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A call to build the church in

Ixcan, Guatemala

Photos from the Project
Faithful lifting their voices
Inside view of temporary church
Ixcan, Guatemala
Ixcan, Guatemala

Ixcan, Guatemala

Watch Now
Guatemala 2018 Compilation

In the mountains of Guatemala & Southern Mexico, over 300 village churches are spiritual home to many thousands of indigenous Mayans currently seeking the Orthodox Faith.

Right up until his repose in 2014, Fr. Andres Girón, a Guatemalan native, ministered among them as leader of the Guatemalan Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico. Today, Rev. Fr. John and Presv. Alexandra Chakos serve these people as missionaries, continuing the salvific work of Fr. Andres.


As a richly blessed parish and spiritual family, we wish to give something back to God for all that He has done for us. What more fitting way to glorify Him than to build a church in this area that is just growing stronger in the Holy Orthodox Church?



The potential for growth in Ixcan (pronounced Ishcan) is great and the people are very mission minded. On a recent visit, the Orthodox faithful from the area showed me the property on which they would like to build the new church.

Until they can build an Orthodox Church, they worship in a very simple, temporary structure: dirt floor, wooden slats walls and a sheet metal roof. However, what is lacking in material beauty is more than compensated for by a profound faith and spiritual vitality that shakes the very rafters of this humble church. When homes and land were lost to them before, these people found their consolation in Christ, Who now has led them into the Orthodox fold.

Orthodoxy in this part of Guatemala, which runs along the border with Mexico, is poised to grow. We hope to make the parish a regional center for promulgating the Orthodox faith, as there are a number of Orthodox communities in the area. They feel that a proper Orthodox Church structure will give them the visibility they need to reach out and spread the faith to neighbors and friends. The property is easily accessible from the road. The proposed site is very flat and measures 40 meters wide by 70 meters long.

For many years, the people in this community were affected by the civil war in Guatemala and persecuted by the Catholic Church. Their long journey through many trials is a great testament to their resilient faith. With great joy, they were received into the Orthodox fold in 2010, inspired by the leadership of Fr. Andres Girón, who helped them establish their village.


A church in this area will be a good witness of the Orthodox faith. I expect it to grow rapidly. The people are very pious and enthusiastic. May we be worthy of their trust in us.


In Christ,
Fr. John Chakos
OCMC Mission Specialist












Would you be a part of this important work?

The parish of St. John the Baptist is handling various aspects of this project, including charitable contributions that will help make this historic project come to fruition. Make your tax-deductible donation payable to:

St. John the Baptist (note Ixcan in the memo)
Send it to: St. John the Baptist
2350 E. Dempster Street
Des Plaines, IL 60016

For further information contact the church office at (847) 827-5510.

You may also make your donation now on-line. Click here.

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