo di Lione, di Giustino, di Clemente di Alessandria, di Origene, di Tertulliano, scritti spesso per necessità di spiegare la fede di fronte al paganesimo e ai filosofi ellenisti all’esterno della Chiesa, e di precisarla di fronte agli insegnamenti erronei che la minacciavano dall’interno. Ma dopo la decisione rivoluzionaria nei confronti del cristianesimo da parte dell’Imperatore Costantino, nell’anno 313, le grandi controversie dottrinali hanno scosso e per secoli la Chiesa. Come notato, accennando alle principali dottrine elaborate dai sette Concili ecumenici, la Chiesa ha conservato “la vera fede” ponendo e difendendo i dogmi necessari alla fede. Ciò però è avvenuto non senza problemi, perché certe parti della Chiesa non hanno accettato tutte le decisioni dei Concili.

La prima frattura importante della Chiesa è avvenuta tra il IV e il V secolo, a seguito delle controversie cristologiche. La Chiesa di Persia divenne nestoriana e fu rotta la comunione tra le Chiese “calcedonesi” (Roma e Costantinopoli) – che accettarono le decisioni del Concilio di Calcedonia nel Continue reading “Cenni di storia dell’ortodossia dell’archimandrita Padre Placide Deseille, Francia ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Italian”

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”

“They must learn, for they do not know” – The conversion of French George Lesier from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy


“They must learn, for they do not know”

The conversion of French George Lesier from

Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy


With this title we publish the letter of Mrs. Catherine Lesier, by which she expresses her thanks for the contribution of our Holy Monastery for the conversion of her reposed husband to the One, Catholic and Apostolic Church, our Orthodox Church.

We used the above title, because it consists of the saying of George Lesier himself, while expressing his pain for his countrymen, himself being French, and because we believe this publication would also help those who have yet to know and taste the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

The conversion of George, of course is by nature the work of the Divine Grace. It is the response of God to his innocent intention, in his personal spiritual struggle which was but an expression of his anticipation for his union with the Holy Church. It is without doubt the fruit of love and of the hearty prayers of his pious wife and of the spiritual fathers and brothers, who anonymously or otherwise, they are referred to in the letter of Mrs. Lesier.

The contribution of our Holy Monastery lies in the divine functioning providence of its New Marmara Metohion at Halkidiki. of the last few years.
We believe that George, as he requested, kept clean the robe of holy baptism and now he reposes in the glory of the Lord. He intercedes for his family, his spiritual brothers but also for his, of the flesh countrymen. “They must learn, because they do not know” he would say when he referred to them. He wished that they all knew, if possible, the Grace of the Holy Spirit which he intensely lived with his holy baptism. Finally George was speaking from experience. For this he was very convincing and he became greatly accepted within his narrow family circle and by his countrymen that came to know him.

We pray that God rest his spirit with the Just and we ask him to pray to God for us who came to love him.

* * *

N. Marmaras 15-3-1993.

My honourable elder George, bless.

I know your time is precious, for this I beg you to forgive me that I make you spend a little time reading my letter.

Personally I thank you for the contribution of your spiritual work at the New Marmara Metohion. I especially thank you and all the fathers of the Monastery, for helping my husband George to come to Orthodoxy and be baptized at 65 years of age. I truly believe I have lived a miracle, because in my twenty years of married life, I had to deal with a very difficult man, especially in religious matters.

When after our wedding – fortunately we married in the Orthodox Church – I learned from someone spiritual that it is a heavy misdemeanour that I had married a heterodox and even as he called him a heretic. I was shaken and I started to feel the weight of my responsibility and guilt. That Spiritual one suggested to me that I should help him get to know Orthodoxy and perhaps if Continue reading ““They must learn, for they do not know” – The conversion of French George Lesier from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy”

“Sie müssen es erfahren, weil sie es nicht wissen” – Die Konversion von George Lesier zur Orthodoxie ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* German


“Sie müssen es erfahren, weil sie es nicht wissen”

Die Konversion von George Lesier zur Orthodoxie


Unter diesem Titel veröffentlichen wir den Brief von Fr. Catherine Lesier, durch den sie ihren Dank für den Beitrag unseres Klosters zur Konversion ihres verstorbenen Ehemanns zur Einen, Katholischen und Apostolischen Kirche, unserer Orthodoxen Kirche, ausdrückt.

Wir wählen den obengenannten Titel, weil es sich um einen Ausspruch George Lesiers selbst handelt, mit dem er seinen Schmerz um seine Landsleute zum Ausdruck brachte – er selbst war Franzose – und weil wir glauben, daß diese Veröffentlichung auch denjenigen helfen möge, die die Gnade des Heiligen Geistes noch nicht kennengelernt und gekostet haben.

Die Konversion von George ist selbstverständlich ein Werk der Göttlichen Gnade. Es ist die Antwort Gottes auf seine unschuldige Absicht in seinem persönlichen geistlichen Kampf, der nichts anderes war, als ein Ausdruck der Erwartung seiner Vereinigung mit der Heiligen Kirche. Es ist ohne Zweifel die Frucht der Liebe und der eindringlichen Gebete seiner frommen Frau und der geistlichen Väter und Brüder, die genannt oder ungenannt im Brief von Frau Lesier erwähnt werden.

Der Beitrag unseres Heiligen Klosters liegt im Wirken der göttlichen Vorsehung in ihrem Neuen Marmara Metochion in Chalkidiki in den letzten Jahren.

Wir glauben, daß George, wie er es erbeten hatte, sein Taufgewand rein bewahrt hat und nun in der Gnade Gottes ruht. Er tritt für seine Familie, seine geistlichen Brüder aber auch für seine Landsmänner ein. „Sie müssen es erfahren, weil sie es nicht wissen”, sagte er, wenn er auf sie Bezug nahm. Er wünschte sich, daß sie wenn möglich alle die Gnade des Heiligen Geistes kennenlernten, die er selbst intensiv nach seiner Heiligen Taufe erlebt hatte. Von jetzt an sprach George aus seiner Erfahrung. Deshalb war er so überzeugend und wurde sehr akzeptiert in seinem kleinen Familienkreis und von seinen Landsmännern, die ihn kennenlernten.

Wir beten, daß Gott seiner Seele bei den Gerechten Ruhe gewähren möge, und wir bitten ihn, daß er bei Gott für uns, die wir ihn geliebt haben, beten möge.

N. Marmaras, 15.03.93

* * *

Mein Ehrwürdiger Altvater Georgios, segnen Sie mich,

Ich weiß, daß Ihre Zeit kostbar ist, deshalb bitte ich Sie um Verzeihung, wenn ich Sie nötige, der Lektüre meines Briefes etwas Zeit zu widmen.

Ich persönlich danke Ihnen für den Beitrag der geistlichen Werke des Metochions von Neu Marmara. Besonders danke ich Ihnen und allen Vätern Ihres Klosters, die Sie meinem Ehemann George geholfen haben die Orthodoxie kennenzulernen und im Alter von 65 Jahren getauft zu werden. Ich glaube wirklich, daß ich ein Wunder erlebt habe, denn in den zwanzig Jahren meiner Ehe hatte ich es mit einem sehr schwierigen Mann zu tun, besonders hinsichtlich religiöser Angelegenheiten.

Als ich nach unserer Hochzeit – glücklicherweise heirateten wir in der Orthodoxen Kirche – von einem Beichtvater hörte, daß es ein schweres Vergehen sei, daß ich einen Andergläubigen geheiratet hatte, und sicherlich nannte er ihn sogar einen Häretiker, war ich erschüttert und begann die Last der Verantwortung und der Schuld zu spüren. Der Geistliche schlug mir vor, Continue reading ““Sie müssen es erfahren, weil sie es nicht wissen” – Die Konversion von George Lesier zur Orthodoxie ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* German”

Vidéo – Père Placide Deseille: Un chemin vers l’orthodoxie ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* French




Père Placide Deseille:

Un chemin vers l’orthodoxie