May 18, 2012

A Ripe Fruit of Ecumenism - Anglican Priest Converts To Orthodoxy

By Protopresbyter Dr. John Mesolora

At the end of the year on 31 December 2011 Wayne Burke ended his tenure in the Anglican Church and on 1 January 2012 he entered the Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Spyridon of Kefallonia approved his application to enter the Orthodox Church and he was catechized by Protopresbyter Dr. John Mesolora who anointed him with Holy Myrrh at the Church of Saint Spyridon in Argostoli in the evening of December 31 and the next day he received his first Holy Communion.

Wayne was baptized as an infant in the Episcopalian Church in San Francisco, California. He served as an altar boy and was a member of the church choir. He received his college degree and graduate degree in communication rhetoric at the University of San Francisco and a PhD at the University of Cardiff in Wales. His theological and priestly studies, required for ordination, were done at St. Stephen's House at Oxford. He was also a reader of the Anglican Church. At Oxford he met the Orthodox bishop and professor of that University, Kallistos Ware, whose books The Orthodox Church, The Orthodox Way and The Lenten Triodion he studied after their meeting. The Anglican Church offered him to become a priest and he accepted, but he asked to do his practicum at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity at Oxford, which he did. Here he learned much about Orthodox worship and ecclesiastical music.

He was consecrated deacon then priest by Bishop Geoffrey Rowell of Gibraltar and went on to serve as reader, deacon and priest for the Anglican Church of Saint Paul in Athens. In Athens he came in contact with the Athonite Metochion of the Ascension in Vyrona with Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki under whose spiritual guidance he was under with the blessing of the Anglican bishop of Gibraltar.

Wayne was a member of the Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue, was a founding member of the Community of Saints Sergius and Alban in Athens, and participated in a mission to the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Leadership 100 Society in America. Today he teaches rhetoric and communication at the American College Deree in Athens.

He was married with an Orthodox wedding (the mystery was celebrated by Fr. Haralambos Haritou in the Kefallonia Caves) to a scholar and professor and native of Kefallonia, Anna-Maria Konstantakis, and they have one daughter, Maria Ourania. This is also how he came to know Saint Gerasimos, who at some critical moment of his life appeared in his dream accompanied by a nun, and he tended his hand and called him near to him. The call of this "Orthodox patron" played a crucial role in his final decision to leave the Anglican Church, whose continuous "deviation from tradition" he watched with sadness, and he sought refuge in the Orthodox Church. The admission ceremony took place in my Church of Saint Spyridon in Argostoli in English from the SERVICE BOOK OF THE HOLY ORTHODOX-CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of New York and all North America.

His sponsor was Mrs. Helen Konstantakis and Wayne was given the name Gerasimos according to his wish. May he prove worthy of such great grace.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos