Greek Orthodox Church Presence in Haiti

The excerpt below was sent to me by a professor in South Africa whom I met on an education newsgroup through a post I did on Paulo Freire. I found it interesting and refreshing.

Bob Corbett
Feb. 21, 1995

from "Reaching out", newsletter of the Orthodox Church in the Caribbean


By this time most of our readers, acquaintances and friends have learned that Fr Michael's "wanderings" ended at the end of September and that he got back into Haiti by walking across the border from the Dominican Republic. Some priest-friends from the Diocese of Bani (RC) in the DR drove him to the border, hoping to be able to cross, but they were not permitted to take their car across the border, so Fr Michael "hoofed it".

It is to be remembered that the 28th of September was still during the time of the criminal government in Haiti, so things were not too nice for two weeks, but THANKS BE TO GOD, October 15th brought the return of President John Bertrand Aristide to Haiti, and the country has been ecstatic ever since. There will be many difficulties for the country for a long time, but the atmosphere of optimism and joy on the part of the people will see them through the difficult road ahead.

Haiti was practically in ruins at the time of the return of Aristide, but steps are being taken to re-build the country and the economy, and with much foreign aid which has been promised, Haiti will rise again from its despair.

Haitians are survivors and their history has been pathetic since independence from France. They have had dictator after dictator and megalomaniac after megalomaniac running the country, and running it into the ground for their own benefit. They have had self-proclaimed "emperors", greedy presidents and military dictators and lots of foreign "control". But they are determined now to create a real and vital society, and the first steps have been taken: the legally-elected president is back. The people won and the others lost.

The three years before Aristide's return were quite difficult, to say the least. There was usually no electricity, gasoline cost sometimes more than $45.00 US per gallon, food was quite scarce and shooting took place every night. People were afraid to go out after 6:00pm, and most of the businesses collapsed. The only ones who were doing well were the politicians and the military who were involved in all manner of contraband dealing and drug running.

BUT NOW THEY ARE GONE!, and the Church is still here, and Father Michael is still here ... and God is with us as he has been all along.

Most of the supporters of the illegal government have had to flee the country because they KNEW what they had done and they KNEW they were not safe in Haiti any longer. With such persons gone, there is great hope for the re-development of Haiti.

So pray for Haiti, dear friends, and pray for the strengthening of the work of the Church in Haiti and in all of the islands, for it is the Church which will provide the foundation for social stability and peace for all mankind.

The Orthodox Church in the Caribbean Islands is under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, His Beatitude Ignatius IV. Archimandrite Michael Graves is the episcopal vicar for the Caribbean.

Mail address:

Orthodox Church/Reaching Out (Haiti)
c/o Lynx Air
PO Box 407139
Ft Lauderdale
FL 33340


Art, Music, & Dance Book Reviews Film History Library Literature
Mailing List Miscellaneous Topics Notes on Books People to People Voodoo


Bob Corbett