A jewel in the heart of Africa which testifies to the 50-year-old presence of the Orthodox Church is the Church of Saint Catherine in Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A church, whose construction began 10 years ago under the supervision and tireless work of Missionary Father Kyrillos Grigoriatis, and with the blessings of the Most Reverend Metropolitan Meletios of Katanga.
This effort of Father Kyrillos, which is slowly reaching accomplishment, will be able to meet the worship needs of our Christians. The Church of St. Catherine is being built with great care, and this can be seen from the materials used. The Saint Catherine Parish is the third parish in the city of Lubumbashi. As we know, this city is the co-capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has a population of 6,000,000 inhabitants.
It is important that we set great store by the construction of a church in a city that is populated by various African tribes, Indians, Lebanese, Chinese, Greeks, and many others…
Naturally, all this cultural mosaic of nationalities leads to a diversity of religions and Christian denominations. Therefore, one can easily realize that the construction of an Orthodox Church must give a good outward testimony of faith to the other people.
When comparing a beauteous Orthodox Church with other religious buildings, such as Protestant Halls or Muslim Mosques, one cannot help noticing its outward magnificence as well as the impression it makes to the people looking at it, and one can easily realize the path of man towards the end and the testimony of the Words of the Lord, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; ” (Matthew 28:19-20).
As we mentioned above, the presence of the Orthodox Church in the Holy Metropolis of Katanga and throughout the Congo, where the groundwork was laid by martyred Missionaries, such as Fr. Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos, former Metropolitan Amphilochios Tsoukos of Ghanos and Chora, along with all those continuing this martyred Missionary march, like His Eminence Metropolitan Meletios of Katanga, The Very Reverend Abbot Archim. Varnavas Grigoriatis, Fr. Kyrillos Grigoriatis and others, marks a new course that will be based on its 50-year-old foundation.
For this reason, it is very important and very encouraging in times of great turmoil worldwide that the Church of Saint Catherine be completed. Currently, the worship needs of the faithful are met inside a schoolroom, which is very difficult on many levels
At this point, we should mention that a school is housed in the parish premises. The Orthodox Missionary Fraternity funded the construction of 2 classrooms for the students’ accommodation.
In conclusion, we would like to ask you to strengthen this great effort that Father Kyrillos is making with his partners so that the Church can be completed inside. The total amount for the interior church completion comes to $10,000.
We would like to thank wholeheartedly the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity as well as all of you from Greece and from other parts of the world who, with your contribution either from your surplus or out of your shortage, have become supporters in this missionary effort of the Holy Metropolis of Katanga all these years. We hope for the love, help and philanthropic feelings of you, who always respond to every call of ours in the best way. May the Lord bless you all.
† Cosmas of Constantiane