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Dreams of a realist, non-fantasizing, anti-romantic dreamer.


I am not a romantic. I am not romantic at all. I do not like fantasizing. The neptic texts of the Church Fathers leave little room for flights of the imagination. Such flights can easily lead to paths of deception and, besides, dreams cannot sustain the realities of orthodox life.

All the above do not prevent me from planning in my mind the future that I would wish for the Orthodox Missions. However, since the word “planning” is worn out by being saddled with the connotations of technological development projects, allow me to replace the technocratic terms “project” and “planning” with the words “dream” and “dreamer”.

Now, then, I can unfold, succinctly, my missionary daydreams.


Dream a: “The harvest workers”.

I dream, in my mildest dreams, of the enlisting of twenty clerics in the work of missionary harvesting among the nations.

I pondered a lot before coming out with this figure; twenty is the marginal number that will radically change the missionary map of the Orthodox mission. Twenty may seem too few compared with the magnitude of the global community. Yet, they exceed the number of the apostles and they are enough to provide the mission with a substantial cutting edge, provided they meet one requirement: obedience to the Church, not their own will, and an eagerness to be trained so as to get to know the essence of the lands where they will serve as ministers.

We shall undertake the second part of the endeavour.

They, the twenty, will contribute their willingness to implement the first part.


Dream b: “Open windows to the world”.

An open window always sends a message: It disposes us to dress up appropriately, as required for a prospective outing. It functions like a weather report – indispensable under the circumstances. I dream of people who will devote time to study and specialize in accredited fields like African studies, Asian studies, Latin American studies and Third World linguistics.

A few years of studying on site would bolster the knowledge acquired away from the “frontline”.


Dream c: “Unity and coordination of ‘sharpshooters’ ”.

I dream, even if it may distress some parties, of the unification of all “sharpshooters” – missionary associations, groups, guilds, organizations, centres, peripheries, supporters, proponents, friends and skirmishers – under a common prospect, in a common undertaking.

I dream that we no longer see the highlighting of private achievement, but the humble contribution of everything one has to offer without claiming any recognition. Missionary work will make progress only if we agree to serve the One Cause, rather than push our own agendas, making a name for ourselves.


Dream d: “The mission of quietude”.

I dream of the transplantation of Hesychasm [quietism] and the cenobiac tradition of Orthodox monasticism in the lands where missionary work takes place.

I dream of having specimens of monastic spiritual beauty in third world countries.

I dream that they arrive there and become teachers of ascetic quietude.

I dream that they simply travel there – that is all they have to do. Just go there and engage in ascetic quietude.


Dream e: “Missionary doctors”.

I dream that we are present in lands of misery, suffering, pestilence and human tragedy – but not with a view to copying or antagonizing positive international efforts taking place at the same time.

I dream that our presence is felt in the realms of pain and suffering because I cannot tolerate our not being there.


Dream f: “Inter-Orthodox reflections”.

I dream of the creation of an inter-orthodox coordinating body for the Mission. It is only through the manifestation of our unity, both on a micro and macro scale, that we can maintain our hopes.


Dream g: “Orthodox education”.

I dream that members of the Orthodox academic community pay visits and stay briefly in countries where the mission is active, so as to cultivate the Orthodox theology. Greece is rich in qualified human resources. A few weeks’ voluntary work in educational centres located in mission countries will instil and cultivate theology on site. On-site cultivation is much more substantial than the established norm of foreign students attending Greek Universities, that we are familiar with.


Dream h: “That my dreams will not stay dreams”.

And you should believe me when I say that deep in my heart I am certain that these are not just dreams.


† Fr.K.S.

Source: «Panda ta Ethni» (“All Nations”). Quarterly journal issued by the Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece. Year 19, issue 76 (Oct.-Nov.-Dec. 2000), p. 3.

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