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Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
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"My Grenada" ‒ Part II ‒ From the Diary of Hieromonk Ambrose (Sitalo)

Read Part I here.

August 12-13, 2019. Annual carnival.

Historically, in Catholic countries, before Lent, a carnival (in Latin, "goodbye meat") is organized. It has long lost its religious significance, but acquired an entertaining meaning for Caribbean people and their culture. In order not to compete with Trinidad and Tobago, where it is celebrated mostly in February but rarely in March, depending on the Gregorian calendar, the Grenadians moved it to mid-August. At this time, many dress up as ‘Jab Jabs,’ the manifestation of devils, and they drench themselves with oil. As my friend explained, this is a symbol of rebellion against slavery. Slave traders called runaway slaves who managed to slip out of the hands of their masters ‘devils’ in French (Jab-jab); in order to [slip through their hands] successfully, they would cover their whole body with oil.

At this time, I decided to stay on the farm and not go anywhere.

August 16th.

A month earlier, I went to the Caribbean Coding Academy to meet friends. They advertised their courses to 25 Catholic priests. Why? "So that they have a more holistic approach to the members of their communities, not only engaged in counseling, but also aware of their needs for employment, etc." After a three-month course, they offer employment. Five priests expressed a desire to study, but none of them appeared.

In addition to the prospects of employment and financial independence of our religious community, taking courses could serve as a way to combat idleness. Having developed inside, idleness can spread to church affairs. On the other hand, this could turn out to be unnecessary entertainment. After weighing everything, I decided to sign up, and I received the blessing from my Bishop.

August 20th.

During my stay in Grenada, I also met the Catholic Bishop of Grenada, Father Clyde Harvey, and several of his priests, who received me with enthusiasm. Bishop Harvey invited me to visit him: it turned out that a letter had come to him by mistake in my name from the Ministry of Grenada regarding the availability of land. In the end, he asked me for prayers and blessings.

August 22nd.

The first 24 prosphora[8] in Grenada were baked today at the Ideal Bakery on Mt. Pandy Beach. I was invited to meet with the owner of the bakery to come and participate in the process myself, wearing an apron.

For me, this is the best option ‒ I felt the same way as when practicing in the prosphornia[9] in Jordanville, NY. Actually, they were surprised that I did not want to put either sugar or fat. For me, the situation was also significantly different ‒ scales with weights, weighing "by eye" (not like in a monastery with pharmacy electronic scales). We cleaned a huge flask for a batch from the previous dough. Carl, my assistant and supervisor, also added water "by eye." Then I rolled part of the dough 50 times. Once, however, I mistakenly put the machine out of order because I filled the machine with a thicker layer of dough. The machine was dangerous for fingers, and dough is usually simply thrown into it. Carl suggested immediately sculpting the tops on the bottoms, cutting out the tops with a glass of a smaller diameter, and I smeared the bottoms with holy water. It was different in the monastery ‒ they were left to approach separately, and then combined, before cutting out about one diameter from the dough of different thickness. But when I put the seal, the dough was flattened and it turned out thinner. I went away for two hours. When I returned, almost everyone left, and the bunches were already in the furnace. I asked them to get them to pierce with a needle, so that during baking, air pockets would not form. Twenty minutes later, it turned out to be very cute and wonderful tasting prosphora, but the tops and bottoms of some were too fused that some of the print disappeared, and the cut was too soft; some had small air cavities inside, so only a few of them were fit for Liturgy. I wondered about using them together with the ones from the monastery from the freezer.

August 26th.

Recently, a woman came to worship, who found herself in a difficult life situation in search of spiritual help. Anna had not been to church for a long time and wanted to confess. I asked if she was baptized. As I expected, Anna replied that she was already baptized. In adulthood, she was baptized by complete immersion, confirmed by the Catholics, and even underwent training with them as a catechist. I explained that in ROCOR practice this is not considered baptism, and all who come to the Orthodox Church need to be baptized. Since the Roman Catholic Church and our Church are very similar to her, I said that I had to talk about the difference in a few meetings, and also invited to the Dormition to serve in Grenville (at Saed’s shop) and Sunday service in Saint George.

Anna has two children, and she can always baptize them with the Catholics in Trinidad, who will give out all the necessary documents for the school; however, I do not yet have a license and I cannot issue baptism documents.

In response to my question, why would she want to join? She replied that this is her inner calling. She had heard about Orthodoxy before, and she liked the Sunday service to which I invited her. For this meeting, we did not touch the issues of doctrinal differences, but we talked about the fact that only those who want to become saints can join the Orthodox Church.

This is not only an intact teaching, but also morality. Since she had to deal with perverts at work; we discussed this topic. I said that I cannot judge those who hate perverts and their abomination before God. After all, the Sodomites became the cause of the destruction of their own country, Sodom. It is not for nothing that the Bible speaks of rain of hot coals with burning sulfur prepared for some (Psalm 10:6). According to St. John Chrysostom, those "induce hell to appear prematurely." When such people become priests, this is a special manifestation of Satanism. I told Anna how they were treated during the reign of the Holy Emperor Justinian.

She would like to join through the Sacrament of Confession, but I convinced her to rely on the will of the hierarchical leadership in this matter and sent her a sample request to my Metropolitan to join the Orthodox Church. I recalled that in the petition to the metropolitan she should indicate the obligation to raise children in the Orthodox Faith, so I suggested joining the children when I arrive in October in Trinidad, where they live. Anna wrote a request to Metropolitan Hilarion of accession and agreed to join through the Rite of Baptism right now. I thought that she needed time to learn more about Orthodoxy and offered to wait and solemnly be baptized with the children, all together. After that, at sunset, we served Vespers, and I escorted her home.

August 29th, 2019. Gouyave.

During the operation of the radio station in Gouyave, I managed to release several radio programs about Orthodoxy, in which listeners could ask questions. Also, I regularly visited these programs over the past six months.

This time, Anna went with me. We didn’t get on the program, but I took the vestments with me and made the rite of making her a catechumen. Since the Reverend Martyr Anna (Yezhova; +1937) is celebrated today, I proposed this saint as her patroness and I told her a short life and the circumstances of the persecution of Christians in the last century.

Anna again asked to be baptized tomorrow but, again, I asked her to wait until she was convinced in practice that the spirituality to which she resorted, in fact, had the power to help solve the problems that arise.

We met a cane juice seller who had previously visited the radio program. It turned out that the former presenter of the radio broadcast ordered himself the so-called "mourning water" from a Nigerian pagan priest from England. He sprinkled his friends (and in particular on himself) and even boasted that he sent demons to them. We ended this evening with a long conversation with him. He recounted how Soviet soldiers were teaching him to use weapons during the 1983 revolution, and how he fled from the Americans from Grenada to Trinidad.

August 30th, 2019. Meeting at the farm

I invited Anna to the next meeting at the farm. Since there was no one to give her a lift, she came with a neighbor ‒ the son of a Syrian merchant, who (the son) studied magic in different places and called himself an "Obeah man," in which he believes that his energies attract and combine with other natural forces or earthly elements.

He was in an Afro-printed turban, introduced himself as a vegan, with a Masonic symbol and something else around his neck. We sat in a circle of acquaintances, and when it started to rain, only the Syrian man and I remained at the table (in my observation, Afro-Caribbean, dark-skinned people for some reason especially do not like to be wet by the rain), and I began to ask him how he determines with what spiritual force he deals: good or evil. He said that the forces with which he operated are neutral, but he realized that some magicians attract help from demons or the dead, and he condemns such practices. Then I asked whom he prefers to call. He replied, the Archangel Michael. I said that in Orthodoxy, we call for the help of righteous spirits in prayers, so that they help us to be with Almighty God through repentance. The greatest miracle is repentance. And by using the example from the Sermon on the Mount, I explained what a high moral standard a person is called to achieve through repentance. Jonathan (that was the name of the magician) listened with interest and agreed.

I was distracted by other guests. At this time, Jonathan was asked to show some magic for distinguished government officials, and he began to show them different tricks: he would take the watch off the owner without his knowledge, then he would pour water from one hand to another, then he would clap his hands and blow at a woman. All this was observed by those present and someone was filming with a video camera. I found this outrageous, and I removed myself from the magic entertainment. Anna wrote me a message that she is tired of communicating with people and is waiting for me. When I returned, Jonathan went out to freshen up, and the familiar Catholics explained to me that it was not magic, but sleight of hands, which was confirmed by Jonathan, who had returned. Then they began to examine with interest my pectoral cross and its inscriptions. Jonathan also examined it, not paying attention to the neighboring table, where he was asked to show more "magic". I explained that the demons have bad memories associated with the Cross, so they are afraid of it because they were once defeated by it. I wished everyone, including Jonathan, to be with the Conqueror and not with the vanquished.

 

 

Part III

September 10th, 2019.

Anna said yesterday that on the island of Tobago, her friend Elias, a member of the Thaer family who had been visited by missionaries the year before the last, was shot during the attempt to rob his store. He is already dying . Anna says that Elias is Orthodox, even wanted to become a priest, but in connection with the move from Syria this was not destined to come true.I conveyed her prayers for him to Orthodox friends.

September 14th, 2019

 Elias died while in ICU. I contacted his family to express my condolences and my desire to go to Tobago to pray for him. They agreed with the Catholic Church on the place of burial and asked me to fly to Tobago soon.

September 17th, 2019. Trinidad

To fly to Tobago, I flew to Trinidad first and met Anna. Although some call Trinidad the “Mecca of the Caribbean” on this first visit of mine, I dreamt that the name “Islands of the Holy Trinity” will be returned to it. Mr. Raja, her acquaintance, gave us wine for the Liturgy and agreed to host me for a few days. We began to discover the possibility of serving Liturgy in Trinidad on Sunday. The Catholic priest Father Mendes, with whom we spoke, said that Metropolitan Ignatius from Mexico (from the Antioch Patriarchate) regularly comes here (about once a year), asks for permission from the local Catholic bishop and serves. He suggested that we take the same path, but at that moment it was impossible to contact this bishop, since they had a conference until Monday.

Later that evening, I flew to Tobago and I stayed in a hotel.

September 18th, 2019. Tobago

In the morning at 7 o’clock I was taken to the house of the deceased, where the immediate family was gradually gathering. I invited a family member to read the psalms, but he began to read to himself, apparently, reading aloud seemed unusual to him at that moment. I prepared to meet the body to serve Litia[10]. When the coffin was brought in, one woman joyfully sang and clapped her hands, and then fell to the floor and began to cry. Those present surrounded the coffin and it was difficult for me to incense. Someone filmed and broadcasted to the mother of the deceased, who could not arrive. Only a few people prayed the Litia; the rest did not pay attention to what was happening. Thaer and several other young men helped me. Then they all got into their cars and immediately drove to the Church.

When I flew to Trinidad, I thought that Elias was Orthodox, as I was told. However, upon arrival it turned out that some believed that he was a Catholic and it had already been agreed that the funeral and burial should take place at the Catholic Church. These requests unfortunately became common for Orthodox Syrians in the Caribbean.

I thought for a long time about what to do in this situation, especially since this is not the first time I have encountered the problem of falling away from Orthodoxy into Roman Catholicism in the Caribbean, due to the lack of Orthodox Liturgy. As a result, I decided not to refuse to conduct the service due to pastoral considerations, which require the priest to show condescension in case of doubt, that is, to act by mercy.

When we arrived, I decided to wait in the park. Priest Emmanuel came in from the street, and we once again discussed the actions. I got vested and talked with a Syrian man who was Orthodox and my driver for the visit. He asked me for prayers for health.

Protestant songs came from within. When the time approached, I went to observe the grave, instructed the grave diggers, and when they brought the coffin, they laid it down, opened it, and I served Litia (some helped me in Arabic) and read the prayer of resolution, transfering the body of Elias to the earth. At the exit from the cemetery, we met a reporter with whom we agreed on an interview.

After the funeral, there was a memorial dinner during which I talked with young Syrian men. We talked about how good it would be for one of them to become a priest for their migrant community, and what is needed for this. I am very upset by the wide veneration of Charbel by the Orthodox, even though they do not know that he was a Maronite. I invited George Hourani, the owner of the house to celebrate the Liturgy the next day for those who did not receive communion in the Catholic Church this morning. He replied that this, of course, was necessary for all family members. In the evening I was brought to the hotel, where I had a good rest.

This is a great disaster, of course, that the faithful here, feeling the need for the Church, turn to Catholics and Protestants for help to resolve their spiritual problems. What to do in this case? I didn’t have any instructions to punish anyone, only to accept through confession with a promise not to receive communion from non-Orthodox. If someone withdrew from their faith so that they become a Roman Catholic, then I should accept them, as I understand it, through a handwritten petition with the renunciation of errors. And if someone became a Protestant or an infidel - then through anointing. With limited religious education, people feel lonely, sitting at home with their families, they feel like pagans who do not go to Church. They do not have the opportunity to visit Orthodox places, and the priest is not always available.

In this situation, it is very important to teach how to utilize and treat with reverence the prosphora and holy water and icons, how to equip the holy corner, train them to light candles in front of the images, in order to come to our senses and to help other people.

By the way, even practicing Catholics do not have a special sense of holiness in their culture. When I was recently on another island (Dominica), I was shocked by the fact that for a whole year after the hurricane, the cross on the existing church remained broken and turned upside down and no one was concerned about it.

September 19th, 2019. Tobago

After the first Orthodox Divine Liturgy, performed in Tobago, one woman came up and expressed her wish that a Church be built near the deceased's house. God grant.

Later that evening I went back to Trinidad by airplane.

September 20th, 2019. Trinidad

My friend asked me to baptize his wife and marry them.

I went to meet his wife at her workplace - in a restaurant where she is a cashier. When I spoke to the Catholic priest, Father Mendes, a couple days ago, he said that this woman is a Muslim in her heart, and she needs to know the faith first.

Many people spoke of her as a born Muslim and claimed she was raised in a Muslim village in Syria. But I saw her with a cross, and her Muslim parents do not oppose to her conversion. Her fiance would like her to be baptized and he also confirmed that her parents have accepted her conversion as a Christian. There is a saying in Syrian culture that if a muslim woman leaves her village to marry a Christian man, she cannot return to her village and likewise, if a Christian woman leave her village to marry a muslim, if she returns, her family could either punish her or abandon her. But in Trinidad and Tobago, where this woman is now showing interest in Christianity, she is welcomed into the community she chooses without punishment or abandonment.

She reads the Creed well. She even knows the “Our Father” prayer. In the Creed, the woman did not know who was Pilate. She was curious about Pilate and then she asked me about him. When I asked her about her religious belief, she somehow hesitant to answer. After seeing such a thing, I decided, with the help of her husband, to perform the rite of renunciation of Islam over her.

I was asking her questions and her husband who translated for her, gave her options to reply because the language barrier made it challenging for her to understand me.

It all ended with the ritual of the woman spitting and renouncing her previous and old religious errors. She was then united with Christ by bowing her head to Him and accepting him as Christ and God right at her workplace, where I put up the icons. Although she was distracted by the clients, she maneuvered her mind to focus on the rite. When I proposed to abdicate, I did not think that clients from among Arabic-speaking local Muslims, who are quite numerous in Trinidad , can approach the cash register. Therefore, I advised them to be careful in case of the presence of extremist Muslims, although if they kill us, we will become martyrs and our sins will be forgiven. Her husband istead, seeing a Muslim buyer, began to force him to kiss the priest's hand. After that, he showed me his house and he was unhappy that I did visit him.

Today I also gave an interview, which was later published in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper on October 16th, 2019.

------------ newspaper interview--

Russian Orthodox Church comes to T&T

Shastri Boodan

The Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) is slowly but surely gaining ground in the region. Priestmonk Ambrose shared some insight into the EOC’s presence and its future in T&T.

Priest Ambrose Sitalo was born in the USSR and was ordained in May 2019 after studying in Moscow[11], Russia. He was then sent as the Parish Rector to the Parish of St Georges, Grenada, Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia, one of four EOC parishes in the region[12]. Priest Ambrose was invited to Tobago by the Syrian community. He conducted the final rights or absolution prayer for Elias Dabourah at the graveyard, who was buried on September 18, 2019 on the grounds of the St Joseph RC Church at Scarborough. Dabourah, a migrant to T&T, who was born in Syria, went into priesthood[13] at some point in his life and was raised Orthodox was shot in the head a week before his burial by bandits who robbed his establishment at Crown Point.

Father Ambrose said when he learnt that Dabourah was in hospital prayers were said for him. However following Dabourah’s death he attended the funeral and conducted the last rights in Arabic and English. Father Ambrose said many Eastern Orthodox Christians who flee prosecution in Syria gravitate towards the Roman Catholic Church where they find a sense of belonging and comfort in spirituality[14] in a world they have to adjust their lives with their emotional struggles and detachment from what they were accustomed to in their homeland. He said the Christians in Syria are persecuted by Isis and Terrorists and are forced to leave their homes to take refuge in other parts of the world where they try hard to keep close to their faith.

Father Ambrose said other Orthodox churches are located in Antigua, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe[15] and its parishioners consists of migrants from Eastern Orthodox countries and locals who have converted. Father Ambrose said he has been approached to look at ways to set up an Orthodox church in T&T. He said there are well over a thousand persons of Syrian and Lebanese heritage living in T&T who have historical ties to the Orthodox church and are eager to see the start of an Orthodox church. Local Trinidadians and even immigrants who feel connected to the Orthodox Church are also eager to become part of the Orthodox faith. Father Ambrose said many have approached him to volunteer their services and some have already offered land to construct the church. He said a petition has to be sent to the Metropolitan Bishop to take the prospective parish under his jurisdiction. Once that goes smoothly a priest would have to be trained and appointed. He said it is up to the local community to decide on the way forward. Priest Ambrose said several persons have indicated their interest in being baptized in the Orthodox Church. He said the local flock are also eager to satisfy their pastoral needs as baptism, confessions and marriage. Priest Ambrose said during his short stay in T&T he had performed baptisms and entertained requests for marriage.

About the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).

 The Christian community that developed into what is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, who is thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends[16], Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city. The spot where he reportedly erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral.

By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863–69, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, both from the region of Macedonia in the Eastern Roman Empire translated parts of the Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs and Slavicized peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Ukraine, Northern Russia, Southern Russia and Central Russia.

The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world. Including all the autocephalous[17] churches under its supervision, its adherents number more than 150 million worldwide about half of the 300 million estimated adherents of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Among Christian churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church is second only to the Roman Catholic Church in terms of numbers of followers.

-----------------

 

Today in Trinidad I met an Indian man from Tobago who works in Trinidad. He is convinced that the Eastern Orthodox Church is original and that he is going to be baptized on my next visit.

September 21st, 2019.

On the Mother of God’s birthday, I performed the baptism of Anna and her children Catherine and Philaret in Caura river. At sunset that day, another baptism took place in the city of Chaguanas. Before baptism, Ketevan asked questions and received an explanation about the faith that the Son of God is God. So in the evening, when the first day of creation and the day of resurrection came, another soul was reborn.

September 22nd, 2019.

Today I celebrated the first Liturgy in Trinidad. I put on my vestments and I quietly performed proskomedia[18]. Gradually, parishioners began to catch up. About 5-8 people went to Confession then as many took Communion. Many could not come, because there was a red warning about storm Karen. Anna and the children did not show up for Liturgy. Instead, they went to the monastery; Mt St Benedict hills.

But some of the Liturgy attendees who were from other religions, were fascinated about the Orthodox faith and they seemed to be interested in knowing more.

In the evening Thaer and Ketevan were married. The prayer at the Wedding clearly states that we ask to bless the spouses' right hand. But in Syria it is customary to wear rings on the left hand, and I allowed them to act according to their culture after the Wedding.

Wedding and water blessing setting

September 24th, 2019.

When I returned to Grenada, I immediately got a message from Anna, "come back to Trinidad." I calculated how many donations I received from Trinidad. I did not ask for it and I did not refuse it, so it turned out that they were exactly enough to cover the ticket back and forth and for another time there. I decided to visit Trinidad once every one or two months.

September 29th, 2019. Sunday Liturgy at Aziz restaurant

When I started proskomedia, only two people came to the service. One Orthodox woman is married to a Presbyterian. She said that, “when “the priest” comes to their home, they pray and take Communion with the whole family.” I did not allow her to have Communion, because the rules for those who have already joined the Church are the same as for those who are entering: you cannot have Communion in other Сonfessions once you are Orthodox. If the shepherd often closes his eyes, it turns out that the blind leads the blind. We touched upon the topic of divisions, in which, from the Presbyterian point of view, the church hierarchy was to blame. I decided that I would call the brother of that lady to explain everything, which I did the next day, and I wrote to her myself, but they no longer answered me.

September 30th, 2019. Prison Ministry

After lunch, I went to jail. I was a bit late. An employee of a rehabilitation center, a Protestant missionary, Leon Cornwall meets me with the question “Do you know the Cappadocian fathers Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa?” He asked that question because he loves them. He then led me into the territory of the prisoners and showed me the place for prayer; in which one of the prisoners asked me to do the next time I visit.

He left me for a while in the yard, where prisoners began to approach me one by one. Before that, whenever I visited the prisoners, I was always put into a room where there were two rows of tables between the prisoners and me.

But in the yard there was no barrier. One asked for prayers, the other simply said something about himself and the third asked questions about the deity of the Son and the crucifixion on the Cross. For some reason they are more inclined to personal communication, and whenever the next prisoner came up, the other would step aside.

Some prisoners signed up for a course in theology by mail at one of the theology schools in London. They are troubled by Origen[19], whose interpretation of universal salvation is close to their hearts. I was able to maintain a conversation on this subject, since they hoped to find a like-minded person in Orthodox Christian. However, they do not know that they met a deep enemy to those views. After talking with the prisoners, Leon introduced me to another pastor, and we parted. I did not expect to see that people were extremely interested in my religion, especially the prison staff.

October 4th, 2019

A conversation took place with one of the parishioners in the company of our friends. He made some complaints about me to our mutual friends. It would be a good idea to discuss them together - but it so happened that non-practising Orthodox, Catholics, and atheists also participated. The parishioner complained that I say "only Orthodoxy", and he does not want his children, like the children of Sunni Muslims, to humiliate other children after my lessons on the basis of their faith. I wanted to propose for this to be discussed separately among the members, but they did not want to because they insisted that my refusal about not discussing with non-members, would be evidence of me religiously discriminating people.I explained that there are different levels of initiation or dedication in the congregation and we welcome everyone. There is the concept of fidelity to one's Confession, as well as the concept of fidelity in marriage. You can date a lady before marriage, but after marriage, such behavior is impossible. Regarding religion, I explained that I can’t admit that there are more than one truths.

They replied to me, “you don’t understand.”

The parishioner continued to complain to our mutual friend, who is a non-practicing Catholic, how good he felt when he went to the Catholics and how hard it is for him now. Since he is now a member of the Orthodox Church, he can no longer take communion with them, and all because of the “sinful priests” who are to be blamed for the division that has arisen. I said that this is nothing more than Protestantism — blaming the sin of separation on the entire priesthood.

 “It is better to pray at home, than to pray as we do-wherever we have to, ” he said.

I agreed that the restaurant where Liturgy was usually held is not the best place, but our parish cannot afford a better place, since we do not have monthly collections. I also added that we must appreciate that we have the opportunity to participate in the Eucharist, and in order to get the best, we need to be thankful for what we have. But he continued to be indignant that the rich Russian Church didn’t pay my salary and still hadn’t built the Church, that I was doing something wrong, and that I should better return and report about my failures to the bishop.

He said that inviting another priest to the island or opening a bank account wouldn’t be a problem. He stated that he would remove himself from among the other directors and he refused to fill out tax forms.

October 10th, 2019. Conversation with Jehovah's Witnesses.

While walking through the Sendall tunnel[20], I picked up a sectarian leaflet (after all, there the leaflet contains verses from the Sacred text that people trample upon because of their ignorance). When I walked along the shore of the Carenage bay, a conversation ensued with a group of Jehovah's Witnesses, who then offered me another, cleaner leaflet.

I recalled the tactics of communicating with them proposed by the book “Bethel Gambit”[21] and I asked them, what exactly attracted them to study the Bible in this organization. Then, when they could not clearly answer, they vaguely referred to their operation as ‘fruits of their activities.’

I reminded them of their doctrine in the year 1914; normally they would hide this from their new-commers, when the Lord allegedly came to appoint a faithful and good slave over the entire estate (which they base on Matthew 24: 45). At the same time I quoted from Charles Russell, the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, about his attitude to the Bible (where he was replacing the Bible with the works of himself).

I also noticed that the first generation of Jehovah's Witnesses had a Cross on the cover of their magazine. At this time, one Jehovah's Witness apologized and left. They called their leader who was standing nearby. He found out what religion I am, and in the process of telling him the story, I tried to direct his thought that the Eastern Church was original, which had not changed. He asked if we believe in the Trinity. I replied while making the sign of the cross, “we believe in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

 He replied, “so this is the Trinity!”

I asked him to remember what he just said, and I opened Matt. 28:19 and I said, "You see, it's not me, it is you who said it was the Trinity!"

Then I noticed that it was commanded by the Holy Scriptures to baptize not “in the names” but “in the name”, which means that the Son and the Spirit have the same Name as God the Father, which, according to them, is Jehovah.

Then, to return to the conversation about the original Church, I asked him to show me a place where, in his opinion, it is said that the whole Church fell away from God. He brought about the parable about the tares of Matthew. 13: 24-30.

During the discussion, it turned out that the wheat still remains until the end (verse 30, which he did not want to finish reading). He tried to change from an uncomfortable topic and he asked me about our attitude to the military service.

I said that in order to correctly understand the attitude prescribed by the Bible to this issue, you must first find out where the correct understanding of the Bible is stored and accept it.

I did not want to change the subject, but since he was insisting, I suggested that he reflect on Luke. 3:14, where St. John the Baptist addresses the soldiers with instruction. He himself quoted Rom. 13:1-7, which gave me reason to notice how during Rutherford’s[22] leadership in his organization, the understanding of this place changed and then returned back to original; which did not fit into their concept of “the path of the righteous, shining brighter and brighter,” which they base on Prov. 4:18.

I had to fend off a statement about the presence of other religions in the darkness by recalling a shameful incident at the Chicago airport with one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And here we turned to the topic of attitude towards those who were excluded from communication: what to do with those who were excommunicated for what later turned out to be true (an example of Raymond Frentz)? What kind of manifestation of love is this?

When he again tried to change the subject, we parted with plans to meet again (they are there every Thursday).

If our conversation happens again, then I have plans to strengthen his belief that it is good to ask questions to the representative of the original Church (after all, he seems to have never thought that the original Church could have survived) and, finally, to talk about false prophecies. It is a pity that when we spoke, the other Witnesses were not particularly interested in our conversation.

At the Presbyterian Church in St. George’s, Grenada.

At 5pm, I attended Bible study with the Presbyterians with their minister. This is my second visit (the first was before my ordination in May 2019). I consider it a duty to have a missionary presence whenever uncertainty arises amongst my flocks. This can sometimes affect them. It is my responsibility to clarify this uncertainty. There has been one such case; an Orthodox woman married to a Presbyterian. She believes, “if a presbyterian is not a true priest - then my marriage is not true, either, ” which is wrong.

In addition, people were glad to see me. The Presbyterian Tower is the third attraction after Catholic and Anglican Churches overlooking the magnificent town ​​bay. The building is almost ruined by Hurricane Ivan. Bible Classes are held in the house next to the tower. There are almost only women in attendance. The minister explains each verse of the Bible, as far as the Oxford edition allows. A somewhat boring lesson today was devoted to a general review of 1 Cor.

I was able to offer another interpretation of 1 Cor. 7: 36-38, which refers to a man keeping his damsel. From the Russian Synodal translation it is clear that it is talking about the father, and the English translation gives reason to interpret this as the life of the spouses as a brother and sister. After studying, the pastor gave me an opportunity to comment.

I said what I would usually say whenever I’m in a situation like this, “my goal is that they all may be one ” (John 17:21), because they believe in Christ, and we believe in Christ; they accept the same Scripture as we do, but we differ in understanding, and for this I came to clarify which one is true.

I got another invitation for the next class. Meanwhile, people began to leave. The women sitting next to me started asking me about my Church, about the history of the emergence of various faiths, and I pointed out that the Eastern Church, due to the lack of papal innovations, did not need, unlike others, neither reformation nor restoration.

With the explanation that all Christian organizations have historically separated from the Orthodox Church, I often have problems, because the main association with the word “Orthodox” is Orthodox Judaism, which is not Christianity. The reason for this is the local textbooks, in which there is a place for Orthodox Jews, of whom there are only a couple millions, but there are no Orthodox Christians, which are a hundred times more.

A girl asked about the prayer rope. I told her about the union of mind and heart in prayer. After that, the pastor and I talked about the Syrians. The pastor noted that the head of one of the major Syrian-Presbyterian families, unfortunately, converted to Buddhism. So, they drove me to a bus stop.

I am glad that I saw a lively interest in some parishioners to Orthodoxy.

October 14th, 2019. Prison Ministry.

In prison I a served Small Compline[23] with the reading of the canon to the Mother of God, which always has a penitential overtone. I took the priest’s stole[24], Liturgical books - The Book of Hours, Oktoechos. There was an icon on the cover of the “Orthodox Bible”, which was presented to me by one coptic Egyptian last year. It served as a holy image during prayer. The prisoners asked for my prayers, then the conversation was a mixture of questions and answers.

They asked the question, “was Christ crucified on a cross or on a pillar (as Jehovah’s Witnesses would proclaim)?”

I retaliated; that since in John 20:25 nails on hands are mentioned in the plural form, and not in a singular form, it was a cross on which Christ was crucified.

They asked about the deity of the Son, about why Cain was not forbidden to marry his sister. But one can see the influence of Jehovah's Witnesses' distribution of their books to the prisoners and of the Rastafarians.

After the conversation, the prisoners requested me to provide material assistance for them.I promised that I would deliver their request to the parishioners, and if the parishioners contributed, I will support them, but I couldn’t promise.

October 16th, 2019.

On my way to the Caribbean Coding Academy, I met a Muslim man who challenged me with Bible questions as if he wanted to embarrass me and at the same time, rate his religious text in comparison to mine. He wanted to use the following quotes to find contradiction and reject the entire Bible: in one place it is written that God is not a man to repent (1 Sam. 15:29), and in another place it is said that He repented (1 Sam. 15:35).

In defense, I debated that these anthropomorphisms should be understood spiritually. “Indeed, even in the Qur'an, hands and face are also attributed to Allah, but he is invisible,” I said. Then I drew attention to the fact that in the first case it is said about the essence of God (an apophatic expression of what He is NOT by nature, that is, that he is not a man), and in the second - about His actions. So these two places talk about different things.

Later I found the interpretation of St. Philaret (Drozdov)[25], who says that in the second case, "the law speaks in the language of the sons of men, that is, in the language of simple popular meaning." But at that time, I gave an example that, apparently, had an effect on my opponent- a person who is not in essence a thief, he does not steal, but once he stole[26].

Finally, I said that Muslims themselves acknowledge that there is Allah, and there is a revelation that is as co-eternal as Allah , the Qur'an. I instructed him that it is best he asked his Imam on how they give God companions, recognizing the Qur’an co-eternal to Allah. On this we parted.

October 24th, 2019.

I stopped at the residence of a familiar Catholic priest. He asked me about the religious situation in Ukraine. Somehow, a conversation started about unification with the Bishop of Rome. I revealed, “we are ready to admit that the pope is the bishop of Rome.” He replied, “this is not enough.”

I agreed, “yes, not enough. For unity, the same faith is still needed, and we are observing how people are brought into unity with Rome whose Christology is radically different from traditional (for example, Maronites and miaphysites).”

He concurred again and added that he had the same problem with this Protestant ecumenism. But he admitted that now he is more concerned about the upcoming Halloween and how he should protect parishioners from it.

 

October 25th, 2019

An Orthodox pilot found me on Facebook. He was arriving in 24 hours to Grenada. Soon after his arrival, we met, talked, and I offered to serve the Liturgy together the following day. Today we served Vespers.

Richard, a parishioner of the OCA, usually chooses a destination by air and closer to wherever he is, to attend an Orthodox Church.

He searched the Internet and found an article about our Church. He contacted me on Facebook. He brought me many different books about Orthodox Christianity in English translation from New York and he suggested that I compose a list of the necessary things for his next arrival.

October 26th, 2019.

Together with Richard we served the Divine Liturgy in my room in Frequente, which I booked through Airbnb. He posted the photos on my facebook page. At the Liturgy, we also prayed for a home church for our parishioners to fellowship.

October 29th, 2019.

Today I went to the Calliste area. I met a 69 year-old pastor who recommended a place for church gatherings (which turned out to be inaccessible) and he started a conversation with me. He asked me several questions then he pitched a question about why we are baptized in the Church with triple, rather than single immersion.

I justified to him that this meant a three-day stay in the tomb of the Saviour, and from the point of view of history, it is the Arians who began to baptize in one immersion.

And, although he was a Trinitarian[27], it turned out, as I thought - he is corrupted in his faith in the Trinity - it was difficult for him to recognize the possibility of prayer to the Holy Spirit. Then I changed the topic to where the Church of Christ is now, which, according to the Bible, is not destructible. He started to speak about apostolic ambassadorship. I then said, “since now there are no people mentioned in the Gospel - Matthew, Peter, Bartholomew (and other apostles) - any apostolic ambassadorship from Christ is indirect.” He agreed then added that, “whoever does not have it, is an impostor.” But when he understood what I had in mind, he offered to give me a ride to my next location.

November 1st, 2019.

Pastor Rene is an Adventist who resides near me in Frequente. He once asked me about my attitude to Sabbath, and I promised him that this evening I would return with an answer for his question.

When the Adventist believers started their Sabbath with singing, I excused myself because I needed to take a shower.

When I returned, their singing was finished. After a short sermon, the Adventist pastor, his wife and I began a conversation in the presence of other family members. We discussed the role of the law of God.

Their very own impenetrable proof-point, “violation of the commandments, which come from God in the Bible is a sin,” they themselves breached it by saying that Christ abolished the ceremonial law.

The pastor also gave me a head start at the beginning saying that Shabbath can differ. And I just decided to consider David’s Psalm 94 (95), which refers to the three Sabbaths: the one after creative, in the promised land, and rest in the kingdom of heaven, which they also mentioned. Then we went to Heb. 3: 7-4: 11, which refers to the Sabbath of the people of God, and I suggested to them the question “what kind of ‘other day’ is it in verse 8"? I offered a hint to Ps. 117 (118): 24 “This day, the Lord hath made” and compared it with Rev. 21: 23-25, which refers to the eternal day.

When I heard a baby crying in their home church, and I suggested to return the next time to examine the question of whether the Bible speaks of the possibility of the whole Church falling away from the truth, and if not, where is this Church now? They agreed to meet, but we haven’t met.

November 6th, 2019. Relocation

Today makes it three weeks since I left the charitable farm in Grand Etang. I wanted to find a suitable place for parish life.

Through the prayers of St. Spiridon, this new place was found on the last check out day at Frequente. During the 3 weeks search, I wondered why, if the Lord wants it and why it takes so much time?

Looking back, I realized that I had not preached in the past few months as much as I did in these three weeks.

The decision to “reset” the mission arose after discussion with Fr. George[28]about the development of the parish in Grenada and the need to find a new place, more accessible to the parishioners. Due to constant change of temporary meeting locations for Liturgy and other spiritual meetings, parishioners had difficulty in visiting. With spiritual advice from my advisor, I decided to leave the farm, to find a convenient place for living, Liturgy and meetings, closer to the parishioners in the city, until we found a suitable location for Liturgy.

This was the tactic of previous missionaries, including Andrey Zhmak, who had served in Grenada for several months before me, and on my first visit, I followed his approach as a newly arrived to organize myself with interested members.

But eventually, I had to change my approach when Dr. Ian Murray, who helped the mission a lot, invited me to live with him. One benefactor in Grenada also offered me a place to stay at this farm.

My hosts took the financial responsibility of maintaining me whenever I stayed by them. As Orthodox themselves, they helped me in many other ways suitable for them and when they can, something which I truly appreciate. Meanwhile, a place that was recommended for the Church reception was unfortunately occupied by others.

It was Father George, who took the responsibility to support me and the parish in every possible way he can from a distance; spiritually, morally, and financially, and to whom I tried to report and communicate with about every day events during these days of my absence on the farm, - it was Fr George who advised me to serve moleben to st. Spiridon of Trimyphuntus.

Thus, this morning I met the owner of a two-room apartment. It was completely unfurnished. The hallway seemed too narrow to build an altar. In the eastern part there is a restroom. The room is divided by wooden partitions. However, after the prayers to St. Spiridon I got the confidence that this is the place, albeit temporary, which is worth deciding on. The only thing that bothered me was the lack of a freezer, where to store the prosphora. Since the place is unfurnished, there is still much to be acquired in detail. After a freezer was given to me as a ‘borrow’ to store prosphora, the next need is to obtain a kettle to boil zeon[29]. It is important to have at least one chair for sitting during the reading of the Apostle. Chairs would be useful for parishioners too, but we can feel satisfied with a mattress as for now. We need a broom and a mop to clean. Instead of a katapetasma[30], I hung up donated curtains. In the future, we still need to purchase a table for classes.

November 9th, 2019

Today I slept a lot. The building is somewhat elevated, so the room is not very stuffy. The air is not as pure as the air on the farm, since the house is by the road, but it seems to be the normal level of pollution in the city, especially at night. I’m also accustomed to the urban noise level of passing cars.

At 10 o’clock in the evening, around 4 local young men, switched on their music to the fullest, but turned it off after half an hour. The walls between the rooms are wooden, in one place they do not reach the ceiling, so one can hear the conversations in the next apartment.

November 11th, 2019. Prison Ministry.

Today, for some reason, the prisoners and I spoke a lot on the topic of Genesis.

The continuation of the story with Cain - contrary to some erroneous opinions, he did not take his wife from the land of Nod (as if she were kind of an alien), but Cain relocated with her. I tried to explain why the Lord did not change, while allowing at different times different marital ties (in the creation of closely related family members, through Moses - the law of levirate, today - a ban on close ties) referring to Ecclesiastes: “ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven "(Eccl. 3: 1-8). Then they asked me whether people lived on other continents during the time of Noah. They started to argue among themselves over how all animals could fit in the ark. Then one of the prisoners handed me his notebook with extracts on how to deal with temptations so that I could read and approve of it. The time has come for various requests. One prisoner reminded me that he needed the Bible in large print because he could not read small letters. They asked to print the books of the Bible, which are not included in the modern translation of King James (KJV).

15th of November, 2019

I had a conversation with two Syrians; a Catholic and Orthodox women. Although the conversation was friendly, it disturbs me when the hierarchy is accused of Church divisions. They said to me, "it is not your fault!" I showed the Orthodox Creed in Arabic to the Catholic woman. She said, "This is the same thing!" Then I decided to confront her, “it turns out that you are still Orthodox?”

After that they challenged me with a question, “Do you think God is Orthodox?” And when I answered affirmatively (as st. Anastasius of Sinai writes in "The Guide Along the Right Path” (p.2), “Orthodoxy is a true thought about God and creation; or - the true thought about everything; or - understanding about beings as they are”) they told me that I answered like a Muslim. In fact, after such an experience, it seems to me that it is easier to go to talk to local Muslims than to some Christians.

This is not the first time that some parishioners have compared me to extremists based on my faith in the truthfulness of the only Church. I was almost accused of initiating an interfaith conflict.

This, of course, a manifestation of their disappointment in me as a priest. They were delighted with my appearance in Grenada. But then, under the influence of some Catholics and other Christians, who came to the Orthodox service and criticized it among themselves in my absence with Orthodox members (since it is not similar in its rules even to the Catholic: not everyone is given the sacrament; only Orthodox are allowed to read prayers; there is Confession, etc. ), decided that I am a bad priest. But in fact, extremists are those who do not allow their Orthodox wives to go to their Church but force them to go to their own Church.

Provided that, I have good relations with all the heads of religious organizations in Grenada, we are friends. However, there is nothing I can do about those who are heterodox, pretend to be Orthodox and expect that the priest will stay in denial to this.

November 17th, 2019

The first service was held at the new place in Grand Anse, in which there were only Russians: a family of professors and a Lutheran woman, who alone brought a tithe. There was only one entrance to the altar; it served both the Royal and Deacon's gates. The parishioners sat on a mattress. Although there was no fan or air conditioning, it was not stuffy. I delivered a sermon on the topic of the connection between the Old and New Testaments. After the service, we had some juice with refreshments. As I promised the prisoners, I voiced their requested needs to the parishioners, which were received with jokes. We talked.

November 27th, 2019

While walking through the market, I saw people discussing the Scripture, namely the doctrine of the Trinity. Among them were my friends, to whom I joined. I showed them the Scripture, Acts. 5:4, which assured them of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. They also asked if King Manasseh had repented after what he had done for Israel. I also showed in my Bible, the prayer of Manasseh from 2 Samuel ch. 37.

They began to interrogate me about my faith in the Virgin Mary. They brought a well-known Protestant argument that Joseph did not know Her, “until” She gave birth to the Son (Matthew 1:25). I recalled as needed, Matt. 28:19, "I am with you all the days until the end of the age." They were not getting the subtleties here for a long while, and I declared to them that after the end of the century, Christ will not be with them.

They were apparently frightened that Christ would be with them so they decided to agree with me, but they added that Christ will be with us - not like he is now - but only spiritually. And here they discovered a malice in faith, not believing that Christ physically abides in the Church now.

They understood that I meant the Catholic Communion as a change in substance.

And here I began to ask questions, “when did Christ turn water into wine (Jn. ch.2), and water into blood? (at Moses’ times, Exodus ch. 7)” - was this transubstantiation?” I also asked, “why didn’t Christ say to those who left him ‘You didn’t understand me correctly, I didn’t mean literally’, but asked the disciples if they would like to leave too? (Jh. 6:67) And if the Communion in their Church is not real, but symbolic (these words are not in the Scriptures), maybe their Church unity is also not real, but figurative?”

When their questions were over, I asked, “who put all the books of the Bible together? and which Church these people attend? For their understanding was obviously inspired by the Holy Spirit.” They began to get confused in their explanation, then they said, “in the 17th century the Church came out of the underground in order to shed light. I then told them, “so it turns out, you are the same Roman Catholics, for you came out from them”.

They replied, “no, Roman Catholics departed from Christianity, and the original church did not need a new light and a different teaching". I asked, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Matt. 7:16) and a bad tree, good fruits?” I suggested that they seek a Church where they follow the apostolic tradition (2 Thess. 3: 6). After that I went to class. Such long communication shows interest and the ability to study in depth not only by the Trinidadian and Tobagonian people, but also by the Grenadians.

November 29th, 2019.

Today, with the owner of the apartment and another worker, the altar wall was shifted to make the sanctuary smaller, as planned. At the same time, I explained what exactly needs to be done and I physically helped doing minor things.

The wall, consisting of double sheetrocks, was dismantled. We had to rewire in a new way. The relief was that the partition was not required , as before, to be double. A deacon’s door appeared after the removal of the partition. I also asked them to make a place under the Deesis row[31]. The work lasted without a break until 4 pm, and for me it was an unusual one.

November 30th, 2019. Trinidad and Tobago

On my second visit to Trinidad, I stayed with the acquaintances of whom I recently married. The owner of the house invited about 10 guests. I read for three of them the preparational prayers for Baptism to make them catechumens.

They were preparing to be baptized, but before my appearance they were going to be baptized by Roman Catholics, now they have to make a choice. Two of those present were already baptized in Catholicism. I asked the children to read the evening prayers, and at that time I listened to the confessions of the adults so that they were ready for tomorrow's Sunday Liturgy. After this, they lime[32] in the yard and we discussed the first three commandments of bliss (Mt.5) as the secret to achieving happiness. Non-Orthodox guests also took part in the conversation.

December 1st, 2019

In the morning I showed boldness : the owner of the house showed me the apartments next to his house, how he arranged them, about which he had previously said that he was ready to give them to the Church, and he also told me, “my house is your house.” I re-glued all the icons into a new room, asked for help to move the table, and then I removed the garbage. It turned out to be like a small Church, though without an iconostasis, and I was going to serve the Liturgy here. Unfortunately, people came to the service late, some even after reading the Gospel. A total of about 13 people, of which 10 partook of Communion. One old lady didn’t take Communion, and said that she had come just to listen to prayers, and she had Communed yesterday with the Roman Catholics. Another Catholic woman also did not take Communion. In this “Church” there is a place behind the sanctuary where the Confession was heard (for those who did not Confess yesterday).

\

December 2nd, 2019

One brother drove me to bless Lawrence of Arabia, the restaurant owned by the woman who invited me yesterday, Seham Laquis (Sukaria). After the restaurant was blessed, he drove me to her house. There were chairs set up and a table. About 20 people were waiting for the beginning of prayers. I didn’t have enough holy water, so I suggested sanctifying the water so that it would be enough for all people. I think the next time I visit Trinidad, I will serve on Sunday at her house. One woman named Souad helped me to pray. I delivered a sermon on the power of faith, which brings sanctification in the home, in the country, and throughout the world.

Seham also prepared bread (خبز القربان), and I talked about the ingredients of the holy prosphora and what they mean. People asked me questions after prayers, and I asked even more questions to one of the sisters, as she said that she was a member of the parish of Metropolitan Ignatius[33]. It turned out, for some reason, that he had not been visiting Trinidad and Tobago for a long time, and as a result, they are attending the Catholic Church every Sunday. I said that people in this part of the world are not familiar with the Orthodox Church, and they would never get to know it if the Orthodox Christians keep going to Catholic and Protestant congregations. I expressed my desire for the Orthodox Church to be built here in Trinidad and Tobago. After speaking, we read some evening prayers in Arabic and we parted. It was the same grandiose evening as on my first visit to Tobago, but now in the capital of Trinidad - Port of Spain.

I keep thinking about the absence of Orthodox Churches in the Southern Caribbean islands and the lack of understanding of the Orthodox Chrisitians that Orthodox Churches may never appear if believers attend prayers at non-Orthodox gatherings .

While discussing the issues, I came up with an example of an artist mixes colors, depending on what color he wants.

But if the picture lacks white, then in order to add white to it, he cannot use the same brushes that he already painted with the other colors, otherwise white will not be clean. Trinidad and Tobago is a picture in which all religions are represented, but there is an absence of Eastern Orthodox Christianity because there are many Orthodox believers but no Orthodox churches for them to attend.

In order to have a Church, you need to follow certain rules- maybe new for Trinidad and Tobago (by analogy with new brushes).

December 4th, 2019

This is my second visit to Trinidad and Tobago in which I celebrated the Liturgy.

According to the old style, today is the Feast of the Introduction to the Temple of Jerusalem of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to the new style - the memory of the great martyr Barbara, which is celebrated by the Orthodox in Syria.

I was worried about whether or not I correctly answered the question about artificial insemination, which I was asked during the trip. Will I become an accomplice in deaths in the event of unsuccessful fertilization attempts? I related the story about the children fr. Vladimir Vorobyov and, thus, warned of the danger. I also looked at the position of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Greece on this issue, which speak of a persistent urge to adopt a child. I also wondered if we really cannot draw from the Holy Tradition here? As far as I know, there are accidents during ordinary fertilization, then how does their risk differ from artificial fertilization when there is no fatal “reduction”, and when only one embryo is planted at a time? “Thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.” (Lev. 18:19). But it seems this is exactly what happens when the cycles are stimulated and the embryo is in danger. In general, I advised the adoption of a child, because I do not want a woman to become a murderer. And I said that I would pray only for adoption. My advice seems to have been accepted, and my worries vanished.

December 5th, 2019

I was invited to the house of Thaer’s sister, where we made the consecration of her home. She lived with her husband and son.

They remembered that two years ago, they were visited by Fr. George with Alexander V. Lyulka, who was at that time, the head of the Orthodox Missionary School at the Synodal missionary department of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Thaer’s sister wanted me to stay at their house. They wish they would have attended the Liturgy the previous Sunday, but they did not know about it, and besides, she was in Tobago at that time. My arrival was not announced in advance. But I responded that, unfortunately, I had a compulsory lectures to attend in Grenada, and in the evening I would need to return, so I couldn’t stay with them to serve Liturgy the following morning.

When I arrived at the airport, there was a problem with my flight. It needed to be rebooked the next evening. I was taken back to Thaer's sister, where we read prayers before going to bed and before Communion. The hostess baked the 4 missing prosphora (one for the Host remained after the flight to Tobago).

We woke up at 4:30am to perform the service before going to work - 4 people and I. They all confessed .

December 7th, 2019 Grenada

The mother of one of the farm staff, Olga Nims, was inspired by the life of St. Raphael Hawaweeny and she painted his icon in which she decided to donate to our Church. Today, in the largest supermarket in the city, an exhibition of paintings will take place, and she will exhibit this icon. She also offered me the opportunity to bring a donation box and for me to communicate with people.I wanted to attend just to drop off the box and return because there was a need to clean the sanctuary after renovation last week. But eventually I stayed at the exhibition.

I met several other Russian speakers in Grenada, one of whom was Catherine, whose name day was celebrated that day. Some donated. I showed to the local Syrians their holy compatriot (St. Raphael of Brooklyn). Until 5 pm Olga and I were able to discuss only one question because there were so many other tasks to do. She asked about the attitude of the Church to the drawing of naked bodies, forms etc. I replied briefly with a scriptural quote, “cover the naked” (Isa. 58: 7, Matthew 25:36).

December 9th, 2019. Dominica

So, thanks to donations from Jordanville that were donated for the trip to Dominica. We managed to buy a one-way ticket to Dominica for today. The burden on sponsors, of course, is already unexpectedly large, since there was a need for maintenance in connection with my relocation. However, our people in Dominica have been waiting for the annual visit of the priest for more than a year, while they themselves, unlike other Orthodox Christians there, are not able to go to visit the Liturgy. Gabriel and his wife Theodosia converted last year. They were waiting for the arrival of the true Church.

We passed the roads that had already been cleared after recent events. During the election, one party financed the arrival of voters in Dominica, while the other blocked roads to prevent the flight from landing. Dominica is recovering from the little "war" that erupted before the election. Representatives of the opposition party burned trash on the roads, trees ‘deliberately’ fell on the roads, planes flew in and turned around, because the road from the airport was blocked. Residents inflicted a certain insult to the Catholic bishop who was walking the airport road. But there were no victims in Marigot, only two killed in other villages.

My old friends welcomed me into a house, but it felt as if I left then yesterday after an entire year of not seeing each other.

Pablo, who speaks for the undisputed victorious Prime Minister Skeritt, said he was disappointed in his church, which asked him to be out of politics. He wanted to be rebaptized and so he found a new church at home. He is still impressed by the book of fr. Daniel Sysoev, “The Law of God”, which he asked me to bring, so that he could preach using it - mainly to preach about the saints - something that is not familiar to the people here in Dominica. He drove me to his home, introduced me to his daughter, and I went my way.

December 11th, 2019

The Morning Rule and Divine Liturgy. When I was putting the Paten[34] out, I realized that the stand was staggering. I wanted to tighten it up somehow, but it remained in my hand. As a result of various movements inside the luggage, apparently, this damage occurred. I attached it back to the base with tape.

After the Liturgy, I went to the post office and I received an envelope from my Jordanville sister Magdalene with donations; which had been lying there since October 31.

In the evening, I managed to call Bishop Luke from the Jordanville Monastery. He promised to help me obtain a new Paten. I received spiritual advice from him and we also served the Holy Unction with Gabriel and Theodosia. I didn’t choose the date of the trip. I simply relied on Fr. Nectarios from Jordanville, who bought me a ticket and I never regretted it.

It’s good that I didn’t arrive earlier - during the pre-election turmoil. On the other hand - the day of the holy Apostle Andrew who is the patron saint of the Marigot parish, where our converts live, was during my visit.

We celebrated the Liturgy in honor of this saint. All three of us partook of the Holy Communion.

I fulfilled the promise of the annual visit, then I returned to Grenada.

In preparing the diaries for publication, the author thanks for the help of servants of God Maria, Anna Levi and brother V., who wanted to remain unnamed.

[8] Bread used at the Divine service.

[9] Monastery bakery.

[10] Short funeral service.

[11] In Moscow region

[12] Including parishes in Antigua and Guadeloupe (of Antiochian and Romanian Patriarchates), Martinique and Saint-Lucy.

[13] According to Anna Levi, a close friend of the deceased, he was thinking to become a priest

[14] Imitation

[15] Parishes which have a regular priest

[16] From the “Lives of the saint” of st. Dimitry of Rostov

[17] Autonomous

[18] Preparational service for the Liturgy.

[19] A heretic Christian writer of the early Christian era (3d c.)

[20] The Sendall tunnel is in the capital of St. George’s and was built for horse carriages in 1894.

[21] “Gambit of Bethel” is a Russian version of the same tactic which was originally proposed by an ex-Jehovah’s Witness Don Cameron in his book “Captives of a Concept.”

[22] Leader after Charles Russel of the organization.

[23] A service after evening meals.

[24] Piece of priest’s vestment.

[25] St Philaret Drozdov “Commentary on Genesis”

[26] I could have used an example of a man, who is not an alcoholic, but drank a glass of wine on one occasion - but not in conversation with a muslim

[27] Believer in the Holy Trinity

[28] Priest George Maximov - spiritual father of the Orthodox Missionary Movement in honor of the holy prophet Daniel - http://daniilcenter.ru/ . Vladyka Hilarion blessed me to continue to consult with him on missionary matters after I became a priest.

[29] Hot water to add to the Chalice during Liturgy representing the fervor of saints.

[30] A curtain separating the sanctuary from laymen.

[31] The second row of the iconscreen in Orthodox Church.

[32] hanging out/socialising in an informal relaxing environment

[33] Metropolitan of Mexico, Venezuela, the Caribbean and the Central America (Antiochian Orthodox Church)

[34] Holy vessels for the Liturgy.

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