Dear President and Board Members of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity,
Christ is Risen!
Despite our financial difficulties, the struggle of the Mission continues on this beautiful and much-afflicted island of Madagascar. Day by day, our Church is growing, not only in human resources but also in terms of building facilities, that is Holy Churches, the orphanage in the capital city -which is also funded by a noble donor of your Fraternity-, a school at a university level, and all these, always in conjunction with our general charity action for the relief of the destitute, the sick, and all those in need of love and moral as well as material support.
We have repeatedly said that Mission is not only “the declaration of the Divine Word and people‘s Evangelism” but also an offer of charity and actual material relief and assistance.
The most important is that we confess all these to people regardless of their religious convictions, colour and racial or national characteristics. Our Faith is vibrant and pure like solid gold, and this is the way in which it should be offered, exactly as it was handed down to us;
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst , give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” (Rom.12, 20)
This is what the greatness and the differential power of Orthodoxy, that is why it is being embraced by more and more people in the Third Continent; the disinterested, selfless love. A love that does not expect a reward but only aims at the people’s illumination and salvation of soul, which are the “coals” of Faith, as mentioned by the Apostle of the Nations in the quotation above.
Therefore, we are very pleased to announce to you that the Missionary work, always in collaboration with our priests, is advancing, and we are now ready to begin the construction of a Holy Church at the city of Diego in the North. It is a city, where the first baptisms took place a few years ago, and at this time, there are a sufficient number of catechumens. This Holy Church should be intended to meet the needs of our Church in a region where the Orthodox Faith has just made its presence felt, particularly now that the first Orthodox Church is going to be erected. Its estimated cost is approximately €25,000.
We are aware of the financial difficulties Greece and other Orthodox countries are going through but we are also aware of the warm-heartedness and eagerness of the Orthodox people, who, despite the severe economic crisis that is plaguing their countries, still remain pioneers in philanthropy and missionary action. It is some poor countries today that evangelize a big continent which until yesterday was living in the darkness and in error under the delusion of idolatry, paganism and any heretical sect whatsoever. Besides, this is the mission which can bring us into prominence as pioneers of faith on the world stage.
We would like to thank once more, not only the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, but also the generous donors who have contributed and still contribute to the continuation of the Missionary Work, which, after all, we always start together and hope to be able to complete by the Grace of God.
Bishop Ignatius of Madagascar