Home Blog

Parcels of love for Ivory Coast

The Orthodox Mission in Africa always stands at the forefront. The second-in-hierarchy Patriarchate of Alexandria, wisely led by its steersman, Pope and Patriarch Theodore II, cares primarily for the spiritual ministration but also at the same time for the relief of the poor and the ailing.

Faith is interwoven with deeds. Whatever we say, any words will be poor to express the struggle and distress for this great work of the Mission that deals with human creatures seeking truth and peacefulness. Let us recall the words of Apostle James, who refers to faith and deeds:

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).

These words boost and empower all missionaries and the remarkable partners of the Mission to offer valuable time and fill their everyday lives with love, alleviating the penury of those in need. And they don’t do so, in order to collect any returns in this life, but in order for them to hear a good word in the day of Lord, when he will ask for a report of our faith and our works.

The container with much-needed goods, which was shipped by the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and blessed by His Beatitude the Patriarch himself who attended and participated in its loading during his stay in Thessaloniki, the homeland of saints, finally reached its destination. How many people will be helped during these holy days of Pascha? How many eyes will shine? How many lips will smile? How many children will taste a candy or a chocolate or will get in their hands a toy just like one of those that our children in the developed West take for granted? How many tables will be laid with Paschal viands? How many people will look at the sky and give glory to our God? How many people will show their gratitude and bless all those who offered a little or a lot out of their hearts and maybe out of their own scarcity? Indeed, we must be assured that these people who are benefited will never forget. This benefaction will be inscribed in their hearts, just like God records the names of all benefactors with golden letters in His heavenly book.

We extend our big thanks to everyone who has labored. To the Orthodox Missonary Fraternity that always stands by the Ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria and its Primate, the angel on earth and guardian of all Africans, Pope and Patriarch Theodore, who always proclaims that the future of humanity lies in the African continent. To the volunteers who participated in the collection of these essential goods and in the loading of the container, to those known and unknown who helped and donated the goods of their love. To all of you, in behalf of the pious flock of the Holy Diocese of Accra, I express a great thank you along with the paschal greeting: “Christ is Risen”.

Your brother

† Narkissos of Accra

Cross-Resurrectional Experiences

This period every year, here, on the Mission premises, the conduction of the morning and evening sacred services along with the active participation and attendance of the students of our School, creates a solemn atmosphere full of devout reverence, as chanting is rendered in the best way possible in the various local dialects of Africa.

The Salutations to the Virgin Mary, the Compline, the Presanctified Liturgies, particularly the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, all these along with the accompanying hymns, express what is most beautiful and spiritual and thus enrich the atmosphere, conveying exactly those heavenly messages that really touch our souls and arouse strong emotions which carry us to the world of eternity.

But also the Holy Week, which is dedicated to the Lord’s Passion, with the even more solemn services, was a constant reminder of the extreme humiliation and sacrifice of our Lord, Who underwent so much suffering and so many tortures before He was crucified for us, His sinful, unworthy servants.

Every year on Holy Wednesday, the Holy Unction is performed for both physical and spiritual healing. Then the blessed oil is transferred to the parishes and homes of our sick and disabled brothers, who need not only special care and regard/consideration, but also moral support. And of course, all these days were dedicated to our little children, who always await our food programs.

† Makarios of Nairobi

Theological Education and Training in Africa

I read with great interest the article of my dear friend and brother in the field of Overseas Mission Mr. Charalambos Metallides for a plea made by His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiphoros of Kinshasa for financial support to the School of Theology of Congo University.

As we are dealing with exactly the same problems, I also submit my own personal testimony and subscribe to what is said in this article because of my long ministry in the field of theological education on the continent of Africa.

Perhaps in our own field there is a different view according to which some people think that it is not possible for us here in this vast continent to convey unchanged the theological knowledge of the Eastern Orthodox Church and provide appropriate training. They have the impression that there might not be properly trained Orthodox professors who can convey the authentic and genuine tradition of Orthodoxy.

As for several decades I have been in charge of this theological project of establishing Orthodox academic education and training, I strongly believe that as long as we have seminaries within the African continent, it is better to educate and train future clergymen here. Thus, we are in need of financial support and assistance in order to be able to fulfill this important theological project. We have qualified professors, the premises required with a library, classrooms, dormitories, refectory, offices and above all, a holy church. Naturally, for the proper operation of our seminaries, there are other functional needs as well, such as building maintenance, staff salaries, the students’ daily food – morning, noon and evening, car transportation and maintenance costs, water and electricity bills.

All this and many other things are useful and necessary to enable us to give the right theological training and direction to the “laborers of our Gospel”, clergy or lay people, so that we can fully fulfill the destination for which our theological schools were prepared and built with a lot of sacrifices and dedicated labor. We believe that we have already stressed it, but we are once again saying that it is important that we give our candidates a chance here, in their own place, in their own environment.

The daily schedule is strict and carefully planned and organized on a spiritual basis with morning and evening services as well as Compline, Matins and Vespers. Thus, the person to be ordained is already gaining substantial experience which will help him significantly in his clerical ministry as a priest, teacher or catechist.

That is why I am making an earnest appeal to all those who love and support the work of our Church on the continent of Africa to give priority to the field of theological training and education. We urgently need your support and assistance to communicate through proper theological training the message of the Gospel and Orthodoxy as well as the ethos and beauty of our holy monasteries and the devout reverence of our liturgical services. We struggle to achieve our goal working tirelessly every day so that we can see our future priests receive in their own place education and training, which relies on a strictly cenobitic program, since everything is common – accommodation, courses, classes, holy services, meals and others: a truly spiritual state.

† Makarios of Nairobi

New Missionary Overtures in Indonesia

Dear friends of Mission,
Christ is Risen!

With God’s help we are in good health. I would like to update you on the work of our Orthodox Mission here in distant Indonesia.

From February 25, 2018 to March 1, 2019, I was invited by some communities to visit them as they want to learn about the Orthodox Faith. I stayed there for a few days and had the chance to talk with them. Finally, they decided to embrace our faith, and asked us to visit them regularly to the extent possible. This region consists of some villages and is not difficult to reach due to its access to the national road network. Their capital is called Pakkat. Pakkat is a small town, largely inhabited by Muslims, Roman-Catholics and Protestants.

People there live mainly by agriculture- they cultivate various types of incense, coffee, rice and corn- and by logging. Life there is quiet and clean. There are forests around, so the air is very clean and oxygen-rich. Also, the big river that flows nearby creates beautiful sounds, which raise our hearts and minds to our Almighty God. Near this river, a family called Mangatur Sibagariang offered us a plot of land to build a church and worship the God of our Orthodox Faith in there.

My brethren, we accepted this offering and we began to choose the Council members to start this God-pleasing project. It is near the river, so the basic building materials such as sand and stones can be obtained from there. From the nearby forests we could get the wood supply we need for doors and window frames. Naturally, my brethren, we have a big dream: to realize this great project of building a church in this region within the year 2019. The estimated construction cost comes to 30,000 euro. It would be a great relief for us if you could help us.

With God’s help, in our Mission Center in the city of Medan we have Fr. Theodosius Niwen, who I was preparing for the priesthood for years, and who has now become a priest. This enables me to start spreading our missionary activity. Now in a city in Sumatra called Pekanbaru we have begun to establish a new parish community. This happened a year ago. We have a few faithful there, but we have no proper gathering place, so it would be very good if we could have a permanent home. The members of our community find it difficult to change place constantly from one house to another. So, in my opinion, the best thing to do is to rent a house which will be used for our gatherings, as the Mission office and for my own accommodation when I visit them and I need to stay somewhere for a few days. I asked the people there and I was told that renting a house for 2 years will cost 1,500 euro. I am making an appeal to your kind heart for support on this matter as well.

Fr. Chrysostomos Manalu

The Haitian Mission

Dear Friends of Mission,

We hereby express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your keen interest in our missionary work. Your recent donation to our Church for the Orthodox ministry which we do here in Haiti was really valuable.

Your assistance greatly enhances our missionary work in Haiti and is definitely imperative to our existence in my home country, since after the Duvalier regime, its long-lasting economic and socio-political crisis has had a serious impact on all the fields of national life. A large number of agricultural products are not cultivated for the population, thus resulting in the economic disorientation of the country, the control of the market from foreign products at the expense of our scanty local production, the occasional loss in value of our national currency which almost led to its replacement by the US dollar, the migration of peasants to the capital in search of a better life, the environment is deforested, either for arbitrary building or for charcoal production for domestic cooking, corruption spreads through all social strata, drugs kill our youth, while violence in our neighborhoods and young people’s immorality are skyrocketing.

My brethren, I have mentioned all this so that you can also get an idea of how important the presence of our Mission in Haiti is, both spiritually and socially. Here, in this corner of our humble Holy Metropolis, His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico and Central America has been covering for many years all the expenses of our elementary school in the parish of St. John the Baptist in Petion Ville, a school which provides not only education but also hope to hundreds of poor children.

Our work is not easy, but by the Grace of God we have a great Spiritual Shepherd, who is always by our side. We love and respect him and we are grateful that on his initiative and with his blessing before he ordained me, he brought me straight into your hands in Greece, where I received theological education. There, I had another blessing: to be under the paternal presence of His Grace Archbishop Eugene of Crete, who, since then, has been immensely supportive to the Mission and to my unworthiness, and to whom I am deeply grateful. I thank God for all His great blessings, particularly for making me “a fisher of men”, like the Apostles, to convey the Orthodox Faith and the message of the gospel to the people of my native country Haiti, which is in great need.

By His Grace in our Parish of Sts. George and Nectarios in Pelerin, my native village, we are continuing for the second year with a catechetical project with my home as its base, where gather some people who are slowly converting to Orthodoxy. In addition to that, we have already made the necessary preparations for the construction of an orphanage, and with God’s help, we will take a public place for the future of this project. God willing, it is estimated that we will receive 24 children at the beginning of the summer. We need to make arrangements for the rooms, the kitchen and the living room for the little children to assemble in order to take care of them in a spiritual place. This, of course, will only be realized if God answers our prayers.

Although we are aware of the long- standing crisis in our beloved Greece, we are making an appeal to your kind heart, hoping for your charity and support to our Holy Metropolis and praying that our Lord Jesus Christ blesses your life and your works, gives you strength and courage for every single work that you help with your contribution to the glory of God and of the Holy Orthodoxy.

With humble feelings,
Father Paul Petit-Homme
Prelatic Commisioner inHaiti

Christ in Oceania

Dear Friends of Mission,

In all the places I visit during my inspection tour, I am astonished by the fruits of the labour of my predecessor, currently His Eminence Metropolitan Amphilochios of Ganos and Chora.

As I understand, the contribution of your magazine was significant. The love offerings of your readers gave a lot of support to Elder Amphilochios’s missionary vision and became the necessary means for its realization. We thank you wholeheartedly and pray that the Most Merciful God and Giver of all good gifts will continue to give you His abundant blessings and the awareness of His Truth, so that through you as well His presence on earth will spread and grow.

On Saturday, January 26, 2019, the baptism of the first Maori family took place in Raglan, Hamilton, New Zealand. Peter, Maria and their 4 children joined the Church after a long catechism by our good priest fr. Georgios Kanellis. Please, pray for their stability and progress.

In the Kingdom of Tonga, where the majestic St. George’s Church is being erected, two Greek technicians came for 4 months (from February 2018 to June 2018), and with the help of the local people, the building work progressed effectively. About 70% of the church’s coatings, including the dome, were completed. Since then, as a result of weather conditions, mainly maintenance work has been carried out. Our plan is to visit the island in the early days of March to have a better understanding of the conditions there, and at the same time, we are in contact with the technicians in order to plan the future course of the construction work of this project.

Saint George Orthodox church in Tonga

From April 4 till April 10, I visited Tonga along with Fr. Meletios and Fr. Pauul, in order to file some paperwork for the legal incorporation and representation of the Orthodox Church in the country. We met with almost all Orthodox baptized and catechumens, we coducted the fourth service of the Salutations to the Theotokos and the Divine Liturgy of the fourth Sunday of the Great Lent.

Most usually, the locals have a rather portly physique, with brown skin, a big smile on their faces and honest heart. They are benevolent and positive. We encountered many locals, still there was no one who said anything negative or expressed any objections. They are always good-spirited and willing to help. They seem to be very interested in the spiritual life, capable of understanding high notions and ready to ask vital spiritual questions.

The condition of Saint George Church is shown in the picture below. 100,000 more euros are neededed, so that Orthodox Tongas can acquire their own church.

Praying and loving in Christ.
† Myron of New Zealand

Fr. Nicodemus Sarikas Mission Center

By the grace of God and with the wishes of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II, His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrius of Irinoupolis begins the construction of another Mission Center, the third in Tanzania after Iringa in Central Tanzania and Morogoro in Eastern Tanzania.

At the large site of the Holy Metropolis of Irinoupolis, on the main street of the capital city Dar es Salaam where the historic Metropolitan Church of Agia Paraskevi is located, large crowds of people among whom native priests, members of the Greek Community, readers and many Greek and indigenous believers and catechumens, started arriving since early Thursday morning, in order to welcome their Patriarch.

After the end of the consecration and foundation services, Patriarch Theodore referred to the first Missionary of Tanzania, Archimandrite Nicodemus Sarikas, who catechized and baptized the first indigenous Orthodox Tanzanians almost 80 years ago!

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this joyful resurrection period we would like to invite you to pray, as you have been doing for 27 years now, for every missionary effort of His Eminence Demetrius, but at the same time we would like to request something, which you have also been doing for so many years: to stand by him in this new effort for the creation of the first Mission Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which will cost around €25,000.

From the Holy Diocese

The Patriarch of Alexandria in Central Tanzania

From 15 to 22 May 2019, we had the great joy and blessing of being visited by His Beatitude Theodore II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, in our Missionary Diocese of Arusha and Central Tanzania, particularly in Iringa Region, which is situated on a huge plateau at an altitude of 2,000 m. It is the second visit of our Patriarch to this area since 2007. A great reception was reserved for the Venerable Spiritual Father by crowds of faithful from the surrounding areas at the Diocesan Mission Center in Kidamali, Iringa.

On Thursday, May 16th, His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, visited the Nambanga Region in the southern part of the country near the border with Zambia, where he performed the consecration of the Church dedicated to Sts. Paisios of Mt. Athos and Luke the Physician in Massage village, and conducted the blessing service for the new borehole of the area. Both projects are being funded by donors of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity.

The next day, May 17th, His Beatitude along with his entourage went to Ingagidungu village, in the highlands of the hinterland of central Tanzania, in a permanently wonderful setting, where the beauty of nature meets with the peaceful and industrious natives. There, he performed the sanctification service for the blessing of the gates of the Church of the Transfiguration and St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia, which was funded by donors of your Fraternity.

In the afternoon of the same day, the Alexandrian Primate went to Ipoasi, the primitive village of the Maasai, which is purely Orthodox, and in which the whole of the village welcomed him with local dances and songs. Here His Beatitude blessed the borehole that our Church drilled in the center of the village. Fortunately, its water meets the needs of these poor people, who live in a particularly harsh environment, depended entirely on their livestock. It is one of the few areas of our planet that remains unaffected by the so called «cultural progress», and where one can indeed admire and enjoy the uniqueness of nature and the innocence and purity of these people.

On Saturday, May 18th, our Patriarch, accompanied by Their Graces Bishops Sylvester of Gulu and Fotios of Malawi, performed mass baptisms of 350 natives at Kindamali Mission Center. Immediately following the touching rite of baptism, His Beatitude held an assembly of the Diocesan Clergy, addressing admonitions and counsels and encouraging the clerics to continue their priestly ministry with enthusiasm.

On the Sunday of the Paralytic, May 19th, His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa celebrated the Matins service and presided over the Divine Liturgy, at the Church of Our Lady of Kykkos and St. George in Kindamali, with the support of Their Graces Gulu, Malawi and Arusha. During the D.L., he ordained to the order of Deacon Mr. Anastasios Kiyonga, a 32-year-old married man and a father of two, graduate of the Nairobi Theological Seminary and of the Tabora School of Philosophy. Prior to the dismissal, His Beatitude awarded the office of Archimandrite to Priestmonk Marco Rutakiamirwa, graduate of the Dodoma University School of Philosophy and specialized in Linguistics. Both clerics are members of the Translation Group of Arusha Diocese.

After the dismissal, all those present in a solemn procession headed by His Beatitude and accompanied by all the local officials and rulers of Iringa Region, went to the forecourt of the adjoining «St. Nicholas» Clinic, where its inauguration ceremony took place. This clinic is a donation of the Holy Metropolis of Nea Krini and Kalamaria.

On Monday May 20th, His Beatitude visited Imbogo village, where he consecrated the Church of St. John the Theologian and conducted the blessing service of the adjacent borehole, both projects which adorn the region and were funded by donors of your Fraternity.

I would like to express my brotherly love and wholehearted gratitude to your Board President Mr. Charalambos Metallides, to Mr. Nostis Psarras, as well as to all the members of your Fraternity for your fervent support to my humble ministry in the Diocese of Arusha, because for us you are great benefactors. May the Good Lord bless you all.

With love in Christ
† Agathonikos of Arusha

How Beautiful Are the Feet of Them That Preach the Gospel of Peace!

Your Beatitude, Pope and Patriarch of the Ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II, it is with great pleasure, honor and respect that we welcome you, our Father and Patriarch, carrier and leader of the earliest Christian Church in the land of Africa, the Orthodox Church, whose founder is the Apostle and Evangelist Mark and which dates back to 60 AD.

However, Venerable Father, the value of the Orthodox Church is estimated not only by its antiquity but also by its ability as the true Body of Christ to take flesh at every moment of human history, in every place and every language, for every human being who is thirsty to know the sacred truth, the Savior Jesus Christ.

You came near us, our Father, the Patriarch of Love, the experienced Missionary, in order to strengthen us, to give us your blessing, to advise us on our course of life, to share with us your love that overflows in every direction, to wipe out the tears of the orphaned children of Africa, to give us a little light from the light of your face, for this is what you do. You do not exercise your authority from the comfort of your own office, but you are always on the move, like the thirteenth of the Apostles, running throughout Africa to bring joy, peace, love, courage, to open schools, build health clinics, establish churches and preach the word of the Gospel, which becomes bread for the hungry, water for the thirsty, an open embrace for the desperate and tired contemporary man.

Your Beatitude, when, I came to Tanzania 15 years ago, a Roman Catholic Abbess welcomed me telling me that in this country there was peace! Indeed, Holy Father, after so many years of humble ministry here, I can assure you that the people of Tanzania are very peaceful, perhaps the most peaceful of Africa, living in a land where everyone with love and respect can worship the God they believe in, without fanaticism or bigotry, without conflicts or hatred; for making wars in the name of God and religion is the most absurd thing to do on earth!

As our beloved Saint St. Nektarios of Pentapolis says, «meekness, religious tolerance and purity of manners, are the qualities possessed by the true Christian.»

So, please, Holy Father, allow me, besides Your Beatitude, to thank wholeheartedly all those who came with us today to welcome you, honor with their presence our Distinguished Visitor, and affirm once again that wherever there is unity and peace, there is love, which is our God, the God we worship. Venerable Pope and Patriarch, may the Lord give you many blessed and joyous years! Amen!

† Agathonikos of Arusha

Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria lays the foundation stone for the new church of Saints Luke & Paisios, which is to be constructed funded by our Fraternity.

Read the new “Orthodox Mission” issue online

The Orthodox Mission June 2019 issue is now available online with news and reports from 13 missionary regions from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Central America.

  • Whom did Patriarch Theodore meet in Tanzania?
  • How many orphans does the Orthodox Mission in Haiti take care of?
  • What are the new opportunities for spreading our faith in Indonesia?
  • What are the new bishop of Gulu’s impressions from his first months in Northern Tanzania?

Find out these and many more in the issue at hand. Dive in!