Father Nathan Monk is the pastor of St. Benedict Orthodox mission in Pensacola, Florida. My family and I have visited one of the sister parishes in Pensacola, St. Andrew the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Church, but have never had the honor of visiting Father Nathan's parish. We may have to rectify that the next time we are down that way. Father Nathan is fighting against local ordinances in Pensacola dealing with the homeless, which would, if implemented, prevent homeless people from camping in public areas and some private areas within the city limits. He is also quite notorious for an incident where he offered to purchase a homeless man some food, and the man sent his family to eat but told Father Nathan he would have to stay behind and hold the sign because the family would be evicted if he did not get another $50 before the day was over. Father Nathan told him to go eat while he held the sign for the man. The treatment he described by people passing by -- yelling, cursing, throwing things -- was so deplorable that it moved him to do something about it.
I chose this video instead of the numerous others on Youtube, because Father Nathan's message to the City Council is so powerful. In my opinion, the money quotes are:
"This council would have arrested Mary and Joseph around this time of year for being vagrants. And maybe would have called the DCF and had the Christ child taken off."
"I think it's funny that so many people worship a homeless man on Sunday, and then you want to arrest him on Monday. We actually did. We crucified him, and I would consider it the exact same thing if this council goes forward with this."
Thanks be to God for the work this man is doing. As we feast at the Nativity this year, please be sure to remember the poor.