KINGSTON – The mission parishes of the Jamaican Orthodox Mission have voted to join the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and are in the process of being received. The mission initially began on April 24, 2015, as the Holy Orthodox Archdiocese in Jamaica — a Vicariate of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The mission was established in response to the efforts of a young Jamaican, Moses Myers, a former member of a Pentecostal Holiness denomination who converted to Orthodoxy in March 2014. As Myers told OrthoChristian.com, the Jamaican Mission consists of two mission parishes including 15 baptized and chrismated Orthodox faithful, 7 catechumens, and over 30 inquirers. The mission is currently working to establish other communities across the island.
On Saturday June 1, the core group of parishioners from both parishes met to discuss the current state of the mission. Prior discussions had been taking place since January. Some of the concerns raised included internal and external factors that had been negatively affecting the mission for an extended period of time, one of which was the need for a full-time priest.
Other concerns stemmed from the fact that outside of Kingston there was no work being done to establish another parish in the North. There were also concerns regarding the current tensions brewing in global Orthodoxy, especially within the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
On Sunday December 8, a combined meeting of both parishes was held to discuss concerns over the priest serving the mission at that time. Additionally, concerns were again raised in regards to the mission itself, as it was believed that, despite efforts made by certain individuals to keep the mission afloat, the mission had been neglected by the Metropolis of Mexico over the years. As such, the recommendation to transfer the mission to another jurisdiction was revived, and it was decided that the matter would be carefully considered by everyone, pending a final decision
On December 15, both the Northern and Southern communities unanimously agreed for the Mission to be transferred to ROCOR. Met. Hilarion has instructed Vladyka Luke of Syracuse, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, to receive the Mission into ROCOR, the process of which has already begun, Myers explained.
Several ROCOR priests have already indicated a willingness to visit and assist the Mission, and the Church is working on finding a permanent priest. ROCOR has assisted the Mission since its beginning, sending books, CDs, and other materials. The Mission has been served by a number of visiting priests since its founding.