The Mission is a constant course towards the Kingdom of God. A liberating bugle call to the humankind that is tormented by heresies, pagan traditions, subordination of men to the ruler of this century, the devil. In this struggle, there are times that you feel the earth move under your feet and yourself sink, you feel that all the striving and the sacrifices of those who have struggled so far are going in vain. But then you see God’s hand grabbing hold of you, propping you up and crying aloud “Fear thou not; I have overcome the world.”
Few, very few people fight on the front line. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand. You take courage when you remember the struggle of the first missionary in the Congo, Fr. Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos. Lonesome, old, in fragile health, with severe headaches, he walked down the heart of Africa, accompanied by his also advanced in age niece, Sister Olga, proclaiming Christ. You can see him unafraid going into the houses of the sects and fearlessly telling them “you are wrong; if you want to be saved, come to Orthodoxy.” Recounting the history of the Orthodox Church from the time of Jesus until that day and emphasizing that we have changed nothing. Αs Christ taught us, as the Holy Apostles and their successors handed it down to us, so we accept and we believe and we preach…
This encourages us to go on. And then come to your ears the words of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania to his first partners in the resurrection of the Albanian Church: “God will not abandon us”. You see the hand of God raising you up and sustaining you and in it you see your brothers, those whom Father Chrysostomos named “remissionaries,” reaching out their hands, and you hear their voices resounding from the ends of the earth, from thousands of miles away: “Go forth, we are here for you.” This gives you courage; and then you kneel before the Crucifix and ask for forgiveness for your cowardice and you raise with new determination, new resolutions, new strength, feeling lonely no more.
This is what happened in late September and early October this year. Food supplies were running out, the seventy children in the boarding house of our Theological School would soon have nothing to eat and the schools were about to open but there was no money to pay the teachers. The construction work of our small hospital in a Kinshasa slum was progressing very slowly and we had to attend to its equipment, the number of patients was constantly growing but we could give them no aid for the purchase of drugs, for medical exams or for their hospitalization.
Moreover, the “Voice of Orthodoxy” radio station, the voice that goes into every home and offers the Orthodox teaching and catechism, was in danger of being silenced, for we could not afford to pay the petroleum for its operation. Fortunately this sorrow has been replaced by relief thanks to a voice from Thessaloniki: “we will fight along you as we have done before, we will become “Cyrenians.” A heartwarming rally of the youth of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and of people young and old, all sensitive to human suffering and interested in the propagation of the gospel, led to the gathering of food supplies and other stuff necessary for the continuation of the Mission in the heart of Africa. To this call responded Friends of the Mission from all over Greece: Athens, Veria, Naousa, Katerini…
A real miracle. A voice resounded: you are not alone, we, “remissionaries”, stand by your side. Not in words but in deeds. Take heart and move forward, all you ministering in the heart of Africa, in the Congo. Thus from the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity set off two containers to Kinshasa.
How could we not kneel down again and give thanks to the All-benevolent God, give glory to Him and ask Him in tears: “Protect, O Lord, all those who offered and helped for the shipment of these two containers; grant them your earthly and heavenly goods!”
This is the only thing but also the holiest one we can do for all of them, especially for the President, the members of the Fraternity, the partners and the donors of the Holy Diocese of Kinshasa, to whom we also owe a hearfelt “thanks” and a deep gratitude that naturally springs from each one of us, those assisting in our ministry work, our students, our poor and ailing natives.
From the Holy Metropolis