Letter from the Board of Directors
October 3, 2019
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
With profound sadness and regret, Friends of Indonesia is suspending its efforts to raise support and awareness in the U.S. and the English-speaking world about the Indonesian Orthodox Church.
As of July 10, 2019, Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), under whose authority Fr. Daniel and the parishes supported by FOI have been operating, canonically released Archimandrite Fr. Daniel Byantoro. No new receiving jurisdiction was named in the release.
From its founding in 2005, Friends of Indonesia has supported the ROCOR parishes in Indonesia, along with Fr. Daniel, who has been the ROCOR-appointed Dean of those parishes. When he was chrismated in 1983, Fr. Daniel was the first known convert to Orthodoxy in modern times in Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country of over 200 million people. He was also the first native Indonesian to be ordained as an Orthodox priest, and a dynamic evangelist and church planter, as well as a popular speaker among Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christian circles. He has personally baptized thousands of Indonesian Orthodox Christians, sponsored more than 30 Indonesian Orthodox deacons and priests, and tirelessly travelled the world raising support for the Indonesian Orthodox Church.
The full implications of this ecclesiastical separation are unknown, and the Indonesian Orthodox community is in turmoil. For this reason, the Board has decided to return these funds, because Fr. Daniel is no longer under the omophorion of Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. All donations to FOI subsequent to July 1, 2019 are being returned. As of now, we are not accepting any further donations.
May God richly bless you for your past support, and your generosity in supporting the Orthodox Church in Indonesia. Please keep the suffering Church of Indonesia in your prayers. As we Orthodox Christians pray every Sunday during the Divine Liturgy, we also pray with you that God would “make the schisms of the Church to cease.”
Board of Directors, Friends of Indonesia, Inc.