Contact Dcn. Makarios
I am Deacon Makarios, the oldest son of three brothers and one sister. I am a native of Solo City, which is also called Surakarta City in Central Java, Indonesia, and I was born on October 12, 1968. Solo is considered to be the cradle of Javanese civilization; it is composed of two kingdoms where the monarchial lineages still reign from their two palaces. They are held as cultural symbols, but they don’t have an political power. I am Javanese by ethnicity. I spent my childhood and schooling in Solo City. I was educated all the way up through university where I graduated in 1995 from the Technical Faculty of Civil Department.
I started to work as a landscaper while I was a student in 1987; I also made houses. At last in 1996, I designed and built the first Orthodox Church building in Indonesia: the Holy Trinity Church in Solo City. After this, I worked as an engineer beginning from Jakarta City in Java, to Makasar City in the island of South Sulawesi, to Bandung City two hours away south of Jakarta and lastly now I am working as an airport designer in Jayapura City, the island of Papua, in East Indonesia. In 1998, I got married to my High School sweetheart, Yuliana Endang Susilawati, when I was 30 years old. We both had converted to Orthodoxy. We have two sons.
I had a long journey to Orthodoxy. When I was born, my family was part of the Javanese Christian Church of Solo. As such, I automatically was raised and educated as a Christian by my parents. I began to be interested in the Church ministry when I was 12 years old; at this age, I was appointed as the Chairman of the Sunday School Class, and since then on, I had been active in ministry, not only in the Church but also in the Youth for Christ fellowship group. In 1986, I was appointed as a Chairman for the Youth for Christ organization for the city of Solo. I was also very active doing ministry on the university campuses. At last in 1989, I was elected to be the Chairman of the Christian Student Fellowship of the Technical Faculty Department and the Faculty of Literature Department of the University of ”Sebelas Maret”, the largest University in Solo City.
My father, Mr Sanyoto Atmokeroto, had become a friend of Fr. Daniel and Fr. Alexios. Through some of his connections, he even helped them to gain the government permit to build the Holy Trinity Church, which is very difficult. My father had rejected Protestant Christianity by then and Fr. Daniel’s and Fr. Alexios’s influence on him was very positive. He became very close friends with Fr. Alexios and soon realized that he did indeed need God, and thus, he was baptized into the Orthodox Church in 2002 just a year before he passed away. My youngest brother, Benjamin, and his family would also convert later to Orthodoxy, but the rest of my family remained Protestant.
I came to know the Orthodox faith in the year of 1988 when Fr Daniel started his mission work in Solo City. Being a Calvinist and Evangelical by persuasion, I was anti Charismatic movement, a movement that was very popular. Fr. Daniel was a former Charismatic, so I mistakenly thought that he was still one since he still had many acquaintances in that movement. I wanted to confront and challenged the charismatic teachings of this famous charismatic spokesman. However, to my surprise, I did not find what I was expecting. Instead of defending Charismatic movement, Fr Daniel explained to me from the Bible the meaning of the gifts of the Holy Spirit teaching me the difference between what the Bible is talking about and what the Charismatic movement teaches. I was so amazed with this discovery. I was even more engrossed in the teaching of Christianity and the Holy Trinity that I found in Orthodoxy. I had never heard it before.
As soon as I left Fr Daniel’s rented house, I met my spiritual mentor, Br Wahyu Nugroho, in our fellowship prayer meeting; he later became Orthodox with the name Christodoulos. I told him about my findings, and he told me that Fr Daniel was no longer a charismatic but an Orthodox Christian. I became more curious to know about it; I came to Fr. Daniel’s place tolearn about Orthodoxy almost every evening. At the same time, I studied as much as I could from other people so that I could confront Fr. Daniel and defeat this Orthodoxy that he was teaching. My ancestors had been the founders of the Javanese Christian Church, after all, and I couldn’t socially move from that church very easily. Still, I couldn’t defeat Fr. Daniel, no matter from what angle I attacked. In my heart, I could not deny the fact that the Orthodox Church is the continuation of Early Christianity, and its teaching is so solid that I could not find a single fault about it. Fr. Daniel had such a skillful command of Scripture.
From my youth up, I also did not understand why the church was so divided into denominations and this bothered me. Fr. Daniel explained to me about how leadership was set up in the early Church and about Apostolic succession. He talked about the Ecumenical Councils and about the five Holy Sees of the Church. Then he spoke about how the Roman Pope left the communion of the other four and then began to split up not more than 500 years later. This splintering was where all the denominations came from. Strictly speaking only Protestantism has denominations. The multiple jurisdictions in the Orthodox Church do not touch the essential oneness found in the dogma, doctrine, teaching and practices of the Orthodox Church. They are one in all of these things, except in the administrative and cultural arrangements. Therefore one can say that basically Orthodoxy is still one Church. With this explanation I could see that the original Apostolic Church in the East is still one in its inner life and is not divided into denominations.
Having been satisfied with the answers, I had nothing to fight against Orthodoxy with anymore. However, making the decision to join the Orthodox Church was a different matter. I had to struggle hard to digest the abundant information, but I knew that I had found the real truth of the Gospel. At last I was able to overcome all the obstacles, and on September 22, 1990, I requested to be baptized along with other people in a mass baptism. Fr Daniel gave me a new baptismal name of Makarios.
After my baptism, I helped to pioneer a young adult organization named St Nicholas, and I was elected as its first Chairman. Apart from ministering to the young people of the Church itself, we also ministered to the University students around Surakarta (Solo) City, resulting in some of those University students converting to the Faith. After the baptism of my second son, I decided to accept the offer to be ordained as a deacon on February 20th, 2006. I did this with the hope that I can serve Christ through self-supporting myself by having secular job, following the example of St Paul, the Apostle. I decided to remain a deacon, because I have a mission not only to serve in one place, but especially to minister to the people of Papua, where I can serve them spiritually, as well as, helping the society physically as an engineer. Aside from my ministry in Solo assisting Fr. Alexios, I also serve a new Community in Jayapura City, Papua Island where I am working, and my wife, Yuliana, serves as a Sunday School teacher in the Holy Trinity Church, Surakarta (Solo) City.