Part of our History, Life in Patras

Filling ink cartridges!Filling ink cartridges!

A new community has opened recently in Patras, seeking to live and work in the way of Nazareth as part of the local Greek community and building links between the different Church traditions.

We belong to the Latin parish of Patras, St Andrews, and to the little Latin community. But above all we want to be a sign of Unity between Catholics and Orthodox. Most of our neighbors are Orthodox and we greet each other in the street or else stop to speak as if we have known each other forever! When we arrived here, we were given such a welcome by our Orthodox neighbours.

Being an important port, numerous refugees arrive from Asia and North Africa and find refuge in makeshift camps. Often their living conditions are inhuman. At the risk of their lives, they have left home by whatever means they could find: often small boats or else as stowaways. The State tries to help them. There are soup-kitchens open for all, but police controls are made without interruption in the town and at the port. A lot of initiatives have been taken, but the country is not prepared. Many Romanies (gypsies) are also arriving from the East looking for a better situation. We meet them in the streets, waiting for someone to take an interest in them.

The police try to 'clean' the town of this aspect of poverty, where the traffic of drugs is well organized. Racism toward all those who disturb the tranquillity of 'good people' can be felt though feelings of violence and rejection.

Our parish community is enriched by people coming from other countries: Albania, the Philippines, and people from Eastern Europe who come to work. They are the future of our Latin Church. Others arriving from Western countries are married to Greeks. The women stay attached to the Catholic identity of their country of origin and often carry the pain of division between the Churches, because of the lack of understanding in the families of their husbands.

Our Chapel in PatrasOur Chapel in Patras

This context engages us to be a sign of the love of God for every man, every woman, in respecting their differences, by letting ourselves be challenged by the way we live our differences in community.

We are called to make LISTENING and INTERCESSION our mission in the world today. The way we live Community can still pose a question to people around us if we are filled with compassion for each person we meet, but above all, if we are filled with compassion for each other. 'Take into account the hope which is in you,' Peter tells us in his first letter. Only then will we be bearers of NEW LIFE.

We want to enter into this complex reality, not as people passing through, but as contemplatives who see beyond words...

Saint Andrew, the apostle, "the First Called", brother of Saint Peter, died crucified at Patras and he became the Patron and protector of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.