Νέα κατηχητικά βιβλία και ιατρική περίθαλψη στην Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία της Γουατεμάλας. Orthodox- Mayan – Guatemalan Update: The Church Mourns, but not without Hope

Παρά την έλλειψη οικονομικών πόρων και στελεχών οι Ορθόδοξες ιεραποστολές σε όλο το κόσμο συνεχίζουν το μεγάλο, αθόρυβο έργο τους.Στη Γουατεμάλα η Ορθόδοξη ιεραποστολή απέκτησε νέα κατηχητικά βιβλία και παρείχε ιατρική βοήθεια στους νεοφώτιστους ορθόδοξους Μάγια, κατοίκους της Γουατεμάλας και Νοτίου Μεξικού. Ο θερισμός πολύς, οι εργάτες λίγοι, οι δωρεές- προσφορές ελάχιστες…

After the loss of its dynamic and visionary leader- Fr. Andres Giron- the Guatemalan clergy and faithful entered into a difficult period of mourning and readjustment. In every parish that we visited, there was sadness, but no loss of hope. On the contrary, a strong desire to continue the work of Fr. Andres was very much in evidence. A number of important initiatives gave added momentum to the ongoing mission of the church.One project of special note has been the plan to build, equip and staff a much needed medical clinic in the village of Aguacate, near the border with Mexico. The materials having arrived, construction began in mid August with the help of the One World, One Community Foundation.

Catechists display their newly published books

Catechists display their newly published books

As reported earlier, Fr. John led an OCMC team of church musicians, who traveled to a number of Mayan villages, teaching the music of the Divine Liturgy and major feasts of the church in Spanish. Team members continue to send additional hymns in support of this ongoing project. A recent two-day catechetical seminar at the Centro Apostolico highlighted the first ever release of an Orthodox Church Calendar in Spanish, featuring key parts of the Divine Liturgy, daily Scriptures readings, lives of the saints and their apolitikia and kondakia. Fr. John introduced the newly published text that each catechist will take back to his or her village. Since early July, Presbytera Alexandra resumed filling orders for liturgical vestments and adornments with her Mayan seamstresses, using Guatemalan made ecclesiastical fabrics. Having recently launched her web site- http://www.mayanartisanstudios.com – she is able to take orders online. Besides providing a livelihood for the underprivileged woman of the village, the program generates much needed income for the church. Fr. John continues to accompany the local clergy in their weekly parish visitations, performing sacraments and offering encouragement and support to the long suffering faithful, who happily realize that they now belong to a canonical church that is firmly rooted in ancient Christianity. Further updates on these and other projects are soon to follow.

Work begins on the clinic

Work begins on the clinic

                Mayan Artisan Studio workers cutting fabric




Dr. Manteris extracts decayed teeth from a young child as mother looks on

While construction for the medical/dental clinic in the Mayan village of Aguacate was underway, a dental team headed by Dr. Willie Manteris, and including his daughter Nikki and Robert Kirschner arrived on August 10th. Their plan was to offer fluoride treatment, dental screening and treatment of the most serious types of conditions. Dr. Manteris began the dental hygiene class for 300 children, grades 4 through 6, explaining the effects of bacteria on their teeth. Disclosure tablets were then distributed to several of the children to show how much bacteria was on their teeth. The children reacted with much surprise and mirth when the tablets turned the bacteria on their teeth a bright red. They were then given toothbrushes and taught the proper way to brush their teeth. This was followed by a fluoride rinse treatment program, which the newly-trained community health worker (CHW) will administer in the village school each week thereafter. The cost of this fluoride treatment, which will significantly reduce the bacteria causing tooth decay, is 25 cents a year per person. Later on, the team was gratified to see the small children showing their parents the proper way to brush their teeth.

Disclosure tablet reveals bacteria on teeth

Learning to brush the right way




In addition to the fluoride treatment clinic for children, during the next three days, Dr. Manteris screened and treated over 150 patients, young and old. He extracted 133 teeth, removed dead, damaged and infected tissue (debridements), and gave antibiotics to those suffering infections from previous extractions. The youngest patient was a three year old boy, who required four extractions of primary teeth that were decayed down to the gum line. One of the CHWs, Juana, a 19 year old Mayan woman, observed and assisted with the extractions. She also proved invaluable as a translator, being fluent in both Spanish and the Chuj dialect of her tribe. As part of her training exercise, she was given medical health literature to study, for which she was very grateful. It must be remembered that the people in this and many other surrounding villages have little or no access to professional medical care. While at the village, samples of the drinking water at 3 natural, untreated springs, and from the large treated storage tank feeding the whole village, were collected for analysis by Microbac Laboratories in Pittsburgh. The pre-treated spring water contained unacceptable levels of both Coliform and E. coli (USEPA standards). The post-treated sample did not contain E.coli, but the Coliform level was unacceptable. These preliminary results suggest that the village water supply may be the cause of the stomach problems that many of the villagers complained of in a previous survey. What is next? Plans are in the works for several more medical mission trips, even while the clinic is under construction. A number of serious inquiries have been received from health professionals, some of whom are even considering long-term service. Of course, availability of medical resources and qualified personnel will determine our future course. Right now, pre-natal care and child wellness, as well as continuing dental care, stand out as immediate priorities. It is our hope and prayer that this important and life saving work will bear much fruit for the benefit of these humble people and redound to the glory of God.


Many young people are chrismated in Tacomujo

This entry was posted in America, Guatemala, Αμερική, Γουατεμάλα- Guatemala, ΗΠΑ - USA, Λατινική Αμερική ( Central and South America ), Μεξικό-Mexico, Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο - Ecumenical Patriarchate and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


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