Metropolitan Jonah to address 2010 Ancient Christianity Conference May 14-16

ANNISTON, AL [OCA] — His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Ancient Christianity Conference at Saint Luke Mission here May 14-16, 2010.

Moses the Black

Moses the Black

The conference, the theme of which is “Jesus Christ, the Great Physician,” will be sponsored by the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black, a pan-Orthodox, non-profit ministry devoted to sharing the richness of the Orthodox Christian tradition and its African roots with Americans who have had little exposure to the faith.

Other speakers include Abbot Gerasim; Fathers Moses Berry, Jerome Sanderson, and Paisius Altschul; Deacon Nathaniel Johnson; and Mother Katherine.

The conference fee, which does not include housing, is $40.00. Special hotel rates are available through April 13 by calling the Victoria Inn at 256-235-0503.

To register and/or obtain additional information on the Brotherhood and the conference, log on to


  1. The coding for the link to needs correcting.

  2. cynthia curran :

    Well, anicent Africa is ethnically and racial diverse as modern Africa. Not only black Africians but also in anicent Carthage ,the Phoniecians, until the Romans destroyed the Carthigians in the 3rd Punic War. Carthage was developed again as a Roman colony by Augustus, plans his Great-Uncle first thought up. Jews of course in Alexandria Egypt and I believe that Philo mention about the Jews and Greeks havng a riot during the 1st century that the Romans put down. Greeks were as they were today live in Egypt starting after Alexander’s conquest and the reign of Alexander’s general Ptolemy. The berbers can also found in North Africa. I think they were in anicent times around Numida where Jugthuria was defeated by Marius.

  3. cynthia curran :

    I mean no harm in what I was saying. There is no proof that St Anthony whose name is Antonius in Latin had any Roman ancestors. It is possible that some ancestor might have been freed by a Roman nobleman, and freemen beared the family name of their master. Freeman were usually still in the service of their master after they were freed.

  4. I understand the African influence in Christianity but there are many ethnicities in Africa and using the term “black ” denotes a racial preference and allegiance and even superiority over the other races in Africa. The very nature of the organization also goes against tradition in Orthodox Christianity which has always been segmented by ethnicity and nationality (culture and language mainly), but not by race. I’m surprised and dismayed that the Orthodox Church in America is taking and endorsing this direction in the church. It goes completely against Christ’s teachings which clearly state that all races are equal. Shame on the church for this blatant attempt to further segment it’s members.

    • Len,

      The Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black is not about segmenting the races within the Church. It is about revealing and explaining to Americans that Christian history, particularly the Orthodox Christian history of blacks in Africa. The extended purpose is to both act as an evangelical platform to American blacks who have been perniciously robbed of their extensive Chrisitan roots and to help heal the racial divide that is an unfortunate but real part of the history of America. A history that includes the rejection of American blacks by Orthodox people and communities. A rejection I have seen with my own eyes in the midst of an otherwise wonderful community.

      It does not appear to me that you have read any of the publications inspired by the organization, talked with any of the many people involved or you could not possibly believe what you wrote.

      • What do you call it when a group calls itself a White European Christian Brotherhood Church, Mr. Bauman??? I venture to say that you would call that group racist and take immediate action against it wouldn’t you??? And just what deprivation are you even speaking of as far as black attendance at churches? Ancient history? Really, all peoples have been deprived at some time or another if history serves me correctly so let’s put that weak argument aside. Regarding in this day, which is the issue here, blacks are accepted at any Orthodox church in this country. That statement of yours is ludicrous, ignorant and an insult to the many wonderful Orthodox Christians and America as a nation. However millions of Orthodox Russians were starved/tortured/murdered deprived of their Christianity, in fact, none have been deprived more of their faith or suffered as much as the Russian Christians. Are you also defending to the death all the Russian Christians in the world and their right to have their own church, Mr. Bauman????? And what you are incorrectly referring to as “racism” in the Orthodox Church is nothing more than a little suspicion that some ethnic groups might display when someone new initially attends which is easily understandable given all the persecutions and oppression that Orthodox Christians have experienced in the past as well as presently. Those wounds are still fresh and very deep. As a Jew, I’ve seen plenty of prejudice in synagogues, in fact out and out racism to the point of physically booting out or removing individuals whom were deemed “unworthy” so I know of what I speak. And yes I did attend a meeting at this organization, did you???? And yes, I read the material obviously or I would not have bothered posting here. This group is not just saying it’s a black orthodox Christian group which is not only racist, but goes against Jesus’ own words, and is completely contrary to what other racial groups are allowed in this country, it’s claiming by its very name a “black moses” which is also false, racist and irrelevant regardless. It appears to me that you are here simply to voice your own personal grievances against Orthodox Christians worldwide and besmirch American history rather than defend a self-segregated by choice racial group which is attempting to further divide the Brotherhood of Orthodox Christians. Unity is what heals, not division, as you should well know.

        • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

          The history of Blacks in America is a sorrowful one that will be healed only by leaders arising among Blacks themselves. Even then, look at the hostility they still face from whites, especially liberal whites, who bring forward the worst sorts of stereotypes that informed and directed that history for several generations. Harper Lee first outlined it in “To Kill a Mockingbird” but we still see today against prominent Blacks like Clarence Thomas and more recently Herman Cain.

          Let these leaders do their work. They are calling Blacks back to their Christian roots, and those roots reach deeper than the American conceptions of slavery (with Christians divided on both sides of the issue) that unfortunately inform and thus propagate the racial divides that still exist in the cultural memory. When that call is heard and acted upon will the unity you correctly express is necessary will be fulfilled.

          I agree with your implicit premise that the divide has to go. I do not agree that attacking the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black is the way to achieve it. Who will young men listen to? Someone who understands and challenges them.

        • Michael Bauman :

          Len, the rejection of American and even Ethiopian blacks by members of my own commuity is real, present and not ancient history. It is fading, but it is still there. There is a lot of residual prejudice againsts black people in the Arab community as a counter balance to the viscious manner in which they were treated for many years after coming here.

          Len, I know these people well. I’ve known Fr. Moses for over 30 years. I’ve seen him upbraided by young blacks on the streets of Detroit for following ‘the white man’s religion’. He approached the young men and had a quite irenic talk with them and we went on our way. Mother Katherine is a deeply commited monastic of marvellous intelligence. Neither has a prejudiced bone in their bodies. Fr. Moses credits his conversion to the Church to an encounter with St. Moses. His Matushka is a former Jew. He lives in the community, Ash Grove, MO where he grew up and did not treat him well. He owns the ancestral fram granted to his great grandmother by Nathan Boone whose slave and mother of his children she had been. His family back in the Reconstuction period established a private cemetary for freed slaves and ‘other undesirables’ (mosly Native Americans) which he has restored and consecrated as an Orthodox Cemetary. He is an Orthodox priest whose congregation (mostly white) pretty much built its own house of worship. His work is one of unity, humility and peace. His family has a long history of that BTW. The concentration on African roots and St. Moses the Black is precisely designed to counter the myth presented by Islam and the racial separation that the Nation of Islam and other such groups preach.

          When I was there Fr. Moses was a member of the board of the Nathan Boone Homestead because he is a direct descendant of Mr. Boone. Walking with him in that community and on his own land, I could feel the healing presence of God working. There is no anger. Your attack against him is wrong.

          Your suggestion that I would immediately jump on a White European Chrisitan Brotherhood is not a good analogy. Although in my darker moments when my race and heritage is constantly belittled by the Greek, Russian and Arab ethno-triumphalists I can’t say it would be all that bad and idea. Veneration of the saints of this land I find to be a better recourse (Russian and Arab in nationality).

          • To clarify, I questioned and spoke out against the concept and implementation of a church based on race alone. I never once personally attacked Fr. Moses or accused him of being angry or said derogatory comments about the church personnel, I simply stated that a religious organization based solely on race alone is morally and spiritually wrong which it is. But I am curious about your last statements. I was raised as a Conservative Jew and was repeatedly told in synagogue that Jews are not a race as Jews come in many ethnicities, races and nationalities. There are Asian, Indian, Latin, Black, European, Middle-Eastern, etc. Jews all over the world. As to your reference to “ethno-triumphalists”, let’s be honest, there is plenty of that going on in the Jewish community as you and I both know. In fact, that is one thing that led me away from Judaism, the constant confusion between race, ethnicity, heritage, and religion (which were never clearly defined) yet the perceived ethnic and social superiority over the rest of the world. There has been and still is a great deal of suffering going on all over the world and it’s not confined to any one particular group, religious or otherwise. And really nowhere was it worse than in Stalin’s Russia where Christians experienced their own holocaust in untold millions. Those stories are as heart-breaking as any others in existence. Regardless I feel that I received more than adequate responses from Fr. Johannes Jacobse, appreciate the information given and am pretty much done with this topic.

  5. I was raised as a Conservative Jew and my wife is an Orthodox Christian whom I deeply love and respect. I have joined her many times in worship and have even contemplated joining the Church myself. My comments are spoken to you presently as an outsider and member of another religious organization (Conservative Judaism) which is now in shambles due to the very concerns I have raised regarding this organization. I can honestly tell you that supporting separatism only leads to more separatism and division, and almost never reverses course. And history has shown us that division along ethnic and racial lines only increases racial allegiance, identity and resentment towards others. Using the term “Black Moses” says a lot. Many people have endured racism outside the black community. Hiding amongst ones own is more comfortable, yes, but in the end it keeps a person paralyzed and disconnected from his fellow man as well as cowardly. Take care that you don’t permanently disable these people and turn them into an outcast organization, subject to influences that the Church may one day find itself having no authority over. Good luck to you.

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      I don’t think a permanent division is going to happen, simply because the people I have contact with in the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black have never displayed any kind of reverse racism towards me at all. None. It’s not even a question, even a thought actually. I look at them as people qualified to do a particular kind of ministry.

      In real life (as opposed to the pundit’s or activist’s life of emphasizing division so he has something to talk about or to do), racism rarely comes into play anymore, in my experience anyway. When I was in my early twenties living in New Orleans and delivering Coca-Cola in the projects it was huge. I always had to detour back to the plant and pick up a black co-worker so my truck wouldn’t get robbed. I don’t think the divisions and hostilities exist to that level anymore, at least in the larger culture.

      When I was doing prison work in Duluth, MN my once a month bible study for two Orthodox inmates grew to a weekly study that consistently drew 35 to 50 men. Most of them never stepped into a church in their life but they kept coming to the study (which was more of a discussion, I’d give them reading assignments and their favorite book was Frankl’s “Man Search for Meaning” — they could relate to the dehumanization of being locked up; now I would give them Fr. Arseny). A couple of the young black men really warmed up to me. One of them asked me to be a surrogate dad to him. There was really not much I could do but I did the best I could. But it is also the reason why I respect the work of the man in the video above so much, and why I am very reluctant to criticize the work of the Brotherhood on theoretical grounds alone.

      BTW, there is a lot in common between Conservative Judaism and Orthodoxy. When I was in seminary I participated in the inter-seminary dialogues hosted by Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan. It became clear early on that the Conservative Jews and Orthodox saw eye to eye on a lot, except of course who the Messiah was. This was particularly true concerning our cultural outlook — family, morality, and so forth. We ended up leaving the Protestants and Catholics in the dust; the Protestants because they were so bound by relativism that they had no confidence in their premises and thus could not build a coherent argument (they sure were quick to moralize to us Orthodox though, especially when we displayed confidence in our ideas), and the Catholics because they had taken defensive refuge in Mariological piety (the sex-abuse scandals were moving into overdrive in those years) that we Orthodox could dimly understand but the Protestants and Jews could not even begin to comprehend. Culture has changed so maybe they have, but since then I got to know a conservative rabbi and we’ve established a friendship that replicates the same experience I had at JTS.

  6. most liberal whites have been brainwashed and led astray by liberal jewish groups like the aclu, now, and various other antiestablishment and atheist groups. they need extra nurturing to get back to their own roots of christianity. them powers that be and political bias has taken white people away from their religion. they need to go back more than anyone.

  7. I thought about my post a bit and realized that I didn’t mean to say that white people need the church more than other people. I meant to say that ther is a lot of brainwashing going on with white people and they are being led astray especially in school which is teaching white people to hate their religion, themselves and ther countries. As a person of color I am grateful for what the white person is given me in this day and do not harbor bad feelings about them and they need to come back to the church and be leaders again for Jesus. I know that in Israel and other african countres Christians are not treated well at all. My prayers go out to Christians in the world who are experiencing prejudice and persecution and hatred. Jesus is Lord.

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