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OCMC News - OCMC Sponsored Church Consecrated in Ixcán Region of Guatemala

by Caitlyn Sargent (Posted 5/3/2018)

OCMC News - OCMC Sponsored Church Consecrated in Ixcán Region of Guatemala
“Open, open the gates and let them remain open forever and let the King of glory enter,” the Archbishop commands during the consecration of St. John the Baptist in Ixcan, Guatemala.

On April 22, 2018, the Church of Guatemala rejoiced at the consecration of the St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in the Ixcán region of Guatemala. The church is located in the remote village of Los Angeles. Up until recently, people would have to go over mountains to reach the small village. Now, a bridge between the border of Guatemala and Mexico allows easier crossing into Los Angeles.

Founder of the church, the late Fr. Andrés Girón, accompanied by Fr. Evangelios Patá, led Fr. John Chakos to Los Angeles for the first time six years ago. Fr. John recalls, “Upon arrival, we climbed a steep, muddy path to the entrance of the little church, a humble structure of slightly separated wooden slats and a rusty metal roof. The dirt floor reeked with the welcoming fragrance of pine needles and wild flowers.”

Now in 2018, a grand Orthodox church stands proudly in that small village, offering a house of worship to the faithful in the Ixcán region. It began as a simple sketch back in August, though the idea of a church was conceptualized four years ago with a generous offer of sponsorship from Fr. John Rallis of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, Illinois. With the help of George Prosiliakos’s architectural expertise and Fr. Evangelios’s knowledge of the Ixcán region, Los Angeles was chosen to house the church.

Many of the parish members helped build the St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church from the ground up. Fr. John claims, “Even with such a strong recommendation, no one could have believed that a small but dedicated core group of basically unskilled laborers with some outside help from their neighbors could accomplish so great a feat.”

And yet, in Christ all things are possible. Fr. John reminisces, “On that day [six years ago], I could never have imagined that my eyes would see the building that exists today—a magnificent cruciform and domed structure, rivaling in size and quality of construction and grandeur many of our Orthodox churches in America.”

The consecration saw faithful from all over Guatemala come to share in the glory of Christ, while His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico presided.

On June 24th, St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church will celebrate the feast day of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist and Forerunner, intentionally chosen to coincide with and in honor of the ordination day of +Fr. Andrés Girón to the holy priesthood.

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God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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