All the orthodox Christians of the Holy Metropolis of Central Africa are particularly happy because we were honored by Gracious God’s providence to accept the blessing and wishes of His Beatitude Patriarch of Alexandria Theodore B’. His presence, his prayers, his paternal advice and manifestations of his warm heart benefited everyone spiritually, our faithful, our priests, our students, the schoolchildren, our Holy Metropolis.
His Beatitude arrived at the missionary premises of Kananga on October 19th.From the festivities that took place in his honor, it appeared that the schools had a high level of studies and operated perfectly. The Patriarch marveled at the well made school installations and being particularly happy, contacted the teachers and students personally and blessed them all. Also, he conducted the inauguration of the magnificent multi-domed holy church of Saint Andrew.
Immediately after his coming to Kinshasa, went to the H.C. of Saint Nicholas of the Greek Community and conducted o doxology in the presence of plenty of officials and a large number of Congolese orthodox, who had come to see “the Patriarch of love”, as they called him.
The president of the country Mr Joseph Kabila honored him particularly and did him the honors of head of state. The Patriarch met with the representatives of the national parliament, plenty of ministers and parliamentary members, to whom he presented the huge philanthropic as well as social work conducted by the Patriarchate of Alexandria throughout Africa.
His Beatitude visited the Theological School of the Orthodox University of Kinshasa. Our students and a large number of people, Orthodox and catechumens, welcomed him with great joy. His Beatitude was shown around the school installations, which functions as a boarding school at the same time, expressed his satisfaction for the order and the way it is organized and praised the work committed by the Theological School, which is of utmost importance to Orthodoxy. His Beatitude attended the Divine Liturgy, which was conducted at the H. C. of Saint Athanasios the Athonite, and marveled at the beautiful choir singing.
He warmheartedly thanked the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity for its 50-year- work of continuous offer to the Patriarchate of Alexandria and especially to the Holy Metropolis of Central Africa and the Orthodox School of Theology in Kinshasa.
Also, His Beatitude visited the missionary center at the region of Kasangulu, where there is an orthodox school and a beautiful church in the same place in honor of memorable Chrysostom Papasarantopoulos. The Patriarch was particularly happy and blessed the children and the teachers.
Another stop of pastoral visit was the parish of Saint Mark in Kinshasa, where the faithful celebrated the Patriarch’s visit with traditional dances and songs. They felt his pure heart and God’s presence through his blessing. In the same place, His Beatitude visited the schools of our Metropolis, which were built by the Greek Community of Kinshasa, and on the occasion of his visit were given to operation. The teachers and students of Saint Mark’s school organized a great celebration in honor of the Patriarch. With great joy and enthusiasm the children sang the national anthems of Greece and Congo in Greek and French as well as traditional songs. The joy of the Patriarch and everyone present was apparent.
It would be an omission not to mention the special priest- gathering that His Beatitude called at the offices of our Holy Metropolis. The Patriarch addressed the priests paternal words of advice and exhortation so that they perform their pastoral as well as missionary duties with a lot of love, ardent zeal and a strong sense of responsibility. These words made the priests rejoice, and strengthened their faith.
In conclusion, the pastoral and missionary visit of our Patriarch was particularly useful spiritually for our Holy Metropolis. It was a cool breeze of blessing and consolation of the Holy Spirit. It was also an important stop of “spiritual refueling” and support for all of us. It was a unique chance through which the pious and multiform spiritual and philanthropic work of the Patriarchate was projected intensely not only before the Government but also through television.
For all the blessings which we experienced, we address cordial entreaties to the Triune God and heartfelt thanks to our father Pope and Patriarch Theodore for honoring us with his visit to the missionary Metropolis of Central Africa, which we humbly serve by divine grace and our Patriarch’s blessings.
With wishes and love in the Lord
Nikiphoros of Central Africa