A Ray of Light and Love of Christ

The Holy Diocese of Accra and West Africa was founded in 1959. The Diocese was served by worthy Hierarchs, among them Patriarch Petros of blessed memory. As it is based in Accra, it is often thought to be limited to Ghana only. But it also includes the states of Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali. Although our presence in these countries is not as expanded as in Ghana, with God’s help and the support of friends of the Mission, it is growing at a promising pace.

Without the help of our friends and brothers in Christ, this would not be possible as our Diocese has no revenue of its own. It rests with the love and the spiritual, missionary conscience of devout Christians who want to contribute, spread the light of the Gospel and also help their suffering brother, either on an individual basis or through associations and charities.

The beginning and roots of the Orthodox Church in these areas are truly moving. At times there have been various independent groups, as is often the case in the Protestant world, which, in order to justify their existence or give themselves some prestige, came to use the term “Orthodox” in their name, while often they ignored the existence of the One, Holy and Apostolic Orthodox Church. Coincidentally, one of their worshipers, while in the library of the University of Accra, found the book by Kallistos Ware “The Orthodox Church”. This aroused not only his interest but also the interest of other people whom he discussed with. So, they searched for themselves and found us. What we did on our part was to embrace them with great love. The fruits of their search and our efforts are visible today.

Thus, we have 35 sacred churches, 20 priests (17 in Ghana and 3 in the Coast), a missionary opening in Burkina Faso with a group of catechumens who are currently served by the priests of the Coast, and some prospects for Mali. We maintain eight kindergartens, two primary schools, a middle school and Saint Peter High School with boarding houses for girls and boys. Some of these institutions are still housed in thatched huts, while others have got their own buildings with the help of friends and supporters and the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity.

In the last two years, due to the coronavirus, things have become far more difficult, as the health, the finances and even the faith of many people have been shaken. With very limited means at our disposal, we have done everything in our power to alleviate their pain, hoping that the Holy God will help meet the needs of our Diocese. Someone has always been there to help. Our friends and supporters have never ceased to send their contribution. To all, known and unknown, I am deeply grateful.

But recently we also had reasons for joy. The faithful of Agboville, a city in Cote d’Ivoire, seeing that there would be no money left over for the construction of their church, decided that they would build it themselves, with whatever means they had at their disposal. The construction of the new church, dedicated to our beloved Saint Nektarios, began with the donations and sacrifices of the faithful of the area and with the supervision and efforts of our priests. It is encouraging and moving at the same time to see in this difficult season the natives taking the initiative and caring for their parishes without asking for help from elsewhere. The new church had many imperfections, it even lacked windows, doors, paving, electricity and water, but at least, it was operational.

This project greatly moved the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, which hastened to fill the gaps. Now, the works are steadily progressing. Frames, doors, and windows have already been fitted. We are going on with paving, electricity, water supply, the interior design, and the decoration. We thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts and I pray that the grace of Saint Nektarios covers us all.

We have many future plans, not only for the maintenance but also for the expansion and dissemination of our faith. May God bless us and with His help, everything will be done as we wish.

Petros of Accra

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