By the Grace of God and the blessings of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, the annual Clergy Seminar was held once again at the Holy Metropolis of Accra.
Our priests from the countries included in our Metropolis, mainly from Ghana and Ivory Coast, had the opportunity to come into contact for a week, from 22 to 29 July 2019, and in the context of the discussions, to provide solutions to issues that concern primarily the liturgical life and by extension, the social and humanitarian structures of the activities our Holy Metropolis engages in.
The Seminar was held at the St. Peter’s School in Larteh, Ghana. Main speakers were Greek-American Protopresbyter Fr. Paul Giannakos and his American wife, presbytera Michelle.
The main topic of the seminar was parish ministry. Through the theological knowledge of the speakers and their experience in matters of parish organization, our priests were simply and practically informed of how they can raise the spiritual level of their Parish and how they can benefit the faithful through their discreet life and proper conduct.
Particular emphasis was given to the need and the moral responsibility we have for evangelizing people, as well as to the realization that what we take for granted in the Western world is not at all granted in the countries we are called to minister in. And even though they accept our missionary presence, each country has its own peculiarities. Only under the spirit of peace can we offer our services. The Orthodox word should not be against the traditions of each place, but have an interactive and tolerant nature. Neither should there be zealotry or fanaticism in a place where peace is tried and plagued by contradictions and violence, but there should be a conciliatory spirit which will minimize – if not eliminate differences by avoiding conflict.
The Metropolis of Accra comprises four West African countries (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso). In some of them it is impossible to have a missionary division. However, where we sadly think that there is spiritual darkness, we can discern a potential spark which can only be rekindled by prayer and God’s intervention, thus resulting in the miracle of faith. How many African countries have come to know the Triune God? In how many countries has the Gospel of Christ been heard? How many countries immersed in the darkness of atheism, with the preaching of Missionaries encountered the truth of God and found themselves in the never setting and eternal, uncreated light, united with the Body of Christ? This miracle is happening in Africa. It is very easy to provide material goods meant to improve life here, but the main concern of all missionaries is the spiritual cultivation of the souls of men.
The priests of our Holy Metropolis are worthy of all praise. They fight and struggle for every single soul. They pray and bless each and every believer. They settle in their field of ministry and sow the Word of God. They provide spiritual supplies and material support to every needy and suffering fellow human being. They are characterized by faith and dignity. They create exemplary families. They work for their living away from any kind of delight that can be scandalizing. They teach through their word and behavior. And all these happen because they have a liturgical life. They have sacramental and eucharistic experiences, which shape their way of life, that is, their deepest conscience. This is how they heal everyone who approaches them.
eophyte and every believer. The priest is the one who will carry out all the activities of the parish, as directed by the bishop. It is he who will staff every domain with the right people who have the experience and ability to handle spiritual and liturgical ministry, from altar boys to priests and catechists. It is he who will highlight the role of Orthodoxy through the social structures of the parish, providing all that is necessary for education, health care, housing, and feeding the needy. It is he who will deal with the traditions by creating and activating various local bodies and associations. It is he who will most zealously make the parish a Lighthouse that will lighten the place and bear witness to Christ and Orthodoxy.
All of us who serve God and minister to man know very well that it is only through prayer that we can accomplish the great work of the Evangelization of the Nations, as humble followers of the great Apostles and Missionaries, pleading:
«Jesus Christ our Lord and God, stretch forth Thy hand and bless these lands which Thy right hand hath planted, making them an earthly Paradise, and those living there, Thy potential saints.
Prelate Theodore II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, so that he directs and guides us all in the path of Thy commandments and Heavenly Kingdom.
As for us, Thy unworthy servants whom Thou made Bishops, Elders, and Deacons, grant us strength, patience, wisdom, and prudence so that we can carry out our ministry, sowing seeds of heavenly peace into the hearts of those believing in Thy Name.
O Lord, Strengthen, Guide and Protect Thy faithful brothers and sisters from every evil influence and intention, so that we can all glorify Thy Most Holy Name unto the ages. Amen».
† Narcissus of Accra