Because of liturgical and pastoral encounters like this, in places where other missionaries have not gone or will not go, Orthodoxy continues to grow, not only near the Pacific coast and the Highlands of Western Guatemala, but also in Southern Mexico. They come to us by word of mouth, not one or two persons at a time, but whole communities, guided by their elders into the loving care of Archbishop Athenagoras and the Guatemalan clergy.
I visited the faithful of Ixcan with Father Andres nearly four years ago for the first time. What I found was a faithful remnant living in the most humble of circumstances and praying in weathered shanty-like structures consisting of wooden slats, dirt floors covered with fragrant pine needles, and rusty tin roofs, from which colorful streamers hung. I call these the cathedrals of the poor, magnificent in their unassuming simplicity.