A new church, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, is being built on the island of Puerto Rico.
The cross on the site of the future church was blessed on Sunday, August 8, by His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who paid a three-day visit to the island together with the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, reports the ROCOR Eastern American Diocese.
Bp. Nicholas was also accompanied by Archpriest Peter Jackson, the dean of Spanish-language missions, and Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky of Novo-Diveyevo Convent in Nanuet, New York.
According to Archpriest Gregorio Justiniano, the rector of San Juan Clímaco Mission in San Germán, the new church will be the first Orthodox church built as such on Puerto Rico. A number of young people have begun attending the church lately, and several were baptized into the Holy Orthodox Church earlier this year.
On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, His Grace served at the San Juan Clímaco Mission, where he was warmly greeted by the clergy and parishioners. The rector of the Antiochian church in Carolina, Puerto Rico, was also present for the service.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated in Spanish, English, and Church Slavonic.
Afterwards, a procession was held to the future site of the Church of the Annunciation, where Bp. Nicholas blessed the foundation cross that had been made by parishioners themselves. A festive reception was then held, and a presentation was offered on the design concept for the church.
Fr. Gregorio then spoke about the history of the Mission, which has been housed in a chapel in a small room for 12 years. As the community continues to grow, a new home is needed to provide the Mission with consistency, helping it to train translators, choir directors, catechists, and local clergy.
“My Puerto Rican people do not know the Orthodox Church. This is why I asked the bishop to bless us by visiting us here in San Germán, my hometown, to bring to them the Faith of the Apostles. Today, 12 years to the day since the celebration of the first Divine Liturgy in San Germán, the Precious Cross is placed on this land, blessed by our Bishop, and dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos,” Fr. Gregorio said.
Learn more and donate to the construction of the church at the Mission’s website.