Σάββατο, 4 Νοεμβρίου 2017

Why One Jamaican Became an Orthodox Christian...

by Moses Myers
Journey to Orthodoxy

“Not all men are alike…I am not like all men…”
The blessing of the Lord!

My name is Marlon Marlondo Myers. I was born in August 1977, the second child and only son of my parents Raphael and Audrey Myers, and beloved brother to three sisters, Sherna (the eldest), Anna-Kim, and Kathy-Ann.
My long journey to the Mother Church has began. However, as I think back over on how I got to this point, I become filled with deep emotion. For by the grace of God, I, a sinner, a stray sheep, have found the lovely bosom of the Orthodox Church – the One, Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Therefore, it is my conviction that my humble retrospection should in no wise come to naught to those who are outside of the original Church founded by Jesus Christ.

I am a Jamaican and a Probation Aftercare Officer by profession. My father is a Bishop and Pastor within the Protestant denomination, namely the Church of God of Prophecy, Roadside (Ewarton, St. Catherine), and my mother is a very devout Minister of same. Consequently, I was brought up in an unusually religious atmosphere.
My parents hoped that I would one day become a Pastor, and perhaps be my father’s successor at the local church I attended from childhood. But although I was actively involved in ministry, I had no interest or certainly no desire to become a pastor. My dad is certainly worth emulating, for he is a wise, humble, and a very good example to follow in one’s strides to pastoral care. However, outside of that, I was very displeased with the example being set by other ministers and pastors at that time, as they were much too superficial and did not impress me as being Christian at all. As for personal ministry, I tailored my skills into mentoring and counselling instead. I also continued growing in my professional career as I love helping people; seeing a life changed in a positive way is my greatest reward.

After a period of sincere prayer, fasting and meditation, I decided to dedicate myself totally to the One Who called me. Yeah! My mother had always said, that while I was still in her womb, she promised the Lord that if she was granted a son, she would give him back to God, like little Samuel. No wonder I have always had such a strong desire for the things of God; connecting with Him was an overwhelming passion and burning desire. There’re countless stories and glorious experiences that I could share about my own personal walk with the Triune God, and learning more about Him has birthed in me a continuous desire to want more of Him; I so yearned for a deeper connection with Him. However, nothing seemed more satisfying than wanting to know Him, for I seemed so far away from Him, no matter how close I thought I was to him.
I entered the Jamaica Theological Seminary with deep conviction and fervent faith, and I was guided by the Seminary’s motto:
“That I may know Him, that I may make Him known”.
My tenure at the Seminary further ignited in me the commitment to devote myself totally to God and I began having thoughts of becoming a priest. But, how could I, for that would mean turning my eyes to Roman Catholicism. Hmmm…
My research on Church History made me realize that what we are being exposed to here in the Western Hemisphere was a mere fraction of what the truth of Church History and the One True Church really is. Further studies revealed that the ministry of the Protestant Church lacked Apostolic Succession and was therefore null and void, and that the Roman Catholic Church (who broke away from the One True Church) had fallen into a drunken and corruptible state.
In order to resolve the problems I had about the Roman doctrine, I began studying the writings of the Church Fathers. My conclusion from all these studies was that the Roman Catholic Church, too, had gone astray as had the Protestant.

Patriarch Bartholomew

In April of 2014, while watching an old YouTube video featuring the Papal Inauguration of Pope Francis, I saw a distinct figure of a person identified as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The seemingly old and wise bearded man got my attention, and I was curious to know more about him and the Church he represented. This, for the first time, led me to read extensively into Eastern Orthodox theology. I began watching YouTube videos about the Ancient Church that exposed me to its form of worship through the Divine Liturgy. I can recall watching a video of the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church, and oh I cried so much, praying “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” From then on, I was determined to become an Orthodox Christian.
Up until this time, I had no contact with Orthodox Christians or with any Orthodox Church. However, thanks be to God, He led me by His Holy Spirit to the primitive, conservative, and most pure and virgin faith of Christianity. For I discovered that in the Orthodox Church, Christianity with all its richness and essence was to be found. In the bosom of the Orthodox Church, my despaired soul found a resting place, a heavenly harbor. With great joy and hope, I decided to become an Orthodox Christian about a year ago.
At first, I hesitated to make a hasty decision for fear of disgracing myself by a change of church. But gradually I became convinced of the validity of Orthodoxy. By the Grace of God, I was convinced that I must serve Him through the priesthood of the Orthodox Church. And so, I began following the way of the Cross, willing to sacrifice anything.

Through the kindness of His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Athenagoras of Mexico (Archbishop of Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, and the islands of the Caribbean), and also through the coaching of the Very Rev. Christopher Grist (a Protopresbyter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Mexico – Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), where he currently serves as Archepiscopal Vicar of Jamaica, I will someday become a priest in reality. With their help, I am now being given the opportunity to study Orthodox theology at the St. Gregory Nazianzen Orthodox Institute in preparation for the priesthood. My desire is to bring Orthodoxy to Jamaica and serve as a priest missionary after my ordination into the Orthodox Church.
The journey has just begun. Yesterday I was called “Marlon” but today I am called “Moses” after my Patron Saint Moses the Black/Ethiopian. I’m no Saint. I’m a sinner. My Christian walk over the years was never perfect and I’m not ashamed for saying that. In fact, looking back and seeing where I’m coming from humbles me. For I know deep down the best is yet to come. In short, I have found what I was looking for. Yeah! And I’m honouring my mother’s promise to God. I’m feeling at home, where I belong.

Please join us in praying for the Orthodox mission in Jamaica!

Please, see aslo

Basic Points of Difference between the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church

The Way - An introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Protestants ask: Why be Orthodox?
The Road to Rome? Why Orthodoxy Deserves a Look
Liturgy, Sacraments, & All That Jazz: Ten Reasons I Joined the Orthodox Church
Find an Orthodox Church in...
SONGS OF FREEDOM: The Rastafari Road to OrthodoxyAfrican Americans and Orthodoxy

Travelers on the Way to the Light
Through The Eastern Gate - From Tibetan Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity
The Orthodox New Martyr Jose Munoz-Cortes from Chile (1997)
The Orthodox New Martyr of Mexico: Paul de Ballester-Convallier
Klaus Kenneth, the spiritual traveler 
Strange, Yet Familiar: My Journey (by Bishop Kallistos (Ware), Bishop of Diokleia) 

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