Our Mission in Sierra Leone

The Mission in Sierra Leone was founded in December 2007, after His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore II gave his blessing to the then Archimandrite Fr. Themistocles Adamopoulos to minister to a nation in pain, the much suffering nation of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone had never seen Orthodoxy before. That was the first attempt to evangelize and bring Orthodoxy into that region of West Africa. Mission there began with the help of Greek missionary brotherhoods, the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and St. Cosmas of Aetolia.

In the beginning, we tried to get suitable plots of land in Freetown, the country’s capital city. We also managed to find a school that was already built; this, along with the establishment of another school in Waterloo, made Mission expand on the youth. Also, with the help of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, we established little homes for children as well as for young people who were either war victims and had lost an arm or a leg, or had polio. With these little houses we managed to accommodate several people with functional disabilities on this plot. There, the disabled were given food, clothing and money. We did everything in our power to help them have a more decent life.

Over time, however, we started implementing other projects too. Church building was our first priority: St. Eleftherios Cathedral, located in the center of the capital city, was funded by the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity. Another Church, dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helen, was built in the city center of Tower Hill. In Waterloo, a contemporary two-storey building was erected, operating as a modern primary and nursery school. The purpose is to help the children by providing them with the tool of education, and at the same time by bringing them close to Orthodoxy, baptizing and catechizing them so that they can get to know this new for Sierra Leone religion.

The Mission does not ask for tuition fees, everything is free of charge; we even provide food to the extent possible. The only thing we ask from parents is to send their children to Church every day. This way, we have 500-600 children in the school Church on a daily basis. The children are undoubtedly the future of Orthodoxy in the land of Sierra Leone.

Over time, we noticed other needs that the country has and we decided to establish two health clinics offering free medical services with a doctor and several nurses and free medicines that we have in store. For more serious cases, we try to send patients into a big hospital and we undertake paying the hospitalization costs.

In addition, we have established a training college so that we can prepare teachers for our schools, our kindergartens and other schools and help the indigenous people find a job. There, the teaching staff along with the principal are doing a wonderful job. The principal is my sister Mary Adamopoulos, who got extensive educational experience in Australia.

Moreover, we have established two orphanages, one for boys and one for girls. In these orphanages, the children are provided with a meal three times a day. Needless to say, we have undertaken all the children’s expenses: schooling, clothing, footwear and anything else they need. There, we have women working 24 hours a day looking after the children and others sweeping, cooking and taking care of the place.

Furthermore, about four years ago, we founded a two-storey school in one of the poorest places on our planet, Kroo bay. Kroo bay is a place in Freetown where there are no toilet facilities; it’s a slam ghetto of 25,000 people without basic sanitation, without water. Very few houses have access to electricity. The whole area is in the dirt because when it rains, all the capital’s trash falls there. The living conditions over there are the worst I have ever seen in my life. 1 in 5 children in Kroo bay dies before the age of 5.

It is there that we have built the school of the Annunciation of the Theotokos. When the children first walked in and saw the school, they were jumping for joy, unable to believe that someone was giving them this opportunity. It goes without saying that everything is free. There is also a priest who performs the Matins and the Vespers services every day. This is the place where we want to erect a church building. Currently, we are using a large school hall.

Orthodoxy in Sierra Leone is 16 years old, and it is still growing. Now we have 7 priests and 2 deacons. We perform baptisms regularly and try to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ despite the difficulties that exist or arise.

Themistocles of Nicopolis

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