Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s Blog

April 29, 2008

OCMC Hosts Finnish Visitors


St. Augustine, FL – Recently, OCMC was pleased to welcome guests from Finland: Aino Nenola, Director of Orthodox Missions, and Outi Vasko, Vice President of Orthodox Missions and Ortaid Project Coordinator.  Ms. Nenola and Ms. Vasko spent a week consulting and sharing information with OCMC staff during their visit to St. Augustine, FL.  The goal of their visit was to continue building the relationship between their organizations and the OCMC and to work with the Mission Center in exploring the future growth of their mission efforts.  


OCMC Executive Director Fr. Marin Ritsi said of the visit, “Ministries form North America and Finland coming together to strategize about offering a global witness and spreading the Faith is a significant development for the Orthodox Church.”


The Finnish Orthodox Church has been an autonomous Church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople since 1923, but the history of Orthodoxy in Finland goes back over a thousand years.  There were approximately 60,000 members in 2002, and the Church has been steadily growing in recent years. 


In 1977, the Finnish Orthodox Church established its own missionary organization, Ortodoksinen Lähetys ry (Orthodox Missions).  This organization has been active mainly in eastern Africa.   More recently, the Church created a development aid organization called Ortaid.  Ortaid is devoted to the relief of material deprivation in areas with an Orthodox population. 


Ms. Nenola and Ms. Vasko held meetings with each department, sharing about the missions programs in place within the Finnish Orthodox Church and listening to OCMC’s current mission strategies.  Staff members from both countries learned a great deal, and this opportunity to build relationships across continents was a blessing to all involved. 


While in Florida, Ms. Nenola and Ms. Vasko were interviewed by John Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio. In their interview they expressed their desire to see the missionary efforts of the Orthodox Church of Finland grow and to realize greater cooperation with OCMC.


It is the hope of Fr. Martin that this cooperation will grow in the coming years. Ms. Nenola’s and Ms. Vasko’s visit was a step towards implementing a plan to foster dialogue, partnership and cooperation among Orthodox mission ministries abroad. Opportunities for immediate as well as future points of cooperation were identified.


Please continue to pray for OCMC and for our Finnish brothers and sisters working to share the Gospel.  May this initial meeting lead to future cooperation for the sake of missions!



  1. Hello OCMC. I see you have friended me. How did you find me and why did you do so? I do not automatically friend those that friend me, even though I rarely lock my posts. Also, while I love Orthodoxy, I suspect that many of my posts will not be suitable and/or welcome on your friends page due to conflicting opinions on religious practice, my radical feminism, and my occasional bad language. Just a heads up. And a hello.

    Comment by ewigweibliche — May 5, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

    • Hello! We found and befriended you because you expressed an interest in Orthodoxy. If your posts are not “suitable,” we’ll delete them. It’s interesting to hear “conflicting opinions” 🙂

      Thanks for the heads up and hello.

      Kriss Whiteman
      Web Specialist
      Orthodox Christian Mission Center

      Comment by orthodoxchristianmissioncenter — May 7, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

      • Wonderful! Thank you for responding. I do love Orthodoxy and may very well take the plunge and officially convert one of these days… Feel free to keep me on!

        Comment by ewigweibliche — May 7, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  2. Christ is risen, brethren! It’s great to realize this event has a great cultural perspective to augment the effect of your missionary outreach. People tend to associate Eastern Orthodoxy with the East: even US-based dioceses are often erroneously perceived as exotic enclaves. Finland sound totally European to everyone, your ecclesiastical authority is global and their African missions serve not to just teach the Catechism. This mighty mix also promotes the idea of how universal, rich and aspiring our Faith is. This is the message even the ungodly just can’t ignore.

    Comment by auditor_mill — May 8, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

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