Charles Lelon is the Vice Chairman of the OCN Board of Directors. The OCN Board consists of volunteers, who are also donors, and are passionate about giving back to the Orthodox Church. We welcome other volunteers to join us.
The following is an excerpt of an interview conducted by Charles Lelon at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. His guests are Theodore Pritsis from Winston Salem, North Carolina, and Anna Koulouis from Syracuse, New York. Theodore and Anna have left home to serve the patriarch of Jerusalem.
I am here today with two young witnesses of Christianity at the Church of the Nativity. Theodore is a translator and communications liaison in Greek and English for the patriarch. Anna is a journalist and writer and assists with communications projects in English.
The Jerusalem patriarchate is the mother of all churches. The church of Jerusalem gives validity to all churches worldwide, not just Orthodox. The Guardians of the Tomb oversee the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and houses all shrines of the crucifixion and the resurrection. The guardians maintain and protect the Orthodox Church.
What are the needs? Our need is to raise awareness and raise funds to maintain and protect the holy sites. There is a financial crisis with the holy sites. The Patriarch is looking to the west to help, and we welcome your involvement.
There are dozen of monasteries that endure problems on a daily basis. As an example, Jacob’s well, the priest has been under threat of death for many years. Our priest at this site was killed in 1979. The new priest is under constant death threats. Our biggest need is to raise awareness of our need. If we know what we have, then we understand why we need to protect it. We Orthodox Christians must protect this holy heritage.
The Church of the Ascension was neglected due to lack of funds and personnel. It is now controlled by Muslims who charge Christians to visit our own holy site.
Church of the Nativity is the first church in Christianity and is in tremendous disrepair. UNESCO is currently funding the renovation of the church that is overseen by the Roman Catholic Franciscan order, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox. With respect to the Church of Americas …we need your help in raising awareness and taking a step forward to witness for the Church of Christ. Take an active role. The church is yours, the Holy Sepulcher is yours. This Church of the Nativity is yours. It is our responsibility as Christians to support and protect the original teachings of Christ.
More of this video interview will be published online later this year.