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Jakarta Post

The Orthodox Church, a minority among the minority

Wed, December 11, 2019   /   06:35 pm
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    Way of Christ: The cross of the Orthodox Church is different to that of the Catholic Church. JP/ Taufan Wijaya

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    In the name of the father: Orthodox believers make the sign of cross before praying. Orthodox believers are a minority in Indonesia. JP/ Taufan Wijaya

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    Servitude: Archimandrite Daniel Byantoro gives a sermon at the Janasuci Petrus & Paulus Church in Tangerang, Banten. JP/ Taufan Wijaya

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    Remember Christ: The communion at the Janasuci Petrus & Paulus Church in Tangerang. JP/ Taufan Wijaya

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    Converse with God: A woman poses in front of the Janasuci Petrus & Paulus Church in Tangerang as others enter. JP/ Taufan Wijaya

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    Illuminate the world: Orthodox Church members light candles at the Janasuci Petrus & Paulus Church in Tangerang. JP/ Taufan Wijaya

Taufan Wijaya

Deesse Gloria, 45, nimbly flipped open her bible at the Janasuci Petrus & Paulus Church in Tangerang, Banten. She then read a verse requested by the priest as he gave a sermon.

Gloria is a new believer in the Orthodox Church. She started to attend the church in late 2018 and was baptized this year in January.

At the church, Gloria and 15 other women wear headscarves, a common practice in the Orthodox Church.

Other than Gloria, there was also 45-year-old Phan “Roy” Cia Yau. He attended the morning sermon with his wife and two children. Like Gloria, Roy is also fairly new to the Orthodox faith, having attended the church for the last two years.

“I wanted to follow the authenticity of the bible,” Roy said about his reason for joining the Orthodox Church.

That Sunday, Daniel Byantoro, an archimandrite, or a superior abbot of the church, gave his sermon.

Daniel oversees 11 parishes from North Sumatra to Papua. He was the one who introduced the Orthodox faith to Indonesia and started his mission on June 8, 1988, in Surakarta, Central Java.

The Orthodox believers are a minority among other Christian worshippers in Indonesia.

Although sharing many similarities with Catholicism, the Orthodox Christian faith, which originated in Russia, also has many differences.

Followers make the sign of the cross from the right shoulder to the left, while the communion bread is made with yeast and is thick and round.

The Orthodox Church also has its own calendar for Christmas and Easter. Its Christmas falls in January instead of December.