By the Grace of God, one hundred and ten people have been incorporated into our Holy Orthodox Church. Before converting to Orthodoxy, they belonged either to other Christian denominations or to traditional African religions of Kananga, Congo.
On Holy Saturday morning, the hymn» As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ», sounded all over Kananga. The Mission Baptistery was flooded with catechumens from Kananga as well as people who had arrived from distant villages, all dressed in white robes. Our heroic sisters from the Christian charities of Greece under the spiritual supervision of the «SOTIR» (Savior) Brotherhood of Theologians duly prepared those who were to be baptized. Everything was ready, and the Bishop, Priests and Deacons, wearing their liturgical vestments, began the Holy Mystery. All the catechumens «with one mind and one voice» renounced Satan, and with their hands raised they joined Christ, accepting Him wholeheartedly as their only God and Savior.
During the Holy Mystery, I was looking at their happy faces, so full of reverence and devoutness while waiting to get into the baptismal font, knowing it was there they could destroy the old man and be spiritually reborn. Everything was done “decently and in order’, according to St. Paul the Apostle. With deep faith and a strong craving for the One and True God, people of all ages, young and old, came to the baptistery to put away the old sinful man and emerge from the holy water bright, shiny and regenerated. I saw mothers bring to the baptistery sick infants, almost newborn babies, for fear of the latter leaving this life without having received the Holy Mystery. Little children gladly got into the baptistery to receive Holy Illumination. Even elderly people, convinced that truth lies in Orthodoxy, after an adequate catechism abandoned their old beliefs, accepted Christ and eagerly decided to put on the white robe and be baptized.
The hymn “asmany of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ” was sung by all the newly illumined of Kananga, who, with their hands joined entered the old St. Andrew Church to receive Holy Communion, the flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The heavens rejoiced that day, angels and saints and along with them the late holy elders Metropolitan Ignatius of Pentapolis, Fr. Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos and Fr. Chariton Pnevmatikakis. The holy relics of the last two, hosted at the cemetery of Kananga, cast their blessings on our Kanangan brothers.
† Theodosius of Kananga