My Dear Brothers in Christ,
By the grace of God and with your own constant support, the work of our Church in Central Tanzania is progressing, despite the difficulties that afflict modern society due to the corona virus pandemic. It is a fact that in the wider region of Central Tanzania, the pace of life of our native brothers has not been significantly affected; these simple-hearted people have been facing this threat with calmness and faith in the providence of God. The prayers of all the members of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity have been supporting us in our difficult but God-pleasing work!
In our previous communication I informed you about the progress of the construction works in the Orthodox Mission Center in the city of Arusha. We hope that the church dedicated to Our Lady, which is scheduled to be rebuilt there, will become a reference point for the entire missionary work in Central Tanzania. Given our limited financial resources, we are starting the project for the erection of the sacred church in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos rather shyly, but we hope for your wholehearted support. During this period, an effort is being made for the architectural blueprints to be completed so that in the near future, our vision deriving from the noble heart and plans of His Beatitude our Blessed Patriarch Theodoros II for the city of Arusha will begin to take shape. I am making an earnest appeal to your charitable hearts for assistance through your contribution to this important task for the Diocese, always to the extent possible. Let us all play our part so that the Orthodox Church can have a serious presence in Arusha, the heart of East Africa.
In the same area, there are plans for the construction of a school complex for theological and technical courses. Education is a valuable asset and no child should be deprived of the right to participate in the schooling provided. In Central Tanzania as well as throughout Africa many children are unable to attend even basic education. School dropout rates are rising because many families are unable to meet the financial demands of paid education. Thus, the vision of schooling seems utopian to thousands of children in Central Tanzania and all around Africa.
With the help of all of you together, our Diocese activity hopes to be extended to the educational sector as well by organizing theological seminars and by creating professional – technical study courses. The theological training of the clergy and the lay members is considered necessary so that all those ministering in our Diocese will possess the necessary theological education.
At the same time, there are plans for the establishment of a Technical School with practical studies for both boys and girls. Informatics, Engineering, Hygiene, Cooking, Sewing, Housekeeping, are some of the educational programs that will be included in the curriculum of our Mission Center Technical School in Arusha. These courses will have an immediate response to everyday needs and will offer easily accessible education, open to any young person in Central Tanzania.
An additional important area of action is the translation of liturgical and patristic writings of our Church into Swahili. The existence of liturgical and patristic books in the language of the natives is considered necessary not only for the beginning of their course in the Orthodox Church, but also as a support for their later spiritual life. Moreover, the lack of liturgical books, which are absolutely necessary for the performance of sacred services, is considered particularly important. The Octoechos or Parakletike, the Menaea, the Triodion, books whose existence is taken for granted for the Greek Orthodox liturgical reality, are absent from our daily services. There is a great need for translation of all the liturgical books of our Church. We have been working in this direction since we first came to Central Tanzania. We formed a translation committee consisting of clergymen fluent in English. The seat of this committee will be located at the Orthodox Mission Center established in Arusha.
For all these actions which we are planning to carry out, we need your valuable contribution! Once again, we make an earnest appeal to your charitable hearts, asking you to assist in the work of the Church and our Patriarchate. It is an indisputable fact that without your financial and spiritual support, none of these important projects could have been accomplished.
With feelings of deep gratitude and love in the Lord, †Agathonikos of Arusha