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Author Topic: Half a million Guatemalan Indians accept Orthodoxy / Orthodoxy in Guatemala  (Read 11228 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 16, 2010, 09:40:50 AM »



http://www.pravoslavie.ru/news/35675.htm

Half a million Guatemalan Indians accepted Orthodoxy
Guatemala, June 15, 2010


[Machine translation] Recently, Orthodox Church accepted into its bosom the so-called "Orthodox-Catholic Church of Guatemala, which was a branch of" Orthodox-Catholic Church of America, "according to Sedmitsa.Ru. Founded in the late 19th century, it was not in canonical communion with the Local Orthodox Churches.

However, for several months, as the former "Orthodox-Catholic Church of Guatemala has been active in the jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchate, reported in the Mexican metropolis of Ecumenical Patriarchate, which was adopted by the Guatemalan church.

A particularly important role in bringing half a million Guatemalans into the bosom of the Orthodox Church played a Serb - Archimandrite Andrew (Vujisich).

"Orthodox-Catholic Church of Guatemala," consists of more than half a million faithful, most of them - local, Indian population, with 334 churches in Guatemala and southern Mexico, and 12 priests.

With the blessing of Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico Archimandrite Andrew (Vujisich) took the hard work in training qualified personnel, knowledgeable in the culture of Guatemala and Latin America for leadership positions in the now canonical Orthodox Church.

Surprisingly, the Indians may soon become the main ethnic group in the Orthodox Church in the Americas. "Personally, I would be glad," - said recently, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Jonah.

He noted that the Catholic Church is losing influence in Latin America because of too close relations with the ruling classes. Much of the poorest people who constitute the majority of the region, frustrated in Catholicism, goes to the Protestants, Mormons and others, explains the head of the American Orthodox Church.


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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 09:54:04 AM »

Has anyone seen more information about this from one of the Autocephalous Churches' websites (versus news or other Orthodox sites)?
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 09:57:50 AM »

Glory to God!
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2010, 10:06:03 AM »

Really hope that this is entirely accurate. I have read accounts of Islam making inroads in Central America & this could be a reversal of that bringing the people back to Christ. Glory to God.
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2010, 10:57:38 AM »

Has anyone seen more information about this from one of the Autocephalous Churches' websites (versus news or other Orthodox sites)?

As far as I know the only one official site of the autocephalous Churches that has newsreports considering topics outside their playground is the site of the Church of Serbia and as I remember it wasn't there. Suprisingly it wasn't also on the site of the Church of Constantinople.

I mean only English language versions.
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2010, 11:31:52 AM »

As far as I know the only one official site of the autocephalous Churches that has newsreports considering topics outside their playground is the site of the Church of Serbia and as I remember it wasn't there. Suprisingly it wasn't also on the site of the Church of Constantinople.

I mean only English language versions.

I'm not surprised - frequently the Ecumenical Patriarchate's site goes months without updates (except to the ecclesiastical calendar).
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 12:20:04 PM »

The EP is always updating the calendar! Tongue
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010, 12:32:46 PM »

The EP is always updating the calendar! Tongue


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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2010, 03:27:08 PM »

I found this link: http://www.prescottorthodox.org/2010/04/5000-indians-baptized-orthodox-in-mexico/
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2010, 03:57:39 PM »


It's the another one case Wink
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2010, 04:45:00 PM »

The website of the General Secretariat for Pan Orthodox Ministries now has 
some really nice photos up from visits to Guatemala and those who have
converted  to Orthodox Christianity. See them at:
 
http://www.secretariat.orthodoxtheologicalinstitute.org/index.php?option=com_oziogallery2&view=01tilt3d&Itemid=54
 
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2010, 07:04:50 PM »

My sources from Mexico told me that the actual number is "80000" who converted to the Orthodox faith and not Half a million.


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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 07:32:13 PM »

The website of the General Secretariat for Pan Orthodox Ministries now has 
some really nice photos up from visits to Guatemala and those who have
converted  to Orthodox Christianity. See them at:
 
http://www.secretariat.orthodoxtheologicalinstitute.org/index.php?option=com_oziogallery2&view=01tilt3d&Itemid=54
 


Thank you for the link.  Good pictures
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 07:33:08 PM »

My sources from Mexico told me that the actual number is "80000" who converted to the Orthodox faith and not Half a million.


In Christ,
Subdeacon Karim!

Thanks for the info.  That is still larger than most jurisdictions in North America!
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 11:50:57 PM »

My sources from Mexico told me that the actual number is "80000" who converted to the Orthodox faith and not Half a million.


In Christ,
Subdeacon Karim!

That seems more realistic.

500,000 people in 334 parishes and 12 priests? That's 1,500 per parish and almost 42,000 people per priest.

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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2010, 12:00:33 AM »

My sources from Mexico told me that the actual number is "80000" who converted to the Orthodox faith and not Half a million.


In Christ,
Subdeacon Karim!

That seems more realistic.

500,000 people in 334 parishes and 12 priests? That's 1,500 per parish and almost 42,000 people per priest.

That isn't unheard of...
The GOA has 2,000,000 with 540 parishes and 800 priests...
(3,700 per parish, but 2,500 per priest)

Look at the Roman Catholic Church, 1,170,000,000 people. 408,000 Priests, 218,000 parishes...
Thats 5,300 people per parish, and 2,800 people per priest.

We can't really assume that all 500,000 attend church EVERY Sunday. Besides, even the OCA leadership knew about this group. There is another, smaller group that also approached the OCA in Guatemala.
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2010, 09:20:48 PM »

http://piousfabrications.blogspot.com/2010/05/527000-souls-received-into-holy.html
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2010, 09:22:42 PM »

Sorry, should post the pertinent material from above link:
His Eminence Metropolitan ATHENAGORAS of Mexico expressed his great pleasure in welcoming the Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala, which was received in its entirety, including their former clergy, seminarians, lay ministers, catechists and affiliated membership into the canonical family of the Orthodox Church. Following their official reception, the leaders of OCCG, Messrs. Andrew Girón and Michael Castellanos traveled to Mexico City where on the weekend of March 19-21, they were ordained to the Holy Priesthood, receiving the title of Archimandrite.

The OCCG has an approximate membership of 527,000 faithful and catechumens, overwhelmingly indigenous, with 334 churches in Guatemala and southern Mexico, with 12 (formerly OCCG) clergymen and 14 seminarians, who are assisted in their pastoral ministry by 250 lay ministers and 380 catechists. The administrative offices of the OCCG are located on 280 acres of land, with a community college and 2 schools with 12 professors / teachers. Additionally, the OCCG has an established monastery located on 480 acres of land. Fourteen students from Guatemala, with full scholarship, are now enrolled in the St. Gregory Nazianzen Orthodox Theological Institute Licentiate degree program
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« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2010, 09:36:43 PM »

That isn't unheard of...
The GOA has 2,000,000 with 540 parishes and 800 priests...
(3,700 per parish, but 2,500 per priest)

Are those numbers from the GOA?  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research numbers are, I'm sorry, lower.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxsummary.html

Ebor
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« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2010, 09:50:24 PM »

I assume the priests are only 12 in number because some need ordained from among the ranks of clergy.   The "lay ministers" I assume are subdeacons or readers who were clergy of the former body but are not yet ordained Orthodox priests?   It is tough to figure out the ratio of 12 priests to this many parishes.  
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« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2010, 09:51:55 PM »

That isn't unheard of...
The GOA has 2,000,000 with 540 parishes and 800 priests...
(3,700 per parish, but 2,500 per priest)

Are those numbers from the GOA?  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research numbers are, I'm sorry, lower.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxsummary.html

Ebor

I know.  Real numbers are hard to come by.   Is the person who shows up once every two years a "member"? 
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« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2010, 10:00:24 PM »


Are those numbers from the GOA?  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research numbers are, I'm sorry, lower.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxsummary.html

Ebor

That was quite a jolt!

Greek members of the GOA --------    400,000

Guatemalan members of the GOA  ---  527,000

Overnight the Homogenia just became a secondary statistic in its own Church.   Will this be a set back for the promotion of Hellenism in America?
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« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2010, 10:17:29 PM »

The official website is here:

http://www.secretariat.orthodoxtheologicalinstitute.org/

Updates are a bit slow to be published as all of us involved in this tremendous event also have full time jobs to support family and church. The real need is in support. Not just financial but with materials from catechism to liturgical. This is also ones of the purposes of the seminary as a primary task is to properly train clergy. The website in in English but will be published in Spanish as well.  

Seminary website: http://www.orthodoxtheologicalinstitute.org/ (also in Spanish)

Updates will be forthcoming soon with new pictures and new announcements. I also want to make clear the scope of the task. It is not like 500,000 + all of a sudden become Orthodox. This will be years, I mean years in the making as these lovely indigenous people come to understand the fullness of the faith. It is a delicate situation over there and prayers / support are greatly needed. If you are serious about becoming involved please contact:

Protopresbyter Dr. Peter DiLeo-Vulić
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Address:

Fr.PeterDileo@OrthodoxTheologicalInstitute.org

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787 640 5461


From the news section:

The OCCG has an approximate membership of 527,000 faithful and catechumens, overwhelmingly indigenous, with 334 churches in Guatemala and southern Mexico, with 12 (formerly OCCG) clergymen and 14 seminarians, who are assisted in their pastoral ministry by 250 lay ministers and 380 catechists. The administrative offices of the OCCG are located on 280 acres of land, with a community college and 2 schools with 12 professors / teachers. Additionally, the OCCG has an established monastery located on 480 acres of land. Fourteen students from Guatemala, with full scholarship, are now enrolled in the St. Gregory Nazianzen Orthodox Theological Institute Licentiate degree program. The seminary is fully accredited by the Holy Metropolis’ Department of Education.

These numbers are not generated by us but by the former OCCG themselves.

If you have any questions I will do me best to answer them for you.

In Christ,
Fr. Deacon Daniel Williamson
OTI / Secretariat Administrator

"for the harvest is great but the workers are few" (Matthew 9:37)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 10:32:43 PM by Fr. Deacon Daniel » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2010, 10:22:32 PM »


Are those numbers from the GOA?  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research numbers are, I'm sorry, lower.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxsummary.html

Ebor

That was quite a jolt!

Greek members of the GOA --------    400,000

Guatemalan members of the GOA  ---  527,000

Overnight the Homogenia just became a secondary statistic in its own Church.   Will this be a set back for the promotion of Hellenism in America?

Irish, we are under Metropolitan ATHENAGORAS not GOA.
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« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2010, 10:48:31 PM »


Are those numbers from the GOA?  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research numbers are, I'm sorry, lower.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxsummary.html

Ebor

That was quite a jolt!

Greek members of the GOA --------    400,000

Guatemalan members of the GOA  ---  527,000

Overnight the Homogenia just became a secondary statistic in its own Church.   Will this be a set back for the promotion of Hellenism in America?

Irish, we are under Metropolitan ATHENAGORAS not GOA.

Yes, I do realise that, but for a non-American, America means all America, North and South. 

I suppose that is as bad as confusing the Scots and the English! 

But blame the Greeks in the United States who have misleading named their Archdiocese the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese "of America."   

Archishop Demetrios is styled:

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America


Seems they are claiming more than the United States.  Someone should suggest they correct their name and the Archbishop's titles! 

Fr Ambrose
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« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2010, 11:18:26 PM »

That isn't unheard of...
The GOA has 2,000,000 with 540 parishes and 800 priests...
(3,700 per parish, but 2,500 per priest)

Are those numbers from the GOA?  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research numbers are, I'm sorry, lower.
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/orthodoxsummary.html

Ebor

My point is that not everyone that is considered a member (or rather, an adherant) regularly attends. (in fact, many only twice a year, if that)
Is it really our place to judge how Orthodox these people are?

Also, "membership" in a Parish and someone that is baptized Orthodox are two different things (they shouldn't be, but they are). I suspect the 2 million number for the GOA is baptized faithful, whereas the 500,000 number is those that are actual participating members. As for the OCA, the 1.2 million that is claimed is baptized, whereas the 115,000 is regularly participating.

Do you honestly believe that ALL 280 million Orthodox Christians in the world attend Church regularly? The real number of regularly participating faithful is MUCH lower. However, it is NOT our job to judge how "Orthodox" these people are/are not. We can only say where the Holy Spirit is, not where he is not. Therefore, it is innacurate to say that there are only 800,000 or so Orthodox Christians in the USA, because the number of actual baptized Orthodox is much greater.

If you reread my earlier post. I posted the overall numbers for the GOA and the RCC... The numbers of active participants in the GOA and the RCC are obviously significantly lower. (which was my point) This group of Guatemalans coming into the Church (Praise God for it) may not all be regularly participating members of their Parishes. But even so, it's not our job to judge how "Orthodox" they will be just based on their participation rates.
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2010, 02:51:51 AM »

The man who carries the responsibility of the largest diocese in the Americas
- Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico

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« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2010, 09:57:03 AM »

What is happening to those ex-Roman Catholic priests?  Will or have they been chrismated and re-married in the Orthodox Church? 
Are they the 12 seminarians being re-educated to be Orthodox priests.

The OCA had so many problems and continues to have problems with ex-HOOMies including some now priests in their midst who were never properly educated.
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« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2010, 06:19:24 PM »

What is happening to those ex-Roman Catholic priests?  Will or have they been chrismated and re-married in the Orthodox Church? 
Are they the 12 seminarians being re-educated to be Orthodox priests.

The OCA had so many problems and continues to have problems with ex-HOOMies including some now priests in their midst who were never properly educated.

Yes, a priorty of the Secretariat is thorough Orthodox education of future clergy in Guatemala. You can view  the fantastic curriculem via the seminary website. 
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2011, 12:40:39 AM »

Here's another link: http://www.oodegr.com/english/ierapostoli/xwres/Guatemala/latin_america_orthodoxy.htm

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« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2011, 12:47:16 AM »

"We truly "own" Latin America. "

I like his optimism!  Grin
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2011, 11:20:43 AM »

"We truly "own" Latin America. "

I like his optimism!  Grin
That is all it is "optimism".  It is wrong to send out press releases about half a million converts without any evidence to back up these claims at all.
What is real is 12 former RCpriests who we hope are re-educated in  Orthodox theology and succeed in their ministry.  But please, it is too soon to send out numbers.
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2011, 12:18:31 PM »

"We truly "own" Latin America. "

I like his optimism!  Grin
That is all it is "optimism".  It is wrong to send out press releases about half a million converts without any evidence to back up these claims at all.
What is real is 12 former RCpriests who we hope are re-educated in  Orthodox theology and succeed in their ministry.  But please, it is too soon to send out numbers.

Doesn't it seem  that the Church has always been inflating her numbers in the 'New World' as was attested to by last year's scholarly paper on the probably actual statistics?
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« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2011, 11:34:40 AM »

"We truly "own" Latin America. "

I like his optimism!  Grin
That is all it is "optimism".  It is wrong to send out press releases about half a million converts without any evidence to back up these claims at all.
What is real is 12 former RC priests who we hope are re-educated in  Orthodox theology and succeed in their ministry.  But please, it is too soon to send out numbers.

Doesn't it seem  that the Church has always been inflating her numbers in the 'New World' as was attested to by last year's scholarly paper on the probably actual statistics?

Was there ever a followup article to this story in any Orthodox news source?  I agree with Podkarpatska about inflated numbers : half a million peope is a lot of people.
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« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2011, 12:28:31 PM »

how long would it take to chrismate/baptize that many people and in how many parishes??
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« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2011, 02:07:06 PM »

how long would it take to chrismate/baptize that many people and in how many parishes??

Good question, but have we seen any evidence that half a million people really did convert?Huh?
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« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2011, 02:08:38 PM »

how long would it take to chrismate/baptize that many people and in how many parishes??

Stepping really far out there with this (cause I'm really not sure)... but at the 7th Ecumenical Council didn't they reach some kind of compromise so that iconoclasts (or maybe it was just the clergy?) would be received in their current form, simply because of the sheer numbers of iconoclasts being dealt with compared to the Orthodox/iconodule numbers?
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« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2011, 02:11:47 PM »

how long would it take to chrismate/baptize that many people and in how many parishes??

Stepping really far out there with this (cause I'm really not sure)... but at the 7th Ecumenical Council didn't they reach some kind of compromise so that iconoclasts (or maybe it was just the clergy?) would be received in their current form, simply because of the sheer numbers of iconoclasts being dealt with compared to the Orthodox/iconodule numbers?

Isn't this case a litte different since those Indians have never been Orthodox while IIRC iconoclasts had formerly been member of the Church?
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« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2011, 02:15:02 PM »

While I'm happy they got accepted, it's too bad we missed it, because 500,000 people makes for one heck of a Happy Baptism party.  laugh
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« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2011, 02:16:31 PM »

how long would it take to chrismate/baptize that many people and in how many parishes??

Stepping really far out there with this (cause I'm really not sure)... but at the 7th Ecumenical Council didn't they reach some kind of compromise so that iconoclasts (or maybe it was just the clergy?) would be received in their current form, simply because of the sheer numbers of iconoclasts being dealt with compared to the Orthodox/iconodule numbers?

Isn't this case a litte different since those Indians have never been Orthodox while IIRC iconoclasts had formerly been member of the Church?

I'm not sure. I think Iconoclasm started like 50 years before the 7th Ecumenical... I don't recall whether most of the people involved had originally been Orthodox or not.
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« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2011, 03:05:42 PM »

Sorry to disappoint many of you, but I do not believe that any such 'mass re-baptism' would have occurred or be required canonically. Recent history gives us several examples. The large scale reception of Greek Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy in the 20th century in America, first under the movement led by St. Alexis Toth into the ompohorion of the Patriarch of Moscow (now mostly OCA) as well as those who in 1937-1941 converted to Orthodoxy under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the movement led by Metropolitan Orestes (Chornock), of thrice-blessed memory, (now mostly ACROD) were neither re-baptized, re-chrismated, and in the case of the clergy, none were re-ordained. I know this to be true from my own family history and experience.

(This was also true following the post-war synods in Eastern Europe which 'voluntarily' liquidated the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine and Slovakia and 'restored' Orthodoxy to those regions under Soviet domination. Not that this was a good example, given subsequent history.) 

I suspect that the if the Guatemalans' origin was in fact Roman Catholicism, ekonimia would permit their mass 'reception' into Orthodoxy. Obviously, if they were coming from a non-Trinitarian sect such as Unitarianism or a non-Christian one, such as Mormanism, the rules would be different and baptism and chrismation would be in order.
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« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2011, 10:17:08 AM »

Has anyone seen more information about this from one of the Autocephalous Churches' websites (versus news or other Orthodox sites)?
No I did a google search and there is no evidence that half a million people joined the Orthodox Church.
Just wistful thinking unfortunately.
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« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2011, 11:01:07 AM »

From the website of the Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico - Ecumenical Patriarchate:

http://www.orthodoxiamexico.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=69&lang=en

Quote
A former Roman Catholic priest, responding to a calling from within, to minister to the indigenous Mayan population of the Country, became Orthodox and established a Church, known officially as the “Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala”.  Last January, upon the petition of the leader of this group, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras proceeded to receive them into the canonical fold of the Holy Metropolis.  For over twenty years, the then un-canonical  Fr. Andrew Giron, who is presently a canonically ordained Archimandrite of our Church, ministered and labored unceasingly among the indigenous Mayans living in the mountainous regions of Guatemala and Southern Mexico.  The group has 338 Churches and chapels throughout the region and numbers over 500,000 faithful and catechumens.

The need now is to properly catechize and prepare these hundreds of thousands of faithful for proper reception into the Church, through chrismation and baptism where necessary.   The Archepiscopal Vicar for Guatemala, the Right Rev. Fr.Andrew Vujisic and two other clergymen, one from Colombia and the other from Mexico, will travel each month to the Country, and begin catechizing 500 leaders of the community who in turn will be charged with the responsibility of catechizing the faithful.  While this is a daunting task and will take years to accomplish, Metropolitan Athenagoras’ vision for the future of Orthodoxy in the whole of Latin America is beginning to bear fruit.
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« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2011, 11:53:58 AM »

From the website of the Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico - Ecumenical Patriarchate:

http://www.orthodoxiamexico.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=69&lang=en

Quote
A former Roman Catholic priest, responding to a calling from within, to minister to the indigenous Mayan population of the Country, became Orthodox and established a Church, known officially as the “Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala”.  Last January, upon the petition of the leader of this group, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras proceeded to receive them into the canonical fold of the Holy Metropolis.  For over twenty years, the then un-canonical  Fr. Andrew Giron, who is presently a canonically ordained Archimandrite of our Church, ministered and labored unceasingly among the indigenous Mayans living in the mountainous regions of Guatemala and Southern Mexico.  The group has 338 Churches and chapels throughout the region and numbers over 500,000 faithful and catechumens.

The need now is to properly catechize and prepare these hundreds of thousands of faithful for proper reception into the Church, through chrismation and baptism where necessary.   The Archepiscopal Vicar for Guatemala, the Right Rev. Fr.Andrew Vujisic and two other clergymen, one from Colombia and the other from Mexico, will travel each month to the Country, and begin catechizing 500 leaders of the community who in turn will be charged with the responsibility of catechizing the faithful.  While this is a daunting task and will take years to accomplish, Metropolitan Athenagoras’ vision for the future of Orthodoxy in the whole of Latin America is beginning to bear fruit.

Again there is no evidence that half a milliion people have formally converted to the Orthodox Church.
All vague:
Quote
thousands of Latin Americans are leaving the Catholic Church on a daily basis, seeking other religious experiences. 
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Ortho_cat
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« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2011, 02:15:10 PM »

From the website of the Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico - Ecumenical Patriarchate:

http://www.orthodoxiamexico.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=69&lang=en

Quote
A former Roman Catholic priest, responding to a calling from within, to minister to the indigenous Mayan population of the Country, became Orthodox and established a Church, known officially as the “Orthodox Catholic Church of Guatemala”.  Last January, upon the petition of the leader of this group, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras proceeded to receive them into the canonical fold of the Holy Metropolis.  For over twenty years, the then un-canonical  Fr. Andrew Giron, who is presently a canonically ordained Archimandrite of our Church, ministered and labored unceasingly among the indigenous Mayans living in the mountainous regions of Guatemala and Southern Mexico.  The group has 338 Churches and chapels throughout the region and numbers over 500,000 faithful and catechumens.

The need now is to properly catechize and prepare these hundreds of thousands of faithful for proper reception into the Church, through chrismation and baptism where necessary.   The Archepiscopal Vicar for Guatemala, the Right Rev. Fr.Andrew Vujisic and two other clergymen, one from Colombia and the other from Mexico, will travel each month to the Country, and begin catechizing 500 leaders of the community who in turn will be charged with the responsibility of catechizing the faithful.  While this is a daunting task and will take years to accomplish, Metropolitan Athenagoras’ vision for the future of Orthodoxy in the whole of Latin America is beginning to bear fruit.

looks like this is where the number came from...
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