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A Miracle of the Holy Cross in Fiji

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fitziBy Metropolitan Amphilochios of New Zealand

One day, on the second biggest Fiji island, Vanua Levu, the person in charge of the Mission for the island , Father Barnaby, along with the hieromonk Savvas visited the hospital at the city of Labasa in order to comfort a patient. As they were talking with the patient, they heard unnatural loud screams coming from the other side of the corridor, and being alarmed by those grisly screams, they moved towards there in order to help.

In an adjoining room there was a girl lying in bed, who was blocking her ears with her hands, was twisting her head left and right and was screaming in a hair-raising way. The nurses were just standing aside, unable to understand what had happened and too scared to do anything.

Father Savvas approached a nurse and told her: “We are from the Greek Orthodox Church. Could we just make the sign of the cross over her?” Then he takes out the cross which had the True Cross inside and started making the sign of the cross on her face. The more he did so, the more she screamed. In the end, the priest put the cross into her mouth and immediately she calmed down. It was obvious she was possessed, and with the power of the True Cross the evil spirit finally left.

This incident reminds us of the words of the hymn of Octoechos “Great is the power of your Cross, o Lord”. Christ came to the world and was crucified for the salvation of all people. That is why the power of the Holy Cross is not only restricted to Christians, but also to any person under the power of Satan.

The cure of this Fijian girl through the touch of the True Cross as well as the faith of the fathers who thought of making the sign of the cross over her, was the best sermon for herself, her own family and everyone else who witnessed this miracle.

When Christ said to his Disciples that he would be with them all along their proclaiming His Gospel, this is exactly what he meant: His living presence witnessed by the signs and wonders that would follow.

Therefore, the Missionary work is done by Christ Himself, who uses as means ordinary people, like the Fijian father Barnaby and the simple monk Savvas. Mission is not a matter of wordly wisdom but a matter of faith “acting through love”.

Source: Orthodox Missionary Fraternity

Hat Tip: Mystagogy

Written by Stephen

April 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

Posted in Fiji, Miracles

Archbishop Amfilochios on Being a Missionary and on the Orthodox Church in Fiji

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And also the ordination of Fathers Barnabas and Georgios:

All videos have been gotten from the website of the Greek Archdiocese of New Zealand, found here, where more news and videos can be seen.

Written by Stephen

October 18, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Fiji and New Zealand: Baptisms, Feasts, Monastery

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Resurrected from my files, at long last some news from Fiji and New Zealand. Apologies for the delay.

December 2009 – A Historical Day In Fiji

Wednesday the 16th December 2009, the feast day of Saint Porphyrios of Aigaiou, Theophane of Basilissa and Medestos Patriarch of Jerusalem. Eight o’clock in the morning. T he contractor and his team are taking the blessing and are beginning to measure and put the indicator markers for the foundation so as to follow the design of the Church of Saint Paraskevi in the yard of the Missionary Center in Sambeto, Nandi. The day before yesterday the Cyclone passed with its frightful momentum and its incessant rains which transformed all the surrounding meadows into lakes, harassing the trees and animals and forcing the birds to hide in their dens, carrying away some men to death and leaving many areas for many days in darkness due to the loss of electrical power. Now, however, a boundless calm is spread everywhere. The clear-blue sky and the warm sun remind man, whose life returns to its normal rhythm, of the first days after the flood of Noah. The yards and surrounding trees are full of birds which fly joyfully and please their listeners with their sweet chirping. Today is very beautiful and joyful. Nothing is by accident. The first Orthodox Church in Fiji is founded in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The elements of nature participate in their own way with our own joy, so that with much gratitude we thank and glorify our all-powerful and gift-giving God, honouring and magnifying as well His holy martyr Paraskevi, whose name and joy will from today be imprinted beautifully on this place of retreat. Archbishop of New Zealand, † Amfilochios

Newly Baptized in the Fiji Islands

Four young Fijian girls adopted the Orthodox faith and were baptized at the Missionary Center of the Holy Metropolis of New Zealand in Fiji.

His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilochios assisted Archimandrite Fr. Christodoulos and the Priest Father Bartholomew in completing the Baptisms.

The Newly-illumined received the names Maria, Anastasia and Sophronia. May the holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified.

One Soul-Stirring Experience (Fiji)

Everything seemed fine from the moment when we entered the catamaran and, leaving behind us the port of Nandi, we began to approach one after another beautiful little islands with pure-white beaches and tropical vegetation. Until, that is, we arrived at Yasawa, Ira Ira, the island of our newly-illumined sister Sophronia.

The boat was full of passengers, white tourists and brown natives, the former going to spend summer vacations the latter returning with supplies from Nandi. The Captain and crew, all natives, were completely organized and very well mannered. We looked admiringly at every island with its picturesque barges dancing upon the waves as they came alongside the boat in order to pick up and transport passengers and their baggage.

I was thinking that this was the method on the smaller islands and that for our own larger island, just as it appeared on the brochure, there would be some platform for the boat to draw alongside. Contrary to my expectation, when we arrived we saw that here as well the barges would come and take passengers and baggage and then depart quickly in the same way. They were going to Yasawa, Ira Ira.

We disembarked into one of these barges following the same procedure as the preceding boats. Our own boat was more slow-moving and therefore we couldn’t see the other boats which had passed around the cape. We were eight people inside the boat. The further we progressed the more I was thinking the Pacific Ocean was showing us its true colours. The wind began to blow with force and the waves of the sea were swelling dangerously and were literally roaring as they relentlessly hit up against the side of our boat splashing us with their salty contents. Now, however, we saw that we were passing one cape after another and the port was nowhere to be seen; we began to worry.

From the very salty water our eyes were burning unbearably and I could not see in front of me, perhaps from my little experience I would have said something to the boatman in order to assist him. He himself could not have had clear vision since he was often spreading his hand in order to take the water from his eyes.

By now we were in the open sea which necessarily we should have had to pass in order to arrive at the opposite shore where I was suspecting the port and the village of our destination would be. I began to get uneasy. The only refuge in similar circumstances is prayer. I chanted secretly the Paraklesis of our Panaghia believing that she would not leave us unprotected. “To whom else shall I flee o Pure one? And to whom else shall I run for help and be saved? Where shall I go, and where shall I find a safe retreat?” (Words from the Great Paraklesis to the Most Holy Virgin)

We approached with much effort the beach while not seeing either a port or a village. We would have to pass many more capes in order to hear from Presbytera Lydia that behind the next cape was the village. However, it was not the next cape, but rather the one after the next. After four hours struggling with the waves we finally arrived at the end of our trip. We disembarked from the boat half-swimming because there was no platform or plank, only one pure-white beach which was covered with trees providing a deep-shade.

This is the village of our newly-illumined Sophronia. I consider how for her joy and the joy of her family and her three-hundred fellow villagers who welcomed us with special joy and honour and offered us hospitality that the weariness of our arduous journey was worth it. Orthodoxy imprinted its footprint here on this remote island of the Pacific.

May the name of the Lord be glorified.

March 2010 – News from the Monastery (New Zealand)

The last several weeks have seen, with the help and grace of God, the construction of the churches of the Holy Archangels and Saint Basileios in the Monastery of our Holy Metropolis.

Recently the frame has been finished and we are awaiting now the weatherboard, the roof, electrical installation and the plumbing.
Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all those who evolved we expect to celebrate the Divine Mysteries inside our newly erected churches in the next two months.

God willing another spring of life and renewal is being planted, by the right hand of our good God, in New Zealand.

December 2009 – The Baptism of an Orthodox Maori (New Zealand)

“Today let companies of High Priests in spirit leap for joy, as with us they honour your memory, venerable Hierarch Chrysostom, illuminary of the Church.“

We thank the Triune God for the limitless gifts which he offers to us every day. One such gift was received on this day by as many of us who met inside the Holy Parish of Saint Demetrios in the city of Hastings.

Today the first Orthodox Maori was baptized. Archimandrite Father Christodoulos and Hieromonk Ioakeim completed first the holy mystery of baptism of the Maori—Micheal, and later the holy mystery of marriage for Michael and his Greek wife Ephigenia.

Later in the evening our joy was completed with the baptism of their three children: Stephanos, Sophia and Athanasios.
We welcome our newly baptized brothers into the Great Church of Christ, may His holy name be glorified.

More videos from New Zealand and Fiji can be found on this channel on youtube.

Source: EP Archdiocese of New Zealand

Written by Stephen

May 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Axios: First Priest in Fiji

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From the blog of the Monastery of Panagia Ypseni, Rhodes:

Over the summer it was with great joy that we were visited by first Orthodox Christians on Fiji, Fr. Bartholomew and his Presbytera, Lydia, and saw his ordination to the diaconate on the island of Rhodes.

The ordination of Father Bartholomew to the priesthood in Thessaloniki was also a great blessing for us. On a Sunday morning, all the various friends and supporters of mission in Northern Greece gathered in the Metropolitan Church of St. Gregory of Palamas, so that they could feel the very heartbeat of Orthodox Mission, through living Orthodox Missionaries.

It was quite moving, as you can see from the photos below.

The Divine Liturgy and the Ordination was celebrated by His Eminence, Amphilochios, Metropolitan Amphilochios. He was joined by the Metropolitan of Rodostolou and the Holy Mountain, Chrysostomos, and the Archimandrites Fr. Theologos, Fr. Nikephoros (missionary in Congo), and Fr. Anastasios (from Kenya), Fr. Panaretos fron the Holy Mountain and the fathers of the metropolitan church.

Fr. Bartholomew, Mr. Prantzou and His Eminence gave speeches which informed us about the progress of Orthodoxy at the other end of the earth, in the Fiji Islands and Pacific, and encouraged everyone greatly because the Gospel is being spread to the people there.

Glory to God for All Things!

Pictures of the ordination and a article in Greek can be found here.

More on Orthodoxy in Fiji:

From Friday July 3rd through Sunday the 5th, the humble and quiet corner of Sambeto was raised up to sacred heights and saw spiritual events.

From anonymity and insignificance Sambeto became the centre of Orthodoxy in the land of Fiji this far flung island land of the Pacific.

In only three days a sacred baptismal font was constructed in the courtyard of the mission house, a beautiful baptistery whose equal can be found neither here nor in New Zealand. Here visitations, conversations, and religious education took place. Thus, this little corner became a sign of anaphora to the port city of Nadi.

On Friday, in the presence of certain distinguished people of this community and land, the very first baptisms took place a couple; Symi and Louisa who received the baptismal names of Bartholomaios and Lydia. On Saturday the couple’s wedding took place in an atmosphere of appropriate simplicity and royalty which springs forth from our sacred Orthodox tradition. Special emphasis to the event came from the love and offering of the sisters Gavriilia and Andrianna, as well as from the presence of Father Christodoulos (who just arrived from Colorado, of the United States) together with the most beloved Mr. John Johns (an attorney of the Omogenia). Both the newlywed couple and everyone in attendance were quite moved.

The grace of God was richly shared out upon this corner of Sambeto, which from here on out has entered into the annals of Orthodox history. The hearts of all the simple Fijians felt this historic significance, and they experienced unprecedented moments of emotion and joy.

On Sunday of this blessed three-day period we celebrated the Divine Liturgy. This Liturgy was the second ever, since the foundation of the earth, to occur on this little island that floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It marked the beginning of the sacred apostolic work of Orthodoxy in Fiji.

Orthodoxy of the Fijians and of the many Pacific Islanders has now entered into history. God has blessed it. Blessed be His name.

† Archbishop of New Zealand Amfilochios

More information on the mission to Fiji can be found at the website of the Greek Archdiocese of New Zealand, foundhere (just scroll down).

The First video is of Fr. Bartholomew’s ordination to the priesthood, and the second is of his ordination to the diaconate.

Written by Stephen

January 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Fiji, Ordination