Update on India!
Dear beloved faithful in Jesus Christ,
Our Orthodox Christian mission in India continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and now we have been officially recognized by the Government of India. This is a miracle in itself, considering that a strong Hindu government is now in power and many other faiths (especially Christian) are officially limited in their scope of missionary work within the country.
Last week, the regional government in the State (Andhra Pradesh) where the Russian Orthodox Mission has been established, sent an official appeal to me, as head of this mission. We learned they have recognized the work we have done, to thank us for our work, and to officially request more resources during this time of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has created many problems in India as people are now dying from a lack of food, medicine and outbreaks of the COVID-19 illness.
This news is bittersweet. Frankly, it simply breaks my heart.
If you have been following the work of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Southeastern India, which was established in 2018, we received a request to catechize about 1000 Protestant Pastors and the parishioners of their village churches, in order for them to become Orthodox Christians. A group from America and Russia, including myself, travelled there and began to catechize and baptize hundreds of faithful, and this work continues.
Yet, we have much to do.
In April of 2020, we started a literacy project in India in twelve villages that allows the local people to become fully literate. The ability to read greatly increases the capacity of people to find work and to fully understand the tenets of our Orthodox Christian faith. This idea came to us from reading how the Russian Church missionaries would set up literacy schools to promote Orthodox Christianity during the time of the Tsars. This greatly spread goodwill and the Orthodox faith flourished due to this charitable work. God willing, our goal is for these literacy schools to be in over a hundred villages in the near future. If you want to read about the history of this Orthodox mission, please read Hieromonk Ephraim’s journal Part 1.
Part 2 | Part 3
This month, we are also in preparation of publishing the first Russian Orthodox Calendar with a selection of the lives of the saints. This is an important step in establishing the Orthodox faith in this region.
An Orthodox calendar will be translated and published from English into Telugu (the local dialect). The local Orthodox Christians in India have requested that we provide them with this resource in order to learn about the rich liturgical life and feast days of the Holy Church.
Please consider helping us with this work in India, as the ongoing monthly expenses and work continues to grow.
Our Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church, the Iveron Icon Foundation (OHIIA.org) and a small group of donors from Russia, Jordan and the United States have continued to support this work, however we are now looking at helping a larger amount of people during this time of crisis. This simply, is beyond the ability of our resources.
We have many projects that need support:
It will cost $2000.00 for the translation and publishing of Orthodox calendars for the local people.
We also have many other books that we would like to translate, but are unable to do so due to a lack of resources.
So far, we have translated into Telugu, materials for Orthodox Catechism, the baptism, and the Typika Services.
We would like to have translated next; St. Innocent’s Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, the expanded Lives of the Saints and the basic services of our Church.
We also continue to spend $1000.00 a month to run the literacy school program.
Now we will need to raise $250.00 a month for miscellaneous expenses like coordination of the literacy project, distribution of food, fuel, transportation and administration for the mission.
The humanitarian need is great and our small Parish is not an International Humanitarian Agency, this simply is beyond our capabilities.
In addition, with this crisis overwhelming the local people, we have been asked by the Local Government to help provide direct food support for 1000 people at $75.00 a month, per family. Without our assistance, these families will be in dire straits from a basic lack of food and medicine.
Through the generosity of our parish, the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church of Hawaii, we have provided several bundles of foodstuffs during the COVID-19 crisis to help alleviate this struggle for these suffering people, which has saved the lives of our fellow Orthodox Christians.
However, the need has now grown beyond our capacity to help and we are sending out this humble appeal to others who want to contribute to this worthy cause. The ultimate goal, always, through love and charity is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as we “go forth, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
To help us, please consider making a donation using your credit card www.orthodoxhawaii.org/donate
Please indicate that the donation is to go to the India Mission.
To send a check, please mail it to: Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church 201 N. Kainalu Drive Kailua (Honolulu), Hawaii 96734
In Christ with love,
Priest Athanasius Kone, Rector Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church Honolulu, Hawaii www.orthodoxhawaii.org