Orthodox Christianity in Guatemala
|Some or all of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. (December 2014)|
Although Guatemala is a historically Roman Catholic country, in recent years other branches of Christianity have been gaining adherents there. Eastern Christianity (both Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy) in particular has been growing in recent years due to the mass movement of adherents from various schismatic Catholic groups into Orthodoxy. As a percentage of the population, Guatemala is by far the most Orthodox country in the Western Hemisphere: between 4 and 8 percent of the population are now Eastern or Oriental Orthodox.
As with Oriental Orthodoxy, most Eastern Orthodox in Guatemala are recent converts and are of largely indigenous background. They had previously belonged to a group which was part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement and had rocky relations with the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, the group's leader, Fr. Andrés Girón, who had previously served in the Guatemalan Senate and as an ambassador to the United Nations, left the Roman Catholic Church over tensions related to his support for land reform and their support for "liturgical reform". He and his followers, who numbered between 100,000 and 200,000, moved first to the Society of Secular Clerics and then into the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which received them in 2010. According to Fr. Peter Jackson, this may well be the largest mass-conversion to Orthodoxy since the Christianization of Kievan Rus' in 988. The Orthodox Church promptly sent missionaries to the country to educate and catechize the newfound converts.
In 2013, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch announced that 800,000 former members of the Renewed Ecumenical Catholic Church of Guatemala had been received into Syriac Orthodoxy. Most of these new converts come from poor indigenous Mayan communities.
- "150,000 Converts in Guatemala!". ancientfaith.com. Ancient Faith Ministries, Inc.
- "Orthodoxy in Guatemala". goarchmexico.org. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Mexico.
- "Seminarian Witnesses "Explosion" of Orthodox Christianity in Guatemala". svots.edu. Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.
- "Syriac Orthodox Church Receives as Many as 800,000 New Converts in Central America". scooch.org. Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches.
- MayanOrthodoxy.com in Guatemala and Southern Mexico
- Introducing Mayan Orthodoxy. Pictures and article by OCP (the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society), posted on April 16, 2014
- History of The Orthodox Church and Monastery in Guatemala, from the Orthodox nuns who have run the "Hogar Rafael Ayau" orphanage in Guatemala
- "What is God doing in Guatemala?" – An Article by Priest Peter Jackson on Missionary Work in the Central American Nation, posted on October 3, 2013 on the official site of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad