Our times are changing at a very quick pace and things in Africa are becoming more and more complicated. It is no longer easy to watch the rapid changes involving the local events. Meanwhile, the internal impressions are not as clear as the external ones, which are accumulated every day through the automatic mass media. Despite this chaotic situation though, our struggle still goes on.
Mobilization of the Deans
Since the determination of the nine deaneries (that is, the districts under the jurisdiction of the Deans) in the diocese of Uganda in 2002, it was believed that the Bishop would bring money and cars to give out to the Deans, so that they could start their work! However, the challenges caused by the financial crisis in Europe drove the Deans to exceptional activities regarding the organisation of the districts.
After serious discussions, they reached an understanding: “it is imperative that all members should participate actively and promote the work of the Church towards all directions.”
Condition of Priests and communities in general
There are 67 clerics within 105 communities, which have been marked into 9 ecclesiastical districts and deaneries. All of them try to work properly, except for two regions, where the problems are really big and demand a very careful handling in order to be solved. These backward regions are Lira in the North and Fort Portal in the West.
Below you can see some indicative figures in brief:
- 250,000 – 300,000 people comprising the orthodox population of Uganda
- 9 deaneries: 3 in the centre, 2 in the east, 2 in the west and 2 in the north.
- 67 clerics
- 47 brick-built churches (25 functioning)
- 105 parishes and sub-parishes, communities
- 100 catechists (male and female)
- 51 big teams of mothers
- 50 small teams of youth
- 18 surgeries, 1 small central hospital
- 9 doctors of various specialties
- 99 schools: 23 high schools (junior and senior), 26 primary schools, 50 kindergartens with catechetical
- 650 teachers: 160 + in auxiliary jobs at the schools
- 19 boarding schools, 3,000 boarders (lots of orphans among them)
- more than 20,000 pupils of all levels of education
- 3 teams of builders
- 1086 wardens assisting Clerics, Mothers and Youth, and serving at Churches, Communities, Surgeries,
- Schools, Boarding schools, Orphanages
- 2 priest-monks, 2 rassophore nuns
- A special team: General Commissioner, Chief Secretary, Scribe, Accountant, Education Secretary, Driver
- 1 non-governmental organisation named Social Philanthropic Care of the Orthodox Church of Uganda.
Hopes in the field of Education
The Orthodox Church of Uganda is now a Church of young people. This is so simply because the leakage from the Orthodox Church to heterodox religions has stopped thanks to education. We have got schools of our own, though not as well organised as those of the other denominations. For the time being, the whole effort relies entirely on schools and education.
For this very reason within the last two years we have invested in education more than 2 billion Ugandan shillings (580,000 €) in order to construct new schools, improve the old ones and contribute to the tuition fees of the young students.
From the beginning we abandoned the “free education” system of Orthodox students in schools and introduced the “participation” system on the part of parents or relatives with a “minimum operational contribution” at almost all levels of education (except for the Theological Seminary). This way, thanks to the donations of our Greek brothers, we were able to construct additional schools and help more children to be educated. Last but not least, we have managed to have all the people involved in the field of education paid with a small monthly salary.
From the Holy Metropolis