Welcome! After last week’s post, “Introducing the Vibrant Orthodox Community of the Dominican Republic,” we are excited to share more about Fr. Rafael, Orthodoxy in the Dominican Republic, and how we wrote this appeal.
Speaking with Fr. Rafael we were absolutely amazed to discover that he was the only ROCOR clergyman on the Dominican Republic and he serves a total of seven Orthodox communities. Not only does Fr. Rafael serve in six different locations but he also leads an active ministry. He runs a Russian school, drives parishioners to church, translates for Orthodox immigrants, and much more!
When our Social Media Manager and Mission Liaison, Veronika, was working on writing this appeal we wanted to find a way to include a little bit of each mission in the appeal. From this desire, stemmed the idea to design a map that shows where Fr. Rafael serves and how long it takes to get to each location. We also asked Fr. Rafael to tell us a little about each mission. These descriptions are reflected in the map and will be detailed below, so read on to find out more about the Orthodox Dominican Republic!
We start at Puerto Plata, Fr. Rafael’s home base and the location of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God parish. This city is home to the first tourist infrastructure, in the Dominican Republic, and still remains a tourist city. Puerto Plata is also home to one of the largest golf courses in the Caribbean. Our next stop, Sosúa, is located 45 minutes away and home to many Ukrainians, Serbians, Romanians, and Greeks who work to support the local tourist industry. A little further is Jamao, located 3 hours from Puerto Plata, home to a small Russian diaspora. In Jamao, the Russians are dedicated to cultivating the land, growing cocoa, coffee, avocados, oranges, and other fruits. Recently, Jamao has acquired ecotourism infrastructure. Meanwhile Las Terrenas, another tourist hotspot, is home to a mission that serves tourists from Russia and other countries.
Four hours away from Puerto Plata, is Santo Domingo the capital of the Dominican Republic. Due to the capital’s colonial history, it attracts large numbers of tourists. In addition to being a tourist attraction, Santo Domingo is home to the country’s factories. The furthest location, eight hours from Puerto Plata, is Punta Cana a large tourist destination. Punta Cana is known for its beautiful beaches, great hotels, and a new airport.
When asked how Fr. Rafael carries his cross he told us “So many places to be! So many people to serve!” To reach the many people, Fr. Rafael is currently using the vehicle pictured to the left which has been on its last leg for months. You will make the picture on the right possible, a new van for Fr. Rafael, that will drive him safely to serve the Orthodox of the Dominican Republic!