Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, honorable President Mr. Charalampos Metallidis, Vice-President Mr. Nostis Psarras, other members of the board of directors and other select collaborators of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity of Thessaloniki, Rejoice in the Lord.
By the Grace of our Savior Jesus Christ, the blessings of H.D.B Theodore II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, and the love of His Grace Fotios of Malawi, I have been in Malawi for the fourth time to contribute with my poor means to the vineyard of this newly established Missionary Diocese.
There are a lot of parishes and ecclesiastical communities, even more catechists throughout the country, and the needs of the mission are constantly increasing.
We started our missionary journeys mainly to the areas we had not visited for quite some time in order to encourage the people there but also ourselves, taking from their own love for Christ and their missionary zeal. Their love was touching but our hearts ached with pity for the impending food crisis in Malawi due to climate change. Last year’s delay in the rainy season resulted in the reduction of production, so this year people have to find solutions to prevent potential famine. In all places we were asked if we could get them some cornmeal by the end of the dry season (November – December).
Despite all the difficulties and trials in the struggle for survival, the priests do not lose their zeal, so in several places we were expected to go and baptize the catechumens. Most of the catechumens are in Zomba District (200 in number), where, about eight months ago, Fr. Ezekiel started their catechism, and so we baptized the first 65 catechumens on August 13. Then, on August 27 we performed another 45 baptisms in the area of Tzew, while on the first two Saturdays of September, baptisms have been scheduled in both Zomba and Blantyre.
In the week after the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, there were some meetings with catechists in the diocesan offices in Blantyre. These meetings gave us the opportunity to learn about the problems and challenges of catechesis in the rural villages of Malawi. Our catechists are the most important collaborators of our priests and are highly respected by all the faithful. With these first small groups, we planned the next steps for the better organization of the catechesis and also for the realization of a small seminar for the catechists during the months of September and October. The catechists also asked us for new ecclesiastical as well as prayer books. Finally, they asked if we could buy them bicycles to help them move more easily from village to village since there are many places asking to learn about the Orthodox Church.
On the three days of August –from 23 to 25, we visited the parishes of the country’s capital, Lilongwe. In the parish of the Holy Trinity, there is an immediate need for the creation of a high school. There, Fr. Athanasius has already obtained the first required permits, he has found teachers, and about 130 children have expressed interest, but we need to find the financial resources to build the required classrooms, toilet facilities, a water-well and a teachers’ staffroom. For all this, we need about 20,000 euro to complete the first phase of construction. We hope that the miracle will happen and in a few months, the children will be attending lessons in their classrooms.
Once again, we make an earnest appeal to you for help and support, asking you to remember us in your prayers. We hope in God’s help and pray for the immediate response of your donor partners. Even the slightest contribution can make a difference in the life of our poor brothers in Malawi.
With the blessings of the His Grace Fotios of Malawi ,
Archimandrite Chrysanthos Papapostolou