Welcome to Byznessmen.com, a blog about two millennial Byzantine Catholic guys who are praying every day for God to show us His path. This is our first post, so naturally we would like to tell our story and the beginnings of a truly awesome (in the literal sense of the word) journey. We are Joseph and Anthony.
Our story starts when we met on a commuter train on September 21, 2016 as we made our daily trek to work in New York City. Both of us were wearing the rather rare Byzantine and Orthodox Christian prayer ropes (commonly known in Greek as a komboskini or in Russian as a chotki) upon our wrists. It sparked Anthony to comment on it.
Anthony: (pointing to his komboskini) “Are you Greek?”
Joseph: “No, I’m Italian.”
Anthony: “Me too!” (intrigued) “Are you Orthodox?
Joseph: “No, I’m Catholic”
Anthony: (getting more excited) “Me too!”
We quickly engaged in a very awesome conversation. The two of us discovered that we both were of the same ethnic background, Christian denomination, employed in the same field, and possess the same indelible faith in Christ, which encompasses the traditional and reverent form of worship. Our list of similarities is endless and we irrefragably believe our introduction was through the providence of our Lord. We met for breakfast shortly after our train encounter, and we have since become extremely close friends.
Later that year in December, we went on a retreat together to Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Wisconsin where we were able to reflect on our lives and pray deeply. At that time, we felt displaced in our careers and were seeking signs from God for how we can pursue a more fulfilling, Christ-centered life. While in the monastery’s library, we came across a book titled “God Owns My Business Also,” which referenced a book by Stanley Tam. Upon returning home from the retreat, we read Stanley’s book, “God Owns My Business,” and we both believed right away that God was sending us a sign. The book captures the story of a man named Stanley Tam, a Christian man who started a business in his twenties and gave 51% of his profits to Christian causes and to spreading the faith. He set up a charitable foundation to control 51% of US Plastic Corp legally. Through his awe-inspiring story, Stanley was able to preach the Gospel and help others directly through his entrepreneurial passions. God literally owned his business.
We currently work in an industry that offers a poor work-life balance and does not align with our faith and ardent Catholic beliefs. The two of us had been searching for an escape, a way to devote ourselves to God, while fulfilling the longing desire to incessantly help others. This book was our answer. How amazing would it be for us to pursue our passions in business while directly helping others and following God each step of the way? Well, that’s exactly what we did.
Shortly after our retreat, we opened two businesses: a corporate entity formation business and a promotional product business. Profits of 51% from both businesses go toward helping the less fortunate and to missionary initiatives. We are currently in the process of forming a charitable foundation to control the businesses, just as Stanley did, so that we can help spread the Christian faith in such troubling times. We are asking God for help and thanking Him for our trials and tribulations, every step of the way.
It was Stanley’s story that changed our lives and guided our current path. We look to him as an enormous inspiration and we hope to follow in his footsteps through our charitable works for others. David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, is also a faithful and tremendous businessman who follows the same model and who we look up to. He thanks God for his success and we hope to one day fulfill a similar mission.
We all know the famous saying “Man proposes and God disposes.” The two of us know that this path that seems so perfect for us just may not be God’s will. As a matter of fact, both of us are discerning a vocation to the Byzantine Catholic priesthood. We are praying every day for God to reveal His will to us, which may or may not be running these businesses. But for right now, this is where our energy is focused. We see the businesses as our way out of our current roles and an avenue to utilize all of our God-given talents and spirituality to help others.
We both manage an Instagram account and Facebook page, both named KomboskiniKlan. Through this medium, we strive to teach our followers about the Jesus Prayer, the use of the komboskini, hesychasm, and other facts related to the mysticism of the Byzantine Catholic Rite. Give us a follow!
We look forward to keeping you updated on our journey and we also welcome anyone to reach out to us. We can be reached here, or on Instagram or Facebook any time. Thank you for reading and may God continue to bless you and guide you all.
IC XC NIKA