To those near and far

Dear friends of the Mission,

My beloved brothers,

As it is often said, our Church life in the Mission, especially in Africa, brings memories of the first apostolic years of Church life. Although times and means have changed in the modern age we live in, the zeal and thirst of the people of Africa reminds us of the first pure years of the Apostolic Church. The most moving of all is when people approach us to invite us to their regions to talk to them about our Holy Church. We are particularly touched by this fact because one can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the course of the Church in Africa; this is so because without seeking conversion, with the simple presence of our Church and its rich liturgical life, new communities in the areas of our missionary activity are attracted as if by a strong magnet.

It is with great emotion that we report to you two recent examples, which, by the Grace of God, we have experienced during the last year. The first one concerns the Iringa Region, the location of the Missionary Center of our Church, which has been operating there for over twenty years. More than forty Churches, schools and clinics have already been built, while always with the help of your Fraternity, more than fifteen boreholes have been drilled, from which dozens of villages in the arid region of Iringa receive clean water.

This year, we were visited by three groups of people from Beja, Makambako and Jobe, 3 areas that are more than four hundred kilometers away from Iringa, in order to invite us to go and catechize them so that they can be baptized Orthodox. Thus, by the Grace of God and with the blessings of His Beatitude our Patriarch Theodore II, we have bought two plots of land, where we intend to build two Churches for the new parish communities that God has given us, hoping for your love and support.

The second event concerns Singida Region, a place located five hundred kilometers away from Arusha, to the west of Tanzania. It was from there that we were visited in Arusha by a group of thirty people who asked us to go and catechize them. And indeed, we visited them, we performed an outdoor Divine Liturgy for the first time in their area and we catechized them. Recently, we have bought a plot of land, where we have started the construction of the Holy Church in honor of Saint Nektarios. It is amazing how God opens new doors in Africa where no one expects it, regardless of human schedules or plans.

Holy Church of the Holy Trinity, donated from Serres through our Brotherhood

Even for the staffing of this work, God Himself raises up workers. Thus, by His grace, during this year four promising young men came to the bosom of our Holy Church and were ordained into Priesthood. The wonderful thing about these young people is their obedience to the Bishop, because when they were asked before their ordination if they accepted to serve wherever the Church sent them, even in remote areas, they enthusiastically replied that they would obey their Bishop.

Finally, it is with great joy that we want to inform you about the realization of a great vision of ours, which we have been awaiting for a long time. At the beginning of August, with the blessing of our Patriarch, we started the reconstruction of the Holy Church of the Virgin Mary in Arusha. The work has already begun, and we hope that with your assistance, the exterior of the beauteous church will soon become clear.

My beloved brothers, the Grace of God runs ahead of all of us and draws new lines for the progress of the Mission work. Our role is that of simple workers who should follow the course that the Lord of the vineyard indicates, surrendering to His providence and hoping for your love, which has been constant since our first missionary steps. May the Almighty God grant you health and every blessing!

† Agathonikos of Arusha

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