Indian gov’t officially recognizes quickly-growing Orthodox Mission, asks its help to support struggling families

India, October 1, 2020

The original mission team to India. Photo: orthodoxriverorg The original mission team to India. Photo: orthodoxriverorg     

Last February, a missionary team of clergy and monastics from America, Canada, and Russia traveled to India to catechize about 1,000 Protestant pastors at their request. Hundreds of people were baptized during the mission trip, led by Fr. Athanasius Kone of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church in Honolulu.

Since then, the Mission has been expanding rapidly both in terms of activities and of the number of people becoming interested in holy Orthodoxy.

Indians eagerly learn about Orthodoxy. Photo: Indians eagerly learn about Orthodoxy. Photo:     

In April of this year, a literacy project was launched in 12 villages, inspired by missionaries of the Russian Empire. The ability to read increases the people’s ability to find work and understand the tenets of the Orthodox faith. The project spread goodwill and helped many more people come to Orthodoxy, Fr. Athanasius reports on his site Orthodox River.

Thanks to the goodwill built by the literacy projects, the Orthodox Mission has been officially recognized by the Indian government, which is “a miracle in itself,” Fr. Athanasius writes, as the current government is strongly Hindu and officially limits the activities of many other religions and churches.

And last week, the local government of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh officially appealed to Fr. Athanasius, as the head of the Orthodox Mission, to provide more resources during this time of crisis. People are dying from lack of food and medicine and the COVID outbreak in India, Fr. Athanasius writes.

In particular, the government asked the Mission to help provide direct food support for 1,000 people at $75 a month per family. “Without our assistance, these families will be in dire straits from a basic lack of food and medicine,” writes Fr. Athanasius.

The Mission has several other needs as well, including the publication of the first Russian Orthodox calendar with a selection of the lives of the saints, an important step in establishing the Orthodox faith in the region. The translation and publication of the calendar will cost $2,000.

Newly-lllumined Indian faithful. Photo: Newly-lllumined Indian faithful. Photo:     

So far, the Mission has translated materials for Orthodox catechism, and the services of Baptism and Typika. There are many more books that need to be translated when resources allow.   

The Mission also spends $1,000 a month to run the literacy program, and it needs $250 a month for miscellaneous expenses, such as distribution of food, fuel, and the administration of the Mission.

Through the generosity of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron parish, the Mission has provided several bundles of food during the COVID crisis, but the parish is small and cannot singlehandedly sustain the entire Mission.

To make a much-needed donation to the growing Mission in India using a credit card, visit and indicate that the donation is for the India Mission.

Checks can be mailed to:

Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church
201 N. Kainalu Drive
Kailua (Honolulu), Hawaii 96734


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J. Rao10/2/2020 5:20 pm
Jesse, what Stephen said is exactly what is mentioned in the original article of Fr. Athanasius. And indian government is not so poor to ask help to foreign missionaries who are forbidden by law to work in India. I am an indian and can also see that this letter is not from the government.
Jesse M Dominick10/2/2020 12:10 pm
DSautter, you're right, thanks for that correction. Papa Ephraim pulished his journal about the mission trip on the site, but it is Fr. Athanasius' site.

Stephen, that letter is not supposed to be a letter of recognition from the government. It is the letter where they ask the Mission for assistance.
Justin Idiculla 10/2/2020 6:43 am
Glad to know about your mission but beware never falls in Indian Orthodox Church’sTrap .. They will Capture your assets and churches once they establish their seat in your church.They will let your parishioners brutally beaten up and thrown out from their home parish by using any means. Same they are doing with Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in Kerala.
Stephen Mallapudi10/1/2020 9:27 pm
This is a false claim, no govt. has recognised them. That letter is not official govt. letter, neither does Central nor state govt. will ever encourage church planting and never will ask to help Christian pastors. Such letter can be produced by anyone. Please verify authenticity of your claim or else someday Indian govt. will take strict measure against you for making false claims.
Abel Mathews Alex10/1/2020 9:03 pm
There is Indian Orthodox Church. Please try to work with them.
DSautter10/1/2020 7:29 pm
If Papa Ephraim has a website, I would love the correct link. The one above goes to Fr Athanasius’ site.
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