Oriental Orthodoxy in Guatemala

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Oriental Orthodoxy in Guatemala refers to adherents of Oriental Orthodox Christianity in Guatemala. Most of the Oriental Orthodox Christians in Guatemala are ethnic Mayans, who are under ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.


Emergence of Oriental Orthodoxy in Guatemala was closely related to the process of canonical revival within particular Christian communities. By 2012, first contacts were initiated between the Renewed Ecumenical Catholic Church of Guatemala (Iglesia Católica Ecuménica Renovada en Guatemala, ICERGUA) and representatives of Syriac Orthodox Church in North America, and within a year full communion was achieved. Leaders of ICERGUA accepted theological positions of Oriental Orthodox Christianity, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of Antioch.[1] Conversion process was particularly successful among indigenous Maya in Guatemala.[2]

This revival movement was led by Eduardo Aguirre-Oestmann, a former priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Guatemala. In 2003, Aguirre formed ICERGUA as a charismatic independent catholic church.[3] In 2006, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Guatemala, excommunicated Aguirre and adherents of his group.[4] They were excommunicated for schism, and Aguirre also for distancing himself "from the communion and the norms of his priesthood" by founding the Comunión Ecuménica Santa María del Nuevo Éxodo in 2003.[5] In 2007, Aguirre was consecrated as bishop of ICERGUA by a bishop of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church at the parish church in San Juan Comalapa.[6] ICERGUA was a member of the Worldwide Communion of Catholic Apostolic Churches.[7]

When ICERGUA was collectively received into Syriac Orthodox Church in 2012-2013, it was reorganized as the "Central American Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch" (Arquidiócesis de Centro América de la Iglesia Católica Apostólica Siro-Ortodoxa de Antioquía, ICASOAC). As of 2015, ICASOAC has not published membership figures but includes a 2009 estimate of ICERGUA membership on its website, which gives figures between 50,000 and 350,000.[8][a] The Syriac Orthodox Church has announced that membership may be as high as 800,000.[2][third-party source needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ICERGUA claimed to have an estimated 50,000 members in 2004;[9] an estimated 120,000 members in 2005;[9] an estimated 175,000 members in 2006 with one parish in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, and an unspecified number of oratories (las otras son casas de oración) in the Sololá, Quiché, Totonicapán, and Huehuetenango departments of Guatemala.[10] an estimated 300,000 in 2008,[11] and an estimated 350,000 in 2009.[12]


  1. ^ Abba Seraphim: Orthodox Mission In The Twenty-First Century: Guatemala
  2. ^ a b "Syriac Orthodox Church receives as many as 800,000 new converts in Central America". scooch.org. Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America. 2013-05-06. Archived from the original on 2013-06-18.
  3. ^ Thorsen, Jakob Egeris (2015). Charismatic practice and Catholic parish life: the incipient pentecostalization of the church in Guatemala and Latin America. Global Pentecostal and Charismatic studies. 17. Boston: Brill. p. 32. ISBN 9789004291652.
  4. ^ "Sacerdote que fundó secta en Guatemala quedó excomulgado". aciprensa.com (in Spanish). Lima, PE: ACI Prensa. 2006-10-18. Archived from the original on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  5. ^ Peters, Edward (2014-12-03). "Excommunication blotter". canonlaw.info. Edward Peters. Archived from the original on 2015-09-22.
  6. ^ "Ordenacion Episcopal". icergua.org (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2008-10-07.
  7. ^ "CICAM/WCCAC". icergua.org (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-09-20.
  8. ^ "Estadisticas actuales". icergua.org (in Spanish). June 2009. Archived from the original on 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  9. ^ a b "Asamblea Nacional 2005". icergua.org (in Spanish). November 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07.
  10. ^ Catalán Deus, José (2006-10-20). "Un sacerdote excomulgado en Guatemala por crear una rama cismática que afirma contar con 175.000 miembros". periodistadigital.com (blog) (in Spanish). Madrid, ES: Periodista Digital. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  11. ^ "Estadisticas actuales". icergua.org (in Spanish). June 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  12. ^ "Estadisticas actuales". icergua.org (in Spanish). June 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2015-10-07.

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