IOANNIS: It's good that many people in China have heard of the Lord Jesus
Christ already, but I am sorry that not many people have heard of Orthodox
Christianity. Orthodoxy and Jesus Christ are not two separate things. Jesus
Christ is Orthodoxy. The word of God, the scripture, is Orthodoxy. I feel that
even if someone belongs to a heterodox community, if he deeply believes in
Jesus Christ, this belief will bring him to Orthodoxy.
The situation in China for Orthodoxy is hopeful: if we light a piece of charcoal and then fan it, a fire will be kindled. Chinese society is now like a piece
of unlit charcoal, dark and cold, but with the spark of Orthodoxy and a little
fanning, the fire will burn.
RTE: How do you keep your own faith alive?
IOANNIS: The sacraments, of course, and my own prayer life. Also, I often
remember a story about a small child who asked a priest, "Father, you are a
missionary to a non-Christian country. Perhaps you can convert one hundred people in a year but there are so many people here that even if you
work your whole life, you will only be able to convert a small number of
them. Your work will never be a success and when you are old you will feel
disappointed." The priest said, "No, I am like a child who walks on the
beach. I see fish lying on the sand and I take them and throw them back into
the ocean. There are many fish on the beach, and the beach is so long that I
just keep walking and save as many as I can. In the ocean, there are billions
of fish. If I save one fish it is nothing to the ocean, but to this one fish it is
everything. If I save one person, in worldly terms it is nothing, but to this
person, I give the whole heavenly kingdom."