“Wherefore, children, let us not faint, nor deem that the time is long, or that we are doing something great, for the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us… Nor let us think, as we look at the world, that we have renounced anything of much consequence, for the whole earth is very small compared with all the heaven… For what gain is it to acquire these things which we cannot take with us? Why nor rather own those things which we can take away with us to heaven-such as wit, prudence, justice, temperance, courage, understanding, love, kindness to the poor, faith in Christ, freedom from wrath, hospitality? If we possess these, we shall discover them running before, preparing hospitality for us there in the land of the meek-hearted.”(Life of St. Anthony the Great)
Many times the primordial evil serpent comes to whisper in our ear the secret song of the sirens “who bewitch all mortals, those who approach them, and whoever unsuspectingly approaches them and listens to their cry, he will no longer be pleased by his tender mate and his little children” (Homer’s Odyssey). The words of the ancient Greek literature, when interpreted through the prism of God’s Word, are full of wisdom.
Indeed, if one looks in the light of logic the offering to the fellow man, then one will certainly embrace the whisper of the wicked one, who will tell him that even if he succeeds in achieving something, it may be extinguished in the passage of time and in the oblivion of ingratitude. As a consequence, he fails to see his “children”, that is, the fruits of his charity, namely prudence, justice, temperance, courage, love, charity, faith, which are so beautifully described above. Still others, seeing from the perspective of pride, as if they did something great, will lose their faith along the way because of pride. Whoever is characterized by prudence though, will try to see the great profit which we can gain for ourselves in the future life in order to reach our longed-for “home”, that is, the joy of prudence, which springs mainly from love and philanthropy.
In the Holy Diocese of Kisangani, in the very heart of Africa and its tropical forests, where human poverty and pain mingle with the joy and majesty of tropical Africa, we, the humble servants that put our priesthood in the ministry of the Church, try, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to taste the value of this great opportunity that God gives us. The possibility of becoming partakers of the Resurrection of the people who were gifted to us by the Church and our highly respected Patriarch, humbly offering what exceeds all earth and heaven in the universe: our love.
Although we have not even a house to live in, yet, we have everything and all the wealth gathered in this word, which according to the apostle is synonymous with the word “God.” “God is love.” We give what was freely and selflessly given to us and thus, there is no reason for arrogance and self-justification. As humble ministers of God, we walk amidst our African brothers, we place them as our second family in our soul and in our mind and we enjoy with Christ what we give and receive: His love.
My beloved brothers and sisters, by the Grace of God, within a few months we have ordained 3 new priests, we have baptized 30 poor children and have made them our brothers in Christ. We help them with emergency food assistance. We provide them with some medical treatment and we have already saved three lives. We have also agreed on the purchase of a plot of land and we are urgently looking for funds for the construction of our first parish Church dedicated to St. Nectarios, and of our Mission center of the same name, where we will be able to receive and comfort these poor children in proportion to our means.
Whoever helps with prudence and humility, accomplishes what is described in the life of Saint Anthony. We make an earnest appeal to your love for a little help so we can build together not empty walls, but our Church and our Center, the earthly paradise of Love, through which all, benefactors and those benefited, will be led through the steps of sacrifice to heaven, where, equipped with virtue, we will find all these (which we did in this life) before ourselves to be done to us:“Hospitality in the land of the meek-hearted”.
The love we give in this life will accommodate us there, in eternity.
We thank you all whole-heartedly for your love and support, especially the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, which always stands by us.
Fr. Polykarpos Diamantopoulos
Patriarchal Commissioner H. Diocese of Kisangani