New Era Begins For Orthodox Church in Guatemala

The Orthodox Church in Guatemala began a new era in its short history with the blessing of its newly completed Seminary/Mission Center in Huehuetenango, that will serve the spiritual, educational and administrative needs of the faithful. The project, which began some two years ago under the direction of Archimandrite Evangelos Patá, counted on the support of the Orthodox Mission Center, many generous donors and hundreds of volunteers from the church’s many villages throughout Guatemala. The moment was made all the more poignant with the announcement of the retirement of their beloved archpastor – His Eminence Archbishop Athenagoras, who tearfully bade farewell to the faithful. With great nostalgia, he also invoked the memory of Father Andres Giron, a fierce advocate for the rights of the indigenous people and charismatic spiritual leader to his beloved flock, shepherding it into the embrace of the Orthodox Church. The more than 3000 in attendance, together with the dedicated Guatemalan Clergy, His Grace Bishop Timoteo from Columbia, OCMC missionaries and San Andres seminarians, sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit, not only throughout the Divine Liturgy, but also during the blessing of the new facility which followed. The palpable joy that filled this day reflected the vibrant Christian faith of the long suffering Mayan people who endured much throughout their tragic history, but never lost hope. May this new beginning be for them a lasting renewal of their life in Christ and a stepping stone to a blessed and glorious future for generations to come.

Frontal view of Seminary and Cross visible from miles around
More than 3000 gather to celebrate opening.
Hierarchical Liturgy brings representatives from all over Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico.
Every priest takes a turn to bless the massive two story building.
View from a drone.
Athenagoras blesses new building.


  1. faith williard says

    Glory to God in the highest!

    May He continue to bless, guide, and protect all those involved. May He grant them strength and support to multiply these efforts throughout the rest of their days.

  2. athan magganas says

    We are very grateful for the INNUMERABLE contributions of Father John Chakos to the Guatemalan communities and this project in particular

  3. Sh. Myrna Martin says

    Christ is in our midst!
    I’m grateful for all who attended this glorious celebration and came together in unison!
    Thank you, Father Chacos, for the work you and your wife have done for these Chapines.
    Maybe you don’t remember me, but I do remember you. I work closely with Mother Ines and am so happy to see the Word spread to my people.
    He Is and ever shall be!

  4. Thank you, Father John and Presbytera Sandy, for the decade-plus of dedicated service to the Orthodox Christians of Guatemala and Chiapas. This milestone of the blessing of the new seminary building above Huehuetenango City is yet another step in the journey of our Guatemalan Orthodox community. Each March, Father John organizes and escorts a Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) medical mission team to increase the services and volume at the Fr Andres Giron Medical Clinic in Aguacate (typically 3 MDs, 2 dentists or dental technicians, 2 or 3 RNs, a couple medical technicians (I serve as one, as an EMT) and some Spanish interpreters (Father John serves as one, besides the leadership role). Our last one was 8-17 March 2024, and was a moving 10-day experience for the US based volunteers (some repeat, many 1st-time to Aguacate), working with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters. The next one, currently in early planning, is scheduled for 7-16 March 2025. See the posting to go up soon at Continued blessings and Many Years!

    • Father John Chakos says

      Thanks Michael for your support of the upcoming medical mission. We look forward to our medical professionals serving as the hands of Christ in places of the greatest need.

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