"The Footsteps of Jesus in Guatemala"


by Father John Chakos


From the Saturday of Lazarus to the celebration of Pascha, we walked in Jesus’ footsteps in and through the humble village of Aguacate. Through our Orthodox Holy Week rituals the Mayan faithful felt the power of Christ’s passion, transforming the familiar ground upon which they walked into their own Holy Land. Seen through the long suffering perspective of the Chuj people, the passion of the Christ took  on a new and poignant meaning. Only a few years ago, they prayerfully gathered in their little church to meet what they thought would be their possible demise. As a community they had already decided not to  flee their homeland, come what may. The invading army of a cruel dictatorship, known for its genocidal acts against the indigenous population, arrived as expected. The village elders told the army leaders, “do with us what you will; we will not leave our village.” The armed soldiers relented and left Aguacate in peace. Their Good Friday became a Resurrection, a testament to their own courage and conviction that God’s love conquers every evil. Throughout all the well attended services, we felt the holy energy of a tenacious faith tested by the purifying fire of a hard life fraught with many privations. It has been our joy to serve them in some small way, receiving more from them than we can give. Christ is Risen!