On the afternoon of October 11, His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II arrived at Entebbe International Airport accompanied by The Very Reverend Archimandrite Fr. Elpidoforos. The representative of the President of Uganda welcomed His Beatitude and wished him a good stay as a guest of the government.
The patriarchal visit was continued the next day, October 12, with arrival at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Namungoona, where the Mission Center is located. First, a doxology was performed and His Grace Bishop Makarios, Caretaker of Uganda, warmly welcomed His Beatitude on behalf of the pious clergy and the people of the Archdiocese of Kampala and all Uganda, emphasizing the importance of St. Mark’s Patriarchate in the person of Patriarch Theodore for the whole of the Black Continent. Deeply moved, His Beatitude expressed his great pleasure to be in the hospitable country of Uganda for the sixth time and thanked everyone for the warm welcome, especially the President of the country, who undertook to host him and his entourage. Immediately after that, His Beatitude, the Bishops, the clergy and the people were taken to the grave of late Metropolitan Jonah, where they performed a short memorial service in his memory.
Next, His Beatitude and his entourage visited the Churches of St. Spyridon in Luguzi and St. Antonios in Monde. Doxology was sung in both parishes and speeches were given. The next visit was to the Holy Monastery of Saint Mary of Egypt, where the abbess addressed His Beatitude in Greek!
During the visits, His Beatitude and his entourage had the opportunity to see a number of schools made with donations from supporters from Crete, Cyprus, Rhodes, and other places. They admired the impressive buildings and the perfect facilities, and His Beatitude planted trees in their yards. He even laid the foundation stone of a school that will be named after Irineos Galanakis, late Metropolitan of Crete. The facilities in the Monastery of Maria of Egypt were financed by the nunnery of Panagia Sfalaggiotissa in Limassol.
On October 13, His Beatitude and his entourage visite d theChurch of St. Spyridon in Nsinze, Namutumba, and then the Church of the Lord’s Transfiguration in Nchiza, where he laid the foundation stone of the building for the central administration of the surrounding areas. In both cases the choirs sang hymns and performed traditional dances. In the evening of the same day, he visited St. Catherine’s Holy Monastery, which is located on the top of a hill and is a donation of a pious Christian from Romania.
The next day he consecrated the katholikon of St. Paraskevi Holy Monastery in Busaana, presided over the divine liturgy and appointed to the position/post of the first Abbot of the Monastery Archimandrite Prodromos, graduate of the Patriarchal School “Archbishop Makarios the Third”.
On October 15, after a five-hour journey, His Beatitude and the members of his entourage arrived at the Holy Diocese of Gulu, where he was visited by its Mayor. In the afternoon, he went to the Holy Church of St. Basil, where clergy and faithful gave him a warm welcome. In the evening, he arrived with his entourage in Akoni Beto, where he visited St. Nektarios Hospital. There, he gave wishes to the hospital patients, delivered a wonderful, hopeful speech to those gathered and blessed them.
On October 17, the penultimate day of the Patriarchal visit to Uganda, the whole area around Namungoona Hill, where St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Metropolitan Palace are located, decorated with flags and photos of the Patriarch, was packed with people.
His Beatitude officiated the Divine Liturgy and ordained as Archimandrite hieromonk Fr. Nektarios, performed a trisagion for the late Metropolitan Jonah and awarded St. Mark’s Cross to the two Orthodox Members of the Parliament.
The next day, His Beatitude visited the President of the country at the Presidential Palace in Entebbe. He thanked him for the warm hospitality and gave his best wishes for health and blessings to both him and the people of Uganda. The President of the country expressed his joy for welcoming him once again and promised to continue the good and close cooperation between them. He was even interested in learning more about the presence of Orthodoxy in the African continent, and His Beatitude answered and explained with clarity and vividness the important role that Orthodoxy plays in the international arena.
This is how the important visit of His Beatitude to Uganda ended, leaving an important and hopeful message to all: love, love, love. It is the only way to continue the work of Orthodoxy in the first Orthodox hearth of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, Uganda. With these visions of fraternal cooperation and coexistence, all the tribes were called upon to embrace each other, in order to further strengthen the tree of Orthodoxy in the beautiful and hospitable country of Uganda.
† Makarios of Nairobi Caretaker of the Holy Metropolis of Uganda