Spreading the Gospel Across the Globe

Spreading the Gospel Across the Globe


Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines this week, Friday, October 28th, 2016.

  • The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Mourns the Passing of an Archon, Philanthropist and respected bussinessman – George Coumantaros
  • St. Raphael of Brooklyn is honored
  • Orthodoxy is present in the Island Kingdom of Tonga

Philanthropist, George Coumantaros

George Coumantaros, Internationally renowned businessman and veteran ocean racer, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, philanthropist and great benefactor of the Church, passed away peacefully in Athens, at the age of 94, on October 17, 2016.

“Throughout his life, Mr. Coumantaros demonstrated generosity of heart and sensitivity of spirit, that were reflective of his deep faith and his understanding of the words from the Scripture, I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:18),” said His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, upon learning of his passing. The Archbishop added: “Eternal be the memory of this truly noble Christian whose depth and scope of the philanthropic ethos was as vast as the sea he commanded at the helm of his global maritime and business enterprise.

He excelled in his role as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Founding Member of FAITH Endowment, exemplary benefactor of Saint Nicholas National Shrine, and valued supporter of local, national and global initiatives in support of Hellenes, and the advancement of Orthodoxy and Hellenism.”

May his memory be eternal.

St. Raphael of Brooklyn is honored

Antiochian Orthodox Christians celebrate the feast and life of St. Raphael of Brooklyn each November for his work in establishing the Syrian mission in Brooklyn, NY. He was the first Orthodox bishop consecrated in North America.

This branch of Orthodox Christendom had its roots in ancient Antioch. Raphael was born Rafia Hawaweeny in Damascus and was educated at Halki Island. He received his theological training in Kiev, Russia and was ordained to the priesthood in Moscow.

The Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Committee in New York City brought Fr. Raphael to Brooklyn. Immigrating in 1895 and serving under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Mission, which was then the only established Orthodox hierarchy. Although he was the pastor of St.Nicholas, he was also the circuit-rider pastor of several dozen tiny, isolated communities spread across the continent. As a priest, he crossed the U.S. repeatedly, both before and after his 1905 consecration as bishop of Brooklyn — the first such Orthodox consecration in North America.

Raphael led the growing Syrian Mission at the start of the 20th century. St. Nicholas Church of Brooklyn was designated as his cathedral. He served with great dignity, adding 30 parishes to the mission during those years; He died in 1915.

Eighty-five years later, on May 29, 2000, he was canonized as a saint of the Holy Orthodox Church by the Orthodox Church in America. Last year marked the centennial of St. Raphael’s death.

Orthodoxy is present in the Island Kingdom of Tonga

From the Island Kingdom of Tonga, on October 16th in the newly constructed chapel of the Holy Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul, nine faithful were baptized into the Orthodox church. Present was His Eminence Archbishop Amfilochios, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of New Zealand and Exarchate of Oceania, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This small kingdom located in the South-western pacific ocean is world-renowned as the first of all nations to see the rising sun. Made up of 169 islands, 36 of which are inhabited, it is also the only state in Oceania which was never colonized.

The population of Tonga practices various forms of Christianity. According to official statistics, Methodists comprise the largest group though there are many Catholics, Mormons as well as Anglicans, Adventists and Pentecostals.

The Holy Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox church was established at the direction of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. Wishing you a Blessed Week, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.


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About author

Emmy Louvaris

Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy, the first weekly news show to cover the international Orthodox Church and community.