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SOUTH AMERICAN DIOCESE: January 3, 2011
Bishop John of Caracas and South America Makes an Archpastoral Visit to Chile

On December 1-7, 2010, His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America visited the Orthodox Mission in Chile. This time, the Mission of St Silouan of Athos greeted the visitors, including parishioners from St Nectarios of Pentapolis in Santiago and the Mission of the Annunciation of the Most-Holy Mother of God in Valdivia and Reader Nektary Kurbetis from Australia, who acted as special representative of the beloved Fr George Morozov of Tasmania.

Vladyka John was welcomed by the Chilean, Russian and Palestinian Orthodox communities, who gathered in church to participate in Divine Liturgy, and expressed their united hope for the further beneficial cooperation towards developing beloved Orthodox Christianity.

On Thursday, December 2, Vladyka John visited the city of Arauco, where he met with Nadezhda Mordvinkina, a survivor of World War II. Nadezhdas family, as well as Liudmila Grechina and her mother, who recently arrived from Moscow, greeted the hierarch warmly.

On Friday, December 3, Bishop John visited Antuco, a town at the foothills of the Andes, where during a marching exercize, a large Chilean regiment was caught in a blizzard and froze to death. On the eve of the feast day of the Entrance Into the Temple of the Most-Holy Mother of God, the hierarch performed all-night vigil. On Saturday, December 4, after a festive Divine Liturgy, Vladyka John shared a trapeza with the local Russian families from the town of Florida, not far from Concepcion. Vladimir Musychenko, a representative of the Russian Ambassador to Chile, and other Russian families from Concepcion, Arauco and Chillan attended as well. During the warm, gregarious meeting, they discussed a proposed project to build an Orthodox church along with a cultural center for the spiritual and cultural nourishment of the region.

On December 5, with everyone in a joyous and thankful spirit, Divine Liturgy was celebrated followed by the rite of blessing the Holy Cross and laying of the foundation of the future Church of St Silouan of Athos. This was the reward for almost five years of serious work in forming the community, witnessing the presence of the Lord among the faithful, mutual support and encouragement in the task of preserving the cultural and spiritual roots of the descendants of Orthodox immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Members of Orthodox Mission in Chile hailing from Santiago, Concepcion and Valdivia participated in this ceremonious and important event, including Chilean, Arab, Palestinian and Russian families who live here. The aid of Deacon Roberto and the local readers and their families was duly noted.

This important event was also attended by government representatives: Senator of the Chilean Republic Hosain Sabag Castillo, Governor of the Province of Concepcion Carlos Gonzalez-Sanchez, Mayor of Chiguayante Tomas Solis, Attache of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to Chile Vladimir Musychenko, Head of the Valle Central State Professional Institute Eduardo Aedo-Inostros, President and members of the Council of Directors of Inmobiliaria Estadio Arabe S.A and Corporacion Estadio Arabe.

The Orthodox community is very thankful and indebted to Juan Hasbun-Riadi, who, together with Salvator Hamame-Samur, and also with the consent and support of Sergio Amin-Gonzalez, Jorge Manoli, Jorge Anania, Alexa Cattan and Antonio Hanania-Batjon and their colleagues, who gave the parish a parcel of land to build a church, and laid the groundwork for the development of culture and spirituality. It is worth noting that Palestinian communities that have historically taken up residence here are grateful and indebted to the Russian Orthodox Church for its benevolent presence in the Holy City of Jerusalem and other major cities of the Holy Land.

On Monday, December 6, a meeting was held with the entrepreneur Nikolai Imzhenetsky Popov. After a trapeza, Vladyka was joined by everyone to the family crypt, where they served a litany for the repose of the souls of Nikolais parents, Vladimir and Ekaterina.

The mission expressed thanks to their esteemed and beloved in the Lord Vladyka for the time he devoted to them, his wise advice and benevolent archpastoral presence, and thanked their brothers, colleagues and donors who have labored earnestly for the perpetual success in recent days. May the Lord reward them for this work, performed to the glory of God.

The next step is to collect donations for the construction of a church on a state and international scale. Applications were filed for various aspects of the project, which have already been reviewed by the corresponding institutions. The community asks that others join this good work and for all Orthodox brothers and sisters, in Chile and abroad, to partake in this effort, as well as members of commercial and civil organizations. They ask for help in this God-pleasing work, and in return, as is the case in every Orthodox church, prayers are lifted during Divine Liturgy for the contributors and decorators of his Holy Temple. Participating in this deed provides an opportunity to honor God and turn to the heavenly abodes.

Priest Alexei Aedo-Villugron