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Fr. Daniel Byantoro of Jakarta, Indonesia

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  • Reader Timothy Tadros
    Recent Events surrounding the Indonesian Orthodox Church & Fr. Daniel Byantoro President and Founder of the Indonesian Orthodox Church (Immediately following
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2006
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      Recent Events

      surrounding the

      Indonesian Orthodox Church

      & Fr. Daniel Byantoro

      President and Founder of

      the Indonesian Orthodox Church

      (Immediately following is an earlier report

      sent out by e-mail detailing the surrounding of the

      compound, by radical Muslims, which is the

      location of St. Thomas Orthodox Church, the

      home of the owners, and the apartment Fr. Daniel

      lives in when he is in Jakarta.)

      Friday Jan 6th U.S. time (Sat. Jan 7th in

      Jakarta) a group of approximately 200 radical

      Muslims came on motorcycles carrying radical

      banners and slogans and surrounded the

      compound which belongs to an Orthodox Christian

      family. In it they have their company offices and

      St. Thomas Orthodox Church is also located there.

      Fr. Daniel also occupies a small apartment within

      the compound.

      The radical group threatened to burn

      down the compound because they had learned

      there was a Church located in it. The owner -

      David- went

      Special News Bulletin ~ Indonesian Orthodox Church Update ~ Page 2

      David went out and negotiated with the leader of

      the group and eventually they agreed to leave

      only if he agreed to close the Church. The group

      came back two more times making the same

      threats. In subsequent calls Fr. Daniel reported

      that in one of the confrontations the leader asked

      David if he was afraid. He replied "I'm only

      afraid of God - and those who owe me money

      and won't pay me." Everyone broke out laughing

      and the moment of levity seemed to relieve the

      tension. Fr. Daniel's first call to Fr. Gordon Walker

      was made around 6 a.m. Sunday, Jakarta time.

      At that time they were removing liturgical items

      from the Church to go to a private home to

      celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

      Since the closure of the Church, an

      episode occurred which revealed at least two of

      the Muslim employees in the compound who

      were responsible for reporting the existence of

      the Church to the radical Muslims. They were

      fired immediately and David requested and

      temporarily received military guards to surround

      the compound.

      In subsequent calls, Fr. Daniel reported

      that certain of the radicals had attempted to extort

      money from David. We must pray for an angelic

      shield to be placed around this compound as it is

      so important to the future of Orthodox Christianity

      in Indonesia.

      In addition (some of this was reported

      earlier) after Christine was released from the

      hospital with her bout with what Fr. Daniel called

      "blood fever," (I believe she was in the hospital 3

      or 4 days), her daughter was hospitalized with

      Dengue Fever. Fr. Daniel also has a nephew who

      is critically ill with this disease and his sister,

      Deborah is back in the hospital in Surabaya in

      ICU with a return of her heart problems.

      However, the people of St. Thomas

      Church have not been frightened away. Though

      David had to agree with the radicals that the

      Church would be closed, when the day came for

      the Old Calendar Epiphany (ROCOR and all of

      the Russian Orthodoxy remains on the Old

      Calendar) the people insisted on a service. Fr.

      Daniel decided they would gather in an adjacent

      office building and sit quietly with no vocal music

      or prayers. Then he and the recently ordained

      priest Gregory and a young man who will be

      ordained by Archbishop HILARION in February,

      went into the altar of the Church, with closed

      curtains and whispered the Divine Liturgy. Then

      they took the consecrated gifts to the next

      building and served them in silence. Then they

      blessed the waters and he said many people

      wept as they received the Holy Water and filled

      large containers of it to take home.

      Christine Photini declared to the people:

      "If we are martyred we will

      all be martyred together."

      I wept when I heard this as I know she and David

      have 7 children, all of whom are members of the

      Church and undoubtedly were with them that

      morning. Fr. Daniel said the service began at 8:00

      a.m. After all of it was finished, he preached.

      When he finished his sermon the people asked

      him to teach. When he would stop teaching they

      would say "Father tell us some more." He

      reported that this went on until 9:00 p.m. when he

      was too exhausted to continue any longer.
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