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Proselytism, as distinct from evangelism, involves actively and illegitimately seeking and inducing people from one religious faith to another. People converted this way are known as proselytes. The English word proselytism derives from the Greek language prefix pros- (towards) and the verb erchomai (to come).

In Biblical usage, a proselyte was one who converted to the Jewish faith, not having been born into the Covenant.

Disavowing proselytism, the Orthodox Church maintains a rich and strong tradition of missions and evangelization, epitomized by Saints Cyril and Methodius in ancient times, and in modern times exemplified by the Alaskan missionaries, Saint Herman of Alaska, Saint Innocent of Alaska, Saint Juvenal of Alaska, Saint Jacob Netsvetov of Alaska, and Saint Nicholas of Japan. Perhaps the most well-known Orthodox missionaries of the 20th and 21st centuries are Father Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos (Congo), Archbishop Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya, and Archbishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos) of Albania.

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