The Holy Orthodox Church in Guatemala is experiencing a burst of evangelical growth due to the recent visit of His Eminence, Archbishop Athenagoras of Mexico. From the southern border of Mexico to the tropical shores of the Pacific Ocean thousands came out to warmly greet him with lively cheers, joyful songs, banners of welcome and grand entrances into their villages and churches. The reasons for such overt displays of enthusiasm find their origin in the humble, but resilient faith of the long-suffering Mayan people, who despite their poverty and lowly social status, love God and those who bring them the Good News of salvation. Jesus Himself, in a similar setting, gushed effusively upon seeing the approaching crowd of Samaritans: “I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).

To meet the ever-growing pastoral and sacramental needs of this emerging church, two young men- Sebastian Alonzo and Antonio Pata were ordained to the Holy Diaconate, both seminary students and spiritual children of Archimandrite Evangelos Pata, Archepiscopal Vicar in Guatemala.

Sebastian Alonzo, taking the name of Andres Bartolome, is presented to the Archbishop for ordination

The candidate for Ordination remembers his deceased parents as he petitions for Ordination.

Besides the two ordinations, another parish in Ixcan, in the village of Mayaland, saw its doors opened by Athenagoras and its completed interior blessed. A few days prior to his visit, the church members installed the new windows and doors , built an icon screen, cemented the floor, painted the walls, planted a garden and prepared a festive welcome.

The Church of the Holy Protection arises out of the struggles of the people of Mayaland through a brutal civil war, displacement from their ancestral homes and repatriation.

The Church of the Holy Protection is the light on the hill for the faithful.

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