The first church in Eastern Congo

“O Lord, support Your Holy Church, which You have purchased with Your most precious blood”.

Each one of us could agree that the foundation of a Sacred Church is a universal event. This is so because every Sacred Church is to become the center of the Church gatherings especially of those future Eucharistic congregations, which according to their eschatological interpretation constitute the experience of the future blessedness, while according to their ontological essence they constitute the assembly of the faithful round the Great High Priest, who actually stands in the middle of the Sacred Church, and is represented by his legal representative, that is, the respective Bishop. Thus the Holy Eucharist automatically expresses the Synodality of the Church, since it contains the complete Truth, Christ Himself. In simple words, the Synod within the Sacred Church is not a local, but a global Synod and thus the local Church is not a part of the ecumenical one, as Roman Catholic ecclesiology falsely claims, but a complete Church.

We also want to stress the fact that each minister is the vessel through which the Great High Priest channels His Grace in all the Sacraments. So the course of the work is prescribed as being acted upon by God and not by man.

As you can understand, we are writing all this to try to describe, even to a minimum, the magnitude of an event like the Foundation of a Sacred Church. Even more so when it comes to the first parish Church in a place that is only now getting to know Orthodoxy and the effort to establish and consolidate it.

On the 23rd of October we laid the foundation stone of the first Parish Church of our Diocese, since until now we have supported and served the local Sacred Churches of the Greek Communities, which we currently have in Kisangani, Bunia and Iziro. Our Orthodoxy took its first big step and did its first official Missionary act, founding the Sacred Church of Saints Anne and Nectarios in Kisangani, part of our Mission Center, which we hope with the help of all of you will soon become a reality.

As I have said many times, our intentions include the systematization of our charitable action, for which unfortunately there is currently no infrastructure. We want to distribute some food to needy children who roam the city streets and we don’t have a table and a shed to offer to them. We want to take care, possibly for a few days, of some sick children and we don’t have a bed to let them lie in even for a few hours. And a Missionary Diocese which ignores the human suffering next to it, obviously does not fully meet its purpose.

Our main intention is to build our Sacred Church first, which will become the stronghold of prayer and worship for our region. And this is something that everyone who has been a little involved in the Mission here experiences, when, for example, he sees the native African standing reverently before the holy icons for a few seconds or minutes, silent, with bowed head and closed eyes, and praying before his lips touch reverently the image of Christ or of our Saints.

Then each one could spontaneously say:

“The firmness of those who trust in You, O Lord, Support Your Holy Church, which You have purchased with Your most precious blood”. I say so because every tear of the African brother that falls in front of our holy icons at that moment, inside our churches, counts for us, like a drop of blood of our Christ that falls on this suffering earth, to ease its pain and to comfort our agony.

Once again, I would like to thank wholeheartedly all our brothers in the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, who, from our special homeland, the holy city of Thessaloniki, support our struggle and anguish, so that with the blessings of His Beatitude our Patriarch Theodoros II and your kind contribution, have reached the point of starting the erection of our Sacred Church at this moment. This is a god-pleasing work which will be completed thanks to your financial support. May St. Anne and St. Nectarios bless all of you who become founders of their first Church, here in our Diocese of Eastern Congo. Closing my briefing, I would like to make an appeal to your kind heart for spiritual help through your prayers. Least among brothers,

Fr. Polykarpos Diamantopoulos 

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