Upholding Orthodox Principles: The Struggle of a New Immigrant Priest

The Struggle of a New Immigrant Priest_2
Photo Courtesy: Saints Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church - Miami

In the realm of Christ’s teachings, truth and love stand as firm pillars. These are principles that underpin the Orthodox Christian faith, stipulating how clergymen should respond to their religious communities with unfiltered compassion and transparency. However, this standard becomes particularly challenging when these virtuous pillars are threatened by contrary behaviors within the religious sphere themselves.

The recent discord at the Saints Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Miami bears witness to such a discrepancy. This discord refers to the experiences of a new immigrant priest, hailing from a war-torn country, who was assigned to the parish but held back from integrating with his parishioners through duplicitous means. The architect of this unusual predicament being none other than the well-renowned Father Joseph Lucas, PhD., MDiv.

The saga began with an email dispatched on November 22, 2022, from Father Joseph Lucas. Directed to the deacon (a tenant), the email was explicit in instructions, demanding the deacon to step away from the parish premises effectively and cease serving at OCA parishes he served for years. This unexpected request bewildered many but was just the initiation of a more complex scheme, unfurling a tale of manipulation, accusations, and psychological unrest.

The peculiar paradox in this episode raises a legitimate question: How can those who stand as gatekeepers to faith and spirituality succumb to actions that starkly contradict Christ’s teachings? The Orthodox Christian faith, which these figures were supposed to embody and propagate, is built on openness, honesty, and beacon of love. The recent events cast a shadow on these principles, showing a disheartening disunity between words and deeds.

In a time of global unrest, the Church should act as a sanctuary for the conflicted and the distressed. The arrival of a priest from a compromised homeland was a testament to this function, a revelation of the Church as a haven for those seeking respite. Rather, the seemingly calculated steps to isolate this priest from blending with his parishioners sends a daunting message on the orders of the Church, where love and acceptance should be an unquestionable norm.

The Struggle of a New Immigrant Priest
Photo Courtesy: Saints Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church – Miami

The plight of the priest astounds not merely for its contradicting demeanor but also how it triggers ripple effects, extending its impacts to the parish at large. The episode showcases the lurking discrepancies within the Church, magnifying the need to scrutinize the behaviors of the clergy and their alignment with the principles they preach.

However, hope emerges, as it often does in moments of adversities. The parish has rallied together, rolling out a fundraiser on their website, rooted in their determination to legally fight for their church. Their united stand echoes their resolve to safeguard the values of Orthodox Christianity, signaling a commendable resistance against the contradictory practices of spiritual leaders.

Today, as the parish stands resiliently against the undesirable development, it presents a beacon of hope and strength, emblematic of the enduring spirit of unity within the Orthodox faith. The pathway ahead is undoubtedly riddled with unpredictabilities, legal battles, and perhaps more complications. It nonetheless remains an emblematic journey; advocating the essence of Christ teachings and the core principles of Orthodox Christianity.

Postscript: Stay updated with the ongoing events and support this resilient community. In order to fight for the future of Saints Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Miami, the church has launched an emergency online fundraising appeal named “Save Our Church.” Learn more by visiting their official website at orthodoxpeterandpaulmiami.com.

Published by: Martin De Juan


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