Dear Friends of the Missions,
I would like to share with you the concerns we have here in Bukoba after our settlement with the blessings of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.
Our greatest effort involves the unity of the diocesan clergy, providing them with support as regards the problems of their parishes and their families for their better performance in the missionary work. Without priests, we cannot possibly do many things. These are our hands, our partners, the mouth of Christ in their parishes, the sign of God’s presence in the local communities.
What makes their role even more difficult is that they have to give the testimony of Christ and Orthodoxy among Roman-Catholics, who are the majority. An imam calls to prayer 5 times a day, even though Muslims are a minority in our city. Also present are other denominations, such as Protestants, with Anglicans, Lutherans and Adventists, as well as a large number of Pentecostals, «charismatic” magicians and others.
The Diocese of Bukoba has shown a rich history of missionary activity for 60 years now. Initially, it was the current Archbishop of Albania Anastasios who came here as the first Archimandrite in 1962. Then, it was Theodore Nankyama who also came as an Archimandrite in the ‘70s.
In 1983-1991 Archbishop Anastasios was appointed as Vicar of the Diocese of Irinoupolis. He began to catechize, baptize, ordain priests, build churches. We still have priests ordained by Anastasios. His work was subsequently developed by Jonah, current Metropolitan of Kampala (1992-1997) and Ieronymos current Metropolitan of Mwanza (1997-2019). The great Missionary of our Diocese was the late Fr. Sosthenes. May we have his blessing and may his memory be eternal!
From Bukoba, Orthodoxy spread throughout Tanzania, and today we have reached the point of having 4 Ecclesiastical Provinces throughout the country, 2 Metropolises and 2 Dioceses.
His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros loves Bukoba very much. He has paid 3 visits to Tanzania, two of which to Bukoba. He is deeply concerned about the problems the local Orthodox Church has to deal with and cares about its future. The Diocese of Bukoba comprises 185 parishes and 100 built churches served by 35 priests, 3 of whom are advanced in age. The 85 parishes use thatched roof huts for churches. All priests have two, three, even five parishes under their pastoral care and jurisdiction. There is a priest who has 10 parishes to serve!
There is an immediate need for 35 motorcycles to be bought so that the priests can do their job. My neighbor Bishop Agathonikos of Arusha has taken one motorcycle to every single priest. Here we can find some imported ones from Dubai at $ 1000 each. Besides motorcycles, we are in need of priestly vestments, cassocks, holy utensils, Altar covers for the Holy Table and many others.
God willing, in February we will operate the Priestly Seminary to train more priests and advance the work of Christ more smoothly.
We must also help our Catechists, who voluntarily go and help the Christians to gather where there is no priest available. We need 40 bicycles for them. Here we find them at € 75 each.
Moreover, it is in our plans to organize a seminar for the Catechists as well, because they do not have any catechetical aids and they need guidance and aids on how to do the catechesis properly.
For this reason we will try to equip the Theological Seminary in Kasikizi so that it can accommodate priests, catechists and seminarians in the summer as well, and camps for our Orthodox children. Furthermore, we will try from September 2021 to re-operate the Theological School, which has been closed for 8 years now. There, our candidate priests will be trained for two years and receive the knowledge required to be able to serve the large number of vacant Parishes in our Diocese.
Thank you for listening to our needs!
Arch. Chrysostomos Maidonis Patriarchal Vicar Of Bukoba