Jamaican Orthodox Mission leaving Constantinople for ROCOR

Jamaica, December 20, 2019

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The mission parishes of the Jamaican Orthodox Mission have voted to join the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and are in the process of being received.

The mission initially began on April 24, 2015, as the Holy Orthodox Archdiocese in Jamaica—a Vicariate of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The mission was established in response to the efforts of a young Jamaican, Moses Myers, a former member of a Pentecostal Holiness denomination who converted to Orthodoxy in March 2014.

As Myers told OrthoChristian.com, the Jamaican Mission consists of two mission parishes including 15 baptized and chrismated Orthodox faithful, 7 catechumens, and over 30 inquirers. The mission is currently working to establish other communities across the island.

On Saturday June 1, the core group of parishioners from both parishes met to discuss the current state of the mission. Prior discussions had been taking place since January. Some of the concerns raised included internal and external factors that had been negatively affecting the mission for an extended period of time, one of which was the need for a full-time priest.

Other concerns stemmed from the fact that outside of Kingston there was no work being done to establish another parish in the North. There were also concerns regarding the current tensions brewing in global Orthodoxy, especially within the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

On Sunday December 8, a combined meeting of both parishes was held to discuss concerns over the priest serving the mission at that time. Additionally, concerns were again raised in regards to the mission itself, as it was believed that, despite efforts made by certain individuals to keep the mission afloat, the mission had been neglected by the Metropolis of Mexico over the years. As such, the recommendation to transfer the mission to another jurisdiction was revived, and it was decided that the matter would be carefully considered by everyone, pending a final decision

On December 15, both the Northern and Southern communities unanimously agreed for the Mission to be transferred to ROCOR.

Met. Hilarion has instructed Vladyka Luke of Syracuse, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, to receive the Mission into ROCOR, the process of which has already begun, Myers explained.

Several ROCOR priests have already indicated a willingness to visit and assist the Mission, and the Church is working on finding a permanent priest. ROCOR has assisted the Mission since its beginning, sending books, CDs, and other materials.

The Mission has been served by a number of visiting priests since its founding.

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Philip Andrei Green2/27/2020 6:22 am
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Philip Andrei Green2/22/2020 10:32 am
It saddens me to read this blog post. We are all Orthodox Christians, we should not fight or strife over petty matters. God Bless the Jamaican Orthodox Mission and her people. I was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) by the late Father Kallistos in Missouri. I served as an Acolyte in the Antiochian Orthodox Church growing up, but as we moved around a lot, I also attended Greek Orthodox churches, as well as the Orthodox Church of America, and the Orthodox Churches in Jerusalem, Israel (Greek, Russian, & Arab) & Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is painful for me to see all of the politics and separation from Constantinople and fighting between Patriarchs, especially the drama in the Ukraine. I have never heard of a ROCOR priest being ordained without going to seminary school first, such as the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. Let's all remember that the Orthodox Church belongs to the most Holy Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church. May God have mercy on us and save us. God Bless. In Christ, -Philip Andrei Green Orthodox Christian Unworthy Servant of God
Steven12/22/2019 4:41 pm
Viktoria There are plenty of Greeks, me being one of them who would disagree with what Fr Sotiris said as well about the Theotokos , the toll houses etc.. Thank God for our monasteries here in America that havent succumbed to the watering down of the faith from the ecumenists etc...
Victoria12/21/2019 9:36 pm
Greetings. I’m a cradle orthodox from Ukraine, live in Jamaica and I’m part of the Orthodox missionary from 2015. I think it’s up to the community to decide under whose leadership they want to be. Our decision was taken unanimously by the number of reasons behind it. Apart of the global issues with EP (Ecumenism, modernism, recognition of schismatics etc.) which played a significant role in our decision, there was a number of local issues with the self-funded priest, Fr. Sokratis, who came to Jamaica in the beginning of August 2019 and was here until the end of October 2019. You, Father Sokratis, were here just 3 months but your comment make it appear that you were here for a long time. It sounded like you came here and nothing was here, and you started the missionary “from scratch”..... But that is not true, Father. And you know it. We had everything we needed way before you came here. We have a lot of things, books and church items, that was donated to us by the several different people from the different Orthodox Churches during the last 4 years. We had a priest from USA, who visited us every 2 months to serve the Liturgy for almost 2 years. So, the missionary was established way before you Father stepped onto this land. The only thing was missing was the official registration of the missionary. And this is exactly what you have done while you were here. But isn’t this what you were supposed to do as a missionary priest? You did what you were supposed to do but it’s up to us to decide if we want to remain under your lead or not. I sincerely understand your frustration. You have lost your position as Vicar as you wanted it so much. Do you remember Father, when you just came to Jamaica, how many times you told me that you are not going to start any mission work here until you get an official Vicar tittle? And your words were that you suspect Moses will take away your position? I also remember that you taught me that Theotokos is not the Mother of God, you said she is just Theotokos.... God bearer and that’s it, and “those” Russians who call her “Mother of God” are wrong. You also said She is nobody without Christ (Lord have mercy on me for I repeated these horrible words) that everywhere she has to be depicted with Him only, and again “ those” Russians who depicted her without Christ are wrong. You reject the Aerial Toll Houses, the teaching that Orthodox Church holds for 2000 years, but you said it’s not proven. You said the monks of the mount Athos are fanatics, not all but many of them and “those” Russians took a lot from them... So... all of this plus all global issues gave us the fuel to leave you together with EP. The only one thing is that it is sad is the separation with the people we love from all our hearts like Father Anthony and Father Jerome.
Athanasius Bloomfield12/21/2019 9:33 pm
May the Grace and Blessings of the Holy Trinity continue to abide with us my brothers and sisters.The content and tone of some of these comments are unworthy of a response and are unbecoming of people professing to be Christians.The Jamaican Orthodox Community has made a decision and was not coerced into this by Brother Moses or anyone else.To think or suggest otherwise is to be desrespectful to the moral, intellectual and spiritual integrity of the community.Father Sokratis please get over this and let us all move on.Let us pray for each other and let us work together for the glory of God.
Tina12/21/2019 8:28 pm
When I got involved with the JOM I was impressed with Moses' passion for Orthodoxy in Jamaica. He daily shared knowledge and reflections with the group communication pages, is pastoral and nature and is not surprising that he desires to be a priest. That Fr Sokratis' on this notion is full of disdain and mockery says enough and I have not observed such shepherding from him. Furthermore it came to our attention from persons overseas that he was misrepresenting the mission by claiming to be the first priest to Jamaica seeking to establish it from nothing when it was established in 2015. Visiting priests prior like Fr Jerome were funded privately by well wishers, not by the overseeing bodies. Added to all this are the issues with the EP which does not sit well with us. The community considering all these past and present factors made the decision as a unit to change jurisdiction and to suggest that we were just led astray like donkeys on a rope without intelligence is insulting. I had heard of deplorable behaviour on Fr Sokratis' part from most of the community and have now observed for myself the inappropriate posts and reactions from him on our group communications and here which has convinced me all the more that we have made the right decision. We seek Godly character and spiritual grace in our leaders and will hold to that account those who seek to work with us. May God bless the Jamaica Orthodox Mission and move it forward according to His good plans and purposes for us.
Jamaica 12/21/2019 5:14 pm
@Presvytera Christine, like Ephraim, I also know this group and what he says about Fr. Sokraties is unfortunately true and he is not able to provide the spiritual care that is needed. Had your husband been assigned to the mission things might have been different as he is an amazing man who could have provided these things. Also, it is very disingenuous to use the term fundamentalist when not only the Jamaica mission but the entire Orthodox world is concerned with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and it’s actions and I’m sure this concern extends to your own jurisdiction of the Greek Archdiocese of America
Ephraim 12/21/2019 4:47 pm
Good morning. I was introduced to Orthodoxy and now a convert through Moses when he discovered it on YouTube in 2014, one of his first contacts was Bishop Luke of ROCOR, who assisted him from then to present. I'm a member of the mission here of St. Timothy's (Presvytera Christine Salzman, I don't this person). Mr. Sokratis is a poor example of a priest that came to assist us, with high demands of comfort while he was here, he doesn't wears a cross, has never confessed anyone, removes his vestments immediately after Liturgy down to a shorts and shirt, gets angry and snaps at parishioners during Liturgy, uses "words" during liturgy not suitable for a priest, complains a lot, demands air conditioner always, and upon our decision to move to ROCOR demands everything back the mission received as donations from various Jurisdictions especially money, his major concerns were about money, not our spiritual growth. He came rented a highly expensive house (USD$671.92 p/m), and installed A/C in every room and demanded that the parishioners pays for half of it, which we objected to.
blimbax12/21/2019 8:04 am
IC XC are also Byzantine Greek letters and stand for Ιησούς Χριστός or ΙησουC ΧριστόC, that is, the first and last letter of the words "Jesus" and "Christ."
Presvytera Christine Salzman12/21/2019 7:20 am
We have loved and served this mission community. Fr Anthony Salzman and Fr Jerome Sanderson, together with Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico and The Orthodox Christian Mission Center have cared well for this community making many trips to Jamaica and sending teaching teams. This year, Fr Sokrates moved to Jamaica to be their priest and worked hard on the things that he mentions in his post above; he not only self-funded but also gained support for the mission from donors who were praying for the church in Jamaica. But Moses has led these good people astray. He has sown seeds of division by using controversy and fundamentalism which he has gathered by his countless hours on the internet. I suspect that he seeks ordination in ROCOR and that this may be his motivating factor. The joy and hope of this young community has been replaced with doubt, suspicion and political tensions. On a personal level, it is painful and sad that they have left us, the ones who love them. I believe that the Holy Apostle Timothy Orthodox Church in Jamaica was established according to the Holy Spirit and will continue, if not today, but in time.
Cezar Brumeanu12/21/2019 6:47 am
That's not true. I know him and the mission personally for a few years now. The mission is new and hasn't fully decided their jurisdiction yet. Moses has never mentioned nor even hinted at the idea of wanting to be ordained. He did however mention certain Ecumenism issues within the Constantinople jurisdiction, which neither him nor the mission wanted to be a part of. That in itself says alot! :)
Basil12/21/2019 4:33 am
So, Fr. Sokratis, it is an un-Christian act for ROCOR to receive a community that unanimously voted to leave your Patriarchate, while your Patriarchate's uncanonical invasion of another Church's canonical territory is fine? Anti-Ecumenical Patriarchate propaganda? Last I heard, it was your Patriarchate's media organs taking filthy lucre from the State Department to push your agenda. I'm not surprised that the Jamaicans want nothing to do with you. I'm calling a cope post on this.
Fr. Sokratis Dimitriadis12/20/2019 10:29 pm
I am a Greek Orthodox Priest in the US and since July 2019 the archepiscopal vicar of the Holy Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Jamaica. I have devoted my last years in serving in missions in poor countries. Your article is full of false information based on lies of Mr Moses Myers who since his conversion has been dreaming of becoming a priest and leader of the Church in Jamaica. He tried to move the small orthodox community to ROCOR twice in the past and failed, based on ROCOR's promise to ordain him. My arrival upset his plans and he had been trying to reduce my presence and undermine my work in various ways. This time he took advantage of my temporary absence in the US, to organize fundraising for the mission, to convince the rest to leave for ROCOR presenting all kinds of anti-Ecumenical Patriarchate propaganda. It is completely false that the orthodox in Jamaica have been neglected by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico. The Metropolis, since the beginning in 2015, apart from the visit of His Eminence Met. Athenagoras in 2017, has been sending priests and missionaries through OCMC and finally sent me as a permanent vicar and priest, a volunteer that has spent 20,000 USD out of my pocket to establish and grow the Church. I offered to visit the north every week but Mr. Moses, wanting to reduce my presence, allowed me to visit them every second week and then almost never. In the few months of my service, I incorporated the Church, I brought church items and books, taught classes, built a website, set up a fundraising mechanism in the US and started collected donations, and did so many things that it is grossly ungrateful and slandering to claim that the Orthodox in Jamaica have been underserved. It is also completely false that ROCOR has been supporting the mission. Perhaps a few donors are from ROCOR parishes but all the support was from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico through OCMC. I am sad to inform you that ROCOR is receiving someone who out of self interest, a dishonest man who acted secretly behind my back. And to "steal" a Greek Orthodox mission like that without communication with the Metropolitan of Mexico is definitely not a Christian act and God will not bless it.
Editor12/20/2019 9:40 pm
Cherry Philips: IC XC are Slavonic letters, which on this cross are an abbreviation of Jesus Christ. The cross within is called an eight-pointed cross, and the outer cross is called a "budding cross". This cross is mainly used in the Orthodox Church. The eight-pointed cross has a second, smaller bar on the top which sybolizes the sign written in several languages, reading, "The King of the Jews". The slanted bar at the bottom symbolizes the two thieves crucified with Jesus--one who confessed Christ at the end and asked the Lord to remember him when He comes into His kingdom; it therefore rises up. The other side, pointing down, is the thief who blasphemed Christ on the cross.
Cherry Philips12/20/2019 9:20 pm
Does the Cross and the alphabets IC XC mean special? How is it different from other Christian crosses? Thanks
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