This Week in Orthodoxy: November 13, 2015

This Week in Orthodoxy: November 13, 2015




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 the some of the stories making headlines this week:

  • Syrian refugees continue to arrive on the shores of Greek Islands
  • Converting to Christianity amid Refugee Crisis; The Gospel advances!
  • Miracle on Hope Street in Tarpon Springs FL
  • St. Vladimir’s #Giving Tuesday to benefit Kenyan Seminary

First up, Syrian refugees on Lesvos, shelter in Orthodox Churches

Lesvos, located only 6 miles from the Turkish border is one of the Greek islands most inundated by the arrival of thousand’s of Syrian refugees. Hoping to beat winter and find freedom as soon as possible, many refugees have lost their lives in the treacherous and cold waters.

The entire island of Lesvos has rallied to help these Syrians and other refugees, with volunteer lifeguards and the Greek coast guard assisting them upon arrival.  Often times pulling them out of the ocean, just off shore if their small boats have been destroyed or capsized. In a genuinely impressive witness of Orthodox faith, the community exemplifies charity and love for all humankind. Pictures show the Greek Christians hosting their Muslim neighbors.  The priests on the island have opened the churches to care for the sick and the tired.

IOCC, International Orthodox Christian Charities is on the ground assisting the island of Lesvos in their efforts. If you’d like to help IOCC, you can contribute to the Emergency Response Fund which Provides immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. Visit  for more info.

The Gospel Advances

In Northern Iraq, indigenous Christian missionaries saw the gospel advance nearly unopposed, as reported by Iraqi ministry leaders, despite fierce combat in the region. The Christian workers are having trouble keeping up with area residents’ desire to learn about Christ and the Bible. The predominantly Muslim people in the refugee crisis, found in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, have been more open to Christianity than other Iraqis.

Since ISIS took over parts of the region, they have been especially keen on hearing and accepting the Christian Gospel.  People are very hungry to know about Christ, especially when they hear about miracles, healing, mercy and love. No one declined a Bible or the opportunity to hear the gospel, though not all came to faith overnight.

At least 10 house churches have regular meetings, with indigenous ministry leaders continuing to witness the power of the Gospel.

St. Michael’s Shrine.

Hundreds gathered in Tarpon Springs, Florida in commemoration of Archangel Michael’s Feast day on Sunday Nov. 8th at St. Michael’s Shrine.  The Shrine and a small icon of Archangel Michael have been attributed for countless miracles.

Built as a result of 11 year old Steve Tsalickis miraculous healing from a terminal brain tumor in 1939. Confined to a hospital bed and given two weeks to live by a team of doctors at St. Josephs Hospital in Tampa, the boy asked his mom to let him hold a small icon of Archangel Michael that she had gotten from her island of Symi.

After putting the icon on his chest, Steve started mumbling, and although his mom first thought he was nearing the end- Archangel Michael came to her son in a vision, that brought him to where the shrine is built today and said: “Steve, I will make you well if you promise to build a shrine for me here”.

Steve was cured of his tumor, and obedient to the 11-year-old’s vision, his family built the shrine that houses the small icon of Archangel Michael.

According to Goldie Parr, Steve’s sister, Abbot Chrysanthos Maroulakis gave her mother the icon during a visit to Panormitis in 1937, a centuries-old monastery located off the coast of Greece, built by the Symian people in honor of their island’s protector, Archangel Michael.

Giving Tuesday

And lastly, Tuesday December 1 is  #GIVINGTUESDAY, a global day dedicated to giving back, and Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will once again take part in the National Movement celebrating generosity.

Last year, the seminary’s highly successful campaign raised money in an expression of love and solidarity with the suffering peoples in the Middle East. A donation was then made to His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch to alleviate the dire conditions of people under his care.

This year, Saint Vladimir’s is raising funds for its sister seminary in Nairobi, Kenya, a great center of Orthodoxy in Africa, which is in serious need of books for their library.

Log on to for  more information on how you can help them support the Ecclesiatical School of Makarios III in Africa.

And for more information on how you can participate on this worldwide global day of giving, log on to

News from OCN

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


The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.  OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life.   We also report on news events in the Orthodox Church and produce This Week in Orthodoxy, a weekly news video with stories and issues of interest to Orthodox Christians around the world.

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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.