Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I want to thank you for your support of the whole Missionary Work in Bukoba, Tanzania. The help came at the beginning of the project and was a relief for the big issues we were facing.
I do not forget your advice from your cooperation with dozens of missionaries for 60 years.
We do not forget that you are the oldest Missionary Association in Greece for the Support of Missionary Divisions.
Every time I come to Greece, your headquarters is a haven where we anchor and secure our missionary ministry. The presence of your fraternity with Mr. Prodromos Kalaitzidis as your representative during my ordination to the Bishopric in Alexandria on February 20, 2022, was particularly moving.
The mercy and tolerance of God and the decision of the Bishops of Africa, with the laying on of the hands of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Theodore II, made me Bishop of Bukoba.
Now, things have changed. I am not just a hieromonk serving the Mission in Bukoba, Tanzania, but the Bishop of the Diocese.I am the spiritual shepherd in charge of the Diocese.
In fact, now, His Beatitude adds to my area under jurisdiction Mwanza, a city of 3,000,000 people and the whole of Western Tanzania, which is twice the size of Greece.
I now reflect on the great responsibility on my weak shoulders. How am I going to fulfil my duties as a Bishop of such a vast area? From the previous 18- month-missionary work by the Patriarch, I tried to get to know the Diocese, the priests, the catechists, the people and to visit most of the Parishes.
This acquaintance with the Diocese gives me the opportunity to prioritize the needs and to begin, by the grace of God and the help of the friends of the Mission, little by little, to put the Program into action.
Through our oral and written communications and the publications, I have set out the needs, priorities and planning of the missionary work in the Diocese of Bukoba.
1. Our first and foremost concern is the priests. I believe that the bishop is first and foremost a shepherd of the shepherds. He should mainly care for the priests and their large families. The priests are closer to the people and communicate directly with them. Eventually, it is them who will put Mission into practice.
Our first concern was a fixed monthly salary. However, this salary is very low now, when the schismatic Russians give € 300 to buy off the priests. And unfortunately, with this lure, they took with them 4 priests from our Diocese, 14 from all over Tanzania and 102 from all over Africa. The least we must do is to increase the salary to € 100.
The problem I must deal with is how to cover the salaries of future priests. In the next period, pastors must be ordained for the 160 remaining unpreached parishes. Where can I find the money for their payroll?
Rectories must be built next to the churches because many priests live far from their parishes due to lack of accommodation. An important help is also the support of the studies of our priests’ children with scholarships for the Schools of the Bishopric and for the higher Educational Institutions. The meetings with the priests are also needed for their training and guidance in their liturgical, catechetical, missionary, and pastoral work. They will function as a parliament, where, together with the priests, we will discuss and decide on the course of the Diocese.
2. My second immediate concern is the preparation of new trained priests in the hundreds of remaining unpreached parishes.
For this reason, we have created Mark the Evangelist Theological Seminary in Bukoba with the first 17 seminarians. Next September, we will have to select the new students, but we lack space. I need money immediately to start the Seminary which we have planned, and which was founded by His Beatitude our Patriarch Theodore II on October 19.
I am really awaiting a miracle from God to take place and sponsors to be found for our Theological Seminary.
† Chrysostomos of Bukoba