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orthodox mission

Founded in 1963 Honored by the Patriarchate of Alexandria #20 April-June 2017 Editor: Nostis Psarras Ss. Missionaries Cyril and Methodius

In this issue 04 A Holy memorial 06 Pacific Islands 11 Central America 12 Indonesia 15 India 16 Kenya - Nairobi 19 Congo (DRC) - Kinshasa 20 Madagascar 23 Uganda 26 Cameroon 30 Tanzania - Dar Es Salaam 31 Tanzania - Arusha 35 Congo Brazzaville 38 Kenya - Nyeri 40 Little Boissaki 43 Cleopatra Choreftaki You can give your love for the Orthodox Missions abroad via Paypal at, by check or by deposit in our bank account:

ALPHA BANK • ΙΒΑΝ: GR93 0140 4050 4050 0200 2000 170 • BIC: CRBAGRAA Other bank accounts: An ofiicial receipt for your donation will be issued and mailed to you.

Authors are responsible for their own articles. Owner:

Orthodox Missionary Fraternity

6, Mackenzie King st., Hagia Sophia sq. GR546 22 THESSALONIKI

2310 279910 fax. 2310 279902 communications Registered Charitable Association Aim: Moral and material support for the worldwide Eastern Orthodox Missions Spiritual founder:  Archimandrite Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos Founder

:  Pantelis Bayas

Great Benefactor :  P. Papademetracopoulos

Board of Directors Demetrios Sotirkos Chairman

Nostis Psarras Vice chairman Angeliki Arnaouti Secretary General Charalampos Metallides Τreasurer Constantinos Metallides Secretary Assistant Evangelia Traicoudes Treasurer Assistant Constantinos Caracolis Member Panagiotis Anastasiades Member

Nicoleta Modiotou


A Touch of Morning Hope! A Touch of Sprouting Life! A Touch of Paschal Expectations! A Missionary’s hand. ORTHODOX MISSIONARY FRATERNITY Serving your social sensitivity since 1963

Cleopatra Horeftaki’s Holy Memorial [‌] The late mother Cleopatra was born in Sokia, Asia Minor, and came along with her parents as a refugee child to Daphnon, Xanthi. There she grew up being the only daughter among six siblings. Her unique beauty made her a sought-after bride. The most prominent man in the region, Police Officer Michael Choreftakis, was unable to resist that beauty and rushed immediately to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Her husband’s transfer led young newly-wedded Cleopatra to traditional Crete. There shone out her values, qualities and virtues, such as goodness, gentleness, humility, love, generosity, patience. All these along with her 4

prayers empowered her to set up her new household. However, never did she forget Xanthi. Every summer, she would visit her family home with her children, Nicholas and Roula. She was such a good mother that she conveyed all her values to both of them. Reminiscing about those days, her brother Paul remembers little Nicholas. Whenever his uncles gave him some pocket money to buy sweets and candy, he would rush to the village bakery instead of the grocery and buy a loaf of bread, which he would give to poor Mrs. Bardicas with lots of love and joy. Such were the values she nurtured in her children. Unfortunately, fate bereft her of her life partner too soon. Her underage children were deprived of their father, but our good God granted them a blessed mother, who stood by them more than a father. Even though she was widowed young, she was able to compensate for the father’s absence in such a worthy way that her children did not feel the pain of orphanhood, just as Saint Anthousa and other great women of history did. […] I always recall to my mind the beautiful stories you have told meeducational stories not only for me but also for the whole world, the real book of life. Narrations which the future historian will use to adorn his own work and write down the modern history of our Patriarchate. Narrations about how mother Cleopatra’s strived to provide you with the best possible education and open up new horizons for you through her own privation and personal struggles. Stories that depict the life and struggle of a heroic Greek mother. But you also came out to be worthy children of such a remarkable mother and proved that you deserved all her love and sacrifices. […] All of us, but mostly you and your sister by birth, will remember the image of smiling mother Cleopatra with her firm faith, her wise counsel, her love and above all her blessing, which we will keep as a precious amulet until the day we meet her in Heaven. And every time you commemorate her holy name in the Holy of Holies, mother Cleopatra will be alive and her name will be holy, because she gave the Church with all her heart and mind a fruit worthy of her virtues. May the memory of Cleopatra Horeftaki, George’s wife and our mother and grandmother, be eternal.

Excerpt from a speech of HE Metropolitan George of Guinea 5


I am with you always, to the end of the age... After the admirable interventions of the Lord in the Missionary effort in Tonga with the erection of the chapel of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the house of the missionaries and the majestic Sacred Church of Saint George the Trophy-Bearer, whose construction is about to end in a month, came Samoa’s turn. Samoa is a beautiful island state, bathed in green and adorned with the smiles of its noble and hospitable inhabitants. On our previous visit, we met with the simple-hearted priest Pepe. At our present meeting we saw him sad and helpless, unable to walk due to an unknown disease in his feet.


This meant that all our plans for the beginning of Orthodoxy there were doomed to fail. But above Fr. Pepe and every human factor is our Lord, who sent out His Apostles, and now sends His humble workers like us to preach the Gospel by saying, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age... Be sure I shall be close to your every need and difficulty forever. ” We made the sign of the cross on Pepe’s foot with the piece of the Tree of Life that our brother Savvas from the Holy Mountain has, with the relic of St. Barnabas the Apostle, the icons of the Theotokos, of Saint John the Theologian and Evangelist and of other saints, chanting their

troparia. The next day, Pepe came again telling us that he was not in pain anymore and descended the stairs of the courtyard running. It was a miracle that impressed him and brought him closer to true faith, the Orthodox Faith. This was the first intervention of our resurrected Savior in the missionary events of Samoa. Despite our anxiety for the unknown horizon ahead, our hearts were at peace as this incident gave us faith and courage to look for a suitable piece of land on which to build a church dedicated to the Lord’s Beloved Disciple. We considered changing

hotel so as to be closer to the sea for reasons of wellness and health. There we met with a couple from Australia. The man was Samoan and his wife of Greek origin from her mother’s side. We trusted them with our problem of not having a plot in which to build the church. Being faithful Orthodox Christians and virtuous people, they told us, «We have some savings from the money we have earned over a twenty- year period now in order to buy a plot and build a home whenever we can. Now, once we buy the plot, we will offer it to you in the form of a loan so that you can build the church for us, the Orthodox Christians here.


They had a lawyer speak to the owner, who gave them the plot for a hundred and twenty thousand Samoan dollars, an amount that was inaccessible to us. So with the money we have, around fifty thousand, we hope we can build the church. This is the second clear manifestation of our Lord’s presence; our sweet Lord, Who wants all people to be saved and become part of the flock of His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Praise be to His glorious name and to the name of His Holy Apostle John the Theologian, who is always close to us. This is something that I


realized this time too, as on the first night that we came to Samoa in my dream I was transferred to Patmos, close to Elder Amphilochios, who highly revered and loved the Lord’s Beloved Student. Mission often has bitter and distressing moments, but it also has such blessings and joys that can only be characterized as celestial. And it is these special moments that give the courage to the Missionaries to persevere and win with the help of the Master of Salvation and Defeater of Death, our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, honor and adoration forever and ever. Amen. †Amphilochios of New Zealand

Saint George church being under construction

Anthem Of Orthodoxy Orthodoxy: Holy Faith True faith of our Christ Orthodoxy: Sweet Hope The Only Hope of our age. His time has come. All Friends, Disciples of our Jesus Go to all nations. It is the imperative of our time. You are awaited by tribes and languages with love, joy and anticipation. Go everywhere and preach Christ and Orthodoxy.

Forty-four years ago I was humbly ministering by the grace of God to the Orthodox Mission in Zaire, now Congo, in Central Africa. One person from our missionary team sang with the children of the catechetical circle some Christian songs originated from the Roman Catholic site. It is not, I said, correct for us the Orthodox to sing these songs. I asked God for help and I

composed this hymn which is short but has deep meanings. In the first stanza the word “Orthodoxy� is mentioned. This word contains the true faith that Christ gave us through the holy Apostles and the holy Fathers and which we are called as Missionaries to teach and transmit to those who ignore it. It is the true faith that has been established through 9

the decrees and resolutions of the ecumenical councils and local assemblies and the writings of the Holy Fathers. It is the sweet and unique hope in the difficult times of mankind. Christ told His Apostles and tells all of us who follow in their footsteps to go to all nations and invite those who will believe in the baptism of Orthodoxy. Just one glance at the world makes us believe that the countries are white already to harvest. Many people who ignorantly followed the path of the heresies, are fascinated once they get to know Orthodoxy and come to receive true baptism unreservedly. «Why did you take so late to come?» They tell us. And


we answer them that the Turkish yoke was so heavy that the only thing we could do for four hundred years was to fight in order to avoid Islamization and stand on our feet as Orthodox Christians. “Friends disciples of our Christ, you are awaited by tribes and languages with true love and joy and with the firm belief that True Heaven lies with Orthodoxy. White and black, yellow and red-skinned, they are all children of true God and are entitled to salvation in Christ. Therefore, go and disseminate faith in Jesus Christ and Orthodoxy to everyone whose soul thirsts for God. Amen. †Amphilochios of New Zealand

Vespers with His Eminece Amphilochios


The First Guatemalan Cathedral Dear Friends of the Mission, The Holy Metropolis of Mexico continues its God-pleasing Missionary work in the countries of Latin America. This time, we had the formal opening of the first Cathedral of the country, which was held in Aguacate, Guatemala, organized by Father Damianos, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Mexico. Thousands of Mayan Indians welcomed Archbishop Athenagoras with the Holy Relics of the Martyrs with tears in their eyes. The most touching thing, though, was that they sang in Greek the Paschal hymn “Christ is Risen” and the hymns in praise of Patriarch Bartholomew’s and Archbishop Athenagoras’ fame. The poem you sent to Archimandrite Damianos was read

in Spanish during the ceremony. With a lot of love for Orthodoxy in the spirit of Easter, our Metropolitan embraced as a loving father this people of God, and continues his great work under the cover of the Risen Christ and the Virgin of the Annunciation, to whom the church was dedicated. Evangelism for the Mayas that are receiving the true light of the Resurrection! Worthy of congratulations are Father Evangelos, the church priest, and all the Indian priests of Guatemala. We would like to thank all those who honored us with their presence at the opening ceremony of the first Guatemalan Cathedral as well as the representative of the Patriarchate. From the Holy Metropolis 11


Help the Light of Orthodoxy Reach East Timor Dear Friends of the Mission, With the help of God we are doing well here in Indonesia. I hope you are all in good health under His protection. I would like to mention a few things about our Orthodox Mission here in Sumatra, Indonesia. We enjoyed the joyful celebration of the Holy Week until Easter in all our parish communities here in Sumatra, Indonesia. From Palm Sunday to the Vespers of Love, I ministered in St. Demetrius Church in Medan. Until Holy Wednesday Fr. Theodosius and I served at St. Demetrius Church in Medan, but on Holy Thursday, Father Theodosius descended to Siparbue village to conduct the services there for a few days, and our 12

three communities gathered there. On Holy Thursday, Father Chariton Zega came from Nias island to perform the Divine Liturgy with me, because this priest is new and cannot conduct sacred services on his own, especially the ones of the Holy Week. Fr. Luke served at our two parishes in Sumbul and – thank God - he managed to do it on his own. Of course, when we conduct the Great Lent and Holy Week services, we realize that there are a lot of ecclesiastical items missing. Fortunately, before the Holy Week of 2017, we received the Epitaph canopies that you sent us, which we distributed immediately. Thank you very much for your great offer. Allow me to request something here. Our

Sumatran priests need two chain censers, three hand censers for the Great Lent, three perfume vessels for the Epitaph, three paper icons (of Extreme Humility, which we are holding when we sing «Behold the Bridegroom Comes ...»). We would also like to thank you for the books you sent us titled “The Orthodox Faith, Worship and Life”. They are indeed very useful books for the Library of Our St. Paul Theological School. From 19 to 26 June 2017, we will be holding the Clergy-Laity Assembly in Medan. We regard this program as a very important means of educating the believers on Orthodox faith. All our communities in Sumatra will be gathered there.

They will come to Medan by public transport. I received the amount of €4,000 you sent us for this purpose and I want to thank you sincerely and wholeheartedly for your great help. May God reward you with His abundant blessings. In August 2017, one of our students named Savvas Marcelino, who comes from the independent country of East Timor, will have finished his studies at our St. Paul Theological School. For almost four years I have taught him the Orthodox Faith, how to minister to the needs of the Orthodox Church, how to chant and sing, how to carry out the liturgical work. I even performed his own wedding, and now he is ready to return with his


wife to Dili, the capital city of East Timor. A few weeks ago he went to Dili on his own to visit his relatives and told me that in the city center there was a plot of land on sale, where we could build a parish church. The price of this 0.5- acre plot is â‚Ź 10,000. Any possible help will be greatly appreciated so that the Orthodox faith can reach this new country. Dear brethren, in our home we have 18 children living with us, and Presbytera and I have undertaken their upbringing. Of course, with the chickens we raise on our farm, we have some source of revenue, but unfortunately this is not enough to meet all our needs. Moreover, as you know, our priests here in Indonesia


do not take any salaries. Therefore, with our slender means we try to do our best to meet the priests’ basic living expenses each month. Close to the Mission center we have a plot, where we are planning to put and raise for meat about 90-100pigs. If this plan comes true, these children will be able to help with this project before going to school. This will relieve our mission expenses here in Sumatra. The estimated cost for this program is ₏ 7,500. Once again, we appeal to your kind heart for help. Warm wishes from Presbytera Elizabeth and from all of us here in Indonesia. Christ is Risen. Christ Sudah Bangkit. Wishing in the Lord Fr. Chrysostomos Manalu


Holy Pascha in Calcutta Dear Brothers in Christ, Christ is Risen! May the Light of our Lord’s Resurrection shine in the souls of all people and His joy fill our hearts. I pray that His peace will prevail on Earth. I would like to thank wholeheartedly the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity for their new donation for the immediate needs of our two girls’ and boys’ orphanages. As you know, these little children were literally collected from the streets. I wish we could take more within the protective bosom of the Orthodox Church. I earnestly apologize for not being able to send more frequent updates. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. So here, thank God, the atmosphere on Easter Week and on

Easter Sunday was beautiful; simple and full of devout reverence. Until Good Friday the services had been conducted at the Orphanage Church, but on the night of the Resurrection we went to Calcutta to celebrate all together at the Greek Sacred Church of the Transfiguration of our Savior Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday we had a love feast at the Orphanage. I was very tired with the preparations and the coordination, but the happy faces of the children were the best reward for me. That’s all my news for now. May God always keep you in His loving care. Lots of Easter wishes, greetings, love and thanks to all Fraternity members. With love in Christ Sister Nectaria 15


There is Plenty we Can Do! Dear brothers in Christ, Christ is Risen! As I am putting these humble thoughts into words, I still live in the intense presence of the spirit of the Lord’s Resurrection, which really embraces the whole world and conveys this message to all races, languages and cultures of every descent and origin. Thus the entire universe is regenerated and takes a new form, that of the acceptance and nurture of a profound spiritual change in every human creature. Everything in nature rejoices and celebrates in the presence of the Risen Christ, who is the source of love, acceptance, peace, reconciliation, forgiveness 16

and harmony. However, living and working for the Orthodox Missions for almost four decades, I cannot be apathetic or indifferent to what I see every day, while trying to evangelize the tribes and relieve the pain and troubles of these holy souls. A recent pastoral visit to the Kilimanjaro region deeply worried and concerned me, while simultaneously aggrieved me and reminded me of my huge responsibilities, when I met children naked, hungry and starving, thirsty, in shabby clothes. Let me make myself more clear. Father Titus, our Maasai priest, brought me to a remote region, where I met some orphaned

and abandoned children, barefoot and ragged, who were trying to cover their skinny bodies, holed up in the dirt under a sun that was sizzling after months of drought. I didn’t want to show my feelings in order not to cause more tension and grief to them. Unfortunately, I was not able to help enough. I gave the little money I had to buy them some rice for the following days. I will stop here and continue with my visit to the other nursery school of Fr. Marcus, the priest of the Kikuyu tribe, and the small orphanage of the Maasai priest, Fr. Titus, both of whom are self –sacrificing people but

have difficulty making ends meet. Our Diocese helps these children by providing them with breakfast, lunch, free education, school uniforms, even shoes. It only costs â‚Ź20 per month to support a child! We appeal to your kind heart for help. Recently, I participated in an international conference that took place in a European capital. Everything was prepaid and each meal cost twenty euro! I was deeply concerned with the comparison I made with our condition here in Africa, and I realized that there are plenty of things we can do with your


help, dear friends of the Mission. I leave it to your judgement and that of your supporters. For all this suffering which orphaned and distressed little children are going through we are not to blame either God, or their parents or anyone else. It is, however, a dreary reality, where they have no right to complain or protest about the injustice they face, though they are a part of our social system. Therefore, they are here with us and with their desperate voices they cry out for their right to live like any other human being. It grieves me to realize that these children cannot take delight in nature and its


beauties, nor taste the satisfaction of participating in everyday reality. Not being able to create the right conditions for the improvement of their lives is indeed pitiful. It is so painful to be confronted with such a temptation and have to withstand this ordeal while being surrounded by little orphaned children every day! I, however, take solace in knowing that there is ample space for God, Who goes beyond barriers and limitations just to give rest and comfort to these souls, provided our hearts are touched, and we take prompt and effective action for their salvation. †Makarios of Nairobi


Healing Human Pain Dear Friends of the Mission, I greet you in the name of our risen Christ. I am always touched when I communicate in writing with the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, through which my missionary consciousness was nurtured. I dare make an earnest appeal to the charitable feelings of your Board and your donors to ask for an aid of â‚Ź 3,000-4,000 for coverage of the direct medical costs of the Holy Metropolis of Kinshasa. As you know, our much-afflicted brothers here in Congo are devoid of medical care. Unfortunately, nothing is free. Everything has to be paid for! I often think, especially at night before I lie down, whether there are any medications in stock

in the little clinic that your Fraternity built in the area of Shamana to the north of the Congo jungle. Sadly enough, there is no way of communicating with that place. This tropical region is so hard to go through that the news reaches us when someone comes here after months of travelling. Besides that, I have to deal with any type of health problems that might occur in our brothers here in the capital city, Kinshasa. Unfortunately, there is no money to meet these needs, which arise suddenly and need immediate treatment, as human lives are at risk. I am deeply grateful for your unconditional love and financial assistance. May God bless you always. With the love of our risen Christ, †Nikiphoros of Kinshasa 19


Our Orphanage Has opened its Doors Dear Friends of the Mission, It gives me great pleasure to communicate with you and express the deep gratitude which all of us, members and associates of the missionary team of Madagascar, feel for you. We would like to thank you for your continued support in our effort to evangelize the people in the distant land of Madagascar. In the difficult times we are experiencing due to the economic crisis, I wholeheartedly thank the Triune God who takes care of the vineyard he planted in the field of Madagascar, but also of the people who, of what little they have, offer for the continuation of the work of the 20

Outreach Mission. We especially thank our charitable brother for his great donation for the completion of the equipment of the girls’ orphanage, which is finally operational and hosts 20 orphans. Of course, the needs will always exist, because if a family with a small number of members has so many expenses, it is only natural for an institution where more children are growing up to have much higher running costs, especially when these children come from different family backgrounds and regions. We have already begun to finish off the interior equipment with beds and wardrobes, and the refectory with tables and chairs.

I would also like to thank the other anonymous donor for financing the translation of the New Testament into Malagasy (the local language of Madagascar) and its publication. It was something missing from our Church because we had to use the Roman-catholic translation until now. Moreover, I earnestly thank the donors of the two water-wells. The drilling work is in process and we will soon be able to send you photos. Bear in mind that the wells are simply made without a pump, because wherever we install a pump, it disappeared overnight. This is a problem we encounter very often about many different things. Lately we have had a problem with church bells. Due to the expensive

metal they are made of, several bells have been lost, not only from our churches, but also from the temples of other denominations. I am writing this to you in order to give you an idea of the problems we face. Recently we received a donation of â‚Ź 3,000 from your Fraternity for soup-kitchen meals. We cannot thank you enough for that, especially the children, who are given the opportunity to drink a glass of milk and eat some food. A few days ago, we were visited by the doctors from Cyprus, something which happens quite often, His Eminence Chrysostomos Metropolitan of Kition being in charge of them. The team of physicians consisted of pathologists, pediatricians, dentists, dermatologist and


nurses. Every day there was a scheduled visit to a village. The village priest, well-prepared, awaited the doctors with a lot of sick people. The doctors with plenty of patience and love examined the patients and gave them the right medicines. The relief these poor people felt thanks to the doctors was immense, and naturally, they asked them to come back. The construction of the church which was funded by an anonymous donor through your Fraternity is progressing well. As you know, it is situated in a central place in a large village near the main road to Tulear. We hope that it will soon be finished and serve the needs of the new parish. All our programs are going


on, though with many difficulties, problems and temptations on the way. All these are interrelated with the work of the Church. The devil’s fighting strategy has been well known to the Church since it was founded, as it was first tried by her Creator. Once more, we thank you with all our heart for your love, sympathy and support to our humble ministry here. I convey to you the patriarchal love and blessings of the Venerable Prelate of the ancient Patriarchal Throne of Alexandria Theodore, who watches the progress of all the works of our Metropolis with unceasing interest. God be with you †Ignatius of Madagascar

Ascension church under construction


I Was Sick, and Ye Visited Me Christ is Risen! I am pleased to announce that the Panagiotis Papadimitrakopoulos Clinic, which was created by the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity in honor of its late President and great benefactor, is finally operational. I am deeply grateful to you for the financial aid of € 10,000 that you sent us for its medical equipment and the payment of annual salary costs. Here, in the province of Bukoba, where we have our Mission Center (church, school, orphanage), there were no medical facilities and the medical needs were too pressing to be described.... Now this little 20-bedded clinic

and the medicine we bought made my fellow-countrymen feel more optimistic and hopeful about the future regarding problems of health. We would like to thank you wholeheartedly for this great opportunity that you have given us. We will be forever grateful to you. We would also like to make an appeal to your love to help us build two rectories -which cost € 8,000 each- in order to house our priests in the far north. As for my state of health, there are signs of slight improvement day by day. Glory be to God for everything. With love in Christ † Jonah of Uganda 23




An Air of Resurrection Christ is Risen, brothers … We are in the vineyard of the Holy Diocese of Cameroon and we are paying Paschal visits to several parishes and villages. We begin early in the morning, since we have to cover long miles of dirt road in the rainforests. During this period our pastoral visits are of a different nature: our meeting together in the Paschal Divine Liturgy and our closer contact with our brothers… We chant the Paschal troparion “Christ is Risen” again and again, so that it becomes a part of themselves as well as ours with regard to the “least of our Lord’s brothers…” The joyful message of hope of Christ’s victory over death.


I watch our African brothers’ expressions when they are listening to our bishop’s sermon: “With the Resurrection of our Christ, death was actually abolished and the falling asleep of a man is simply his passing from this life to the other, the eternal one, together with Christ and the Saints and whoever loved Him, and whoever left this life due to injustice, deprivation and indifference, the indifference of all of us…”. I watch them and suddenly on their weathered by life’s toil faces, on their ascetic –one would say– faces, hope and optimism seem to rise like a sunbeam… You can see the eyes of the African mothers suddenly becoming serious and a tear running down from some of them...

There is no mother in these places without children on the other bank, the one beyond this world … Children who departed this life so early due to the unbelievable diseases of the region… Sadly, more often than not, these children pass away because they lack €2 for the purchase of 6 medications that can ensure the treatment of malaria in its first stage… After the Divine Liturgy, Fr. George and Fr. Evangelos, both clerics of the Diocese of Cameroon, together with indigenous priests

begin catechism before conducting the baptisms… They explain and read the exorcisms in front of the church’s door. 45° Celsius! While they are conducting the exorcisms in cooperation with the parish priest, I am preparing cards for those to be baptized with their personal information and their new Christian name… This time, the new Christian names that will be given to the Orthodox of this particular parish community, have been designated by the Orthodox Missionary


Fraternity at the request of some brothers who also support the missionary work this way… Preparing this list, a name was left over. I put it aside, thinking it could be given in some of our next baptisms. Then I made for the baptistery for a last inspection. Little children of the parish brought water in cooking pots and wash-basins to fill the baptistery with from the well that was next to the church. The congregation and the priests circled the baptistery and at the same time everyone was looking for a little shadow falling from the few surrounding trees, in order to get protected from the merciless sun. “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father…” and the two deacons started reciting the great litany, while our brothers who were to be


baptized answered in chorus: “Lord have mercy”. “The servant of God is baptized…” And while everything was going on as expected, suddenly a female voice was heard moving to our side, speaking in the local language. There was a fuss. Everyone was talking… We had to interrupt the sacrament to see what was going on… The chaplain explained: “Mama Solance is one of the eldest women in the village and her family… She comes to our church, though her family adheres to another denomination. She realized that today we are baptizing catechumens and she also wants to get baptized”! We told her to wait. She sat on the side, mumbling “I wanna get baptized… I wanna get baptized…” We had a brief consultation… There

somebody cited from the Acts of the Apostles, where the wondrous story of the baptism of the first Ethiopian Christian is vividly mentioned… “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” …And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.» (Acts 8:36-38) So after a while the priest cried out: “The servant of God, Nino, is baptized, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” and everybody in attendance broke into applause and joyful shouting, because the “mother’ of the village became

Orthodox. That was the name that had been left over: Nino, the Equal-tothe-Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia… Everybody was moved and we continued the sacrament, giving mama Nino wishes for her becoming a real enlightener too. A few days later, Fr. Lazarus, the rector of the parish where the baptisms took place, visited us and told us that “after you left, mama Nino talked to her family and recounted what she had lived during her baptism, and everybody in her family expressed the desire to approach the Orthodox Church in order to be catechized and baptized!” Indeed, mama Nino was proven to be an enlightener of her family! Archimandrite Prodromos 29


Contribution of Love Once again, the love of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity has reached as far as Tanzania, this time with the drilling of two more boreholes, through which we have secured clean water for thousands of our African brothers in two newly established parishes in Tanzania. Thanks to the global recognition our Fraternity has earned, every appeal we make for help is met with response on the part of blessed brothers from every corner of the earth, all of whom wish to support our laborious and ever-increasing missionary work. By the grace of God, His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrios of Irinopolis, after performing the opening service of the 31st Sacred Church built in Tanzania, which is dedicated to Saint Catherine, and accompanied by native priests, he then visited and 30

blessed the two new boreholes in the presence of hundreds of newly-illumined Orthodox brothers from the wider region, who celebrated and expressed their gratitude to God as dancing and joyous shouts! As can be seen, my dear brethren, the missionary work is making progress, the blessing of God is intense and present every single moment here in our mission in Tanzania and the needs are growing; on that account I make an earnest appeal to your love for the drilling of three more boreholes at a cost of â‚Ź 4,000 each, which will provide access to clean water not only to thousands of our brothers in the Morogoro region of eastern Tanzania, but also to the primitive Maasai tribe, who are being catechized by hundreds and will soon be baptized. From the Holy Metropolis


A New Start Dear Brothers in Christ, By the Grace of God, right after moving to the Diocese of Arusha and Central Tanzania, our priests and I began our missionary journeys in order to take a closer look at the material and spiritual needs of our faithful. So we found ourselves in Ibongo, an isolated village in an area of heavenly beauty one and a half hours’ distance from the city of Iringa, where all the inhabitants have been catechized and baptized Orthodox Christians. The Divine Liturgy is conducted outdoors beneath the trees because we have not yet been able to build a church. There are currently one hundred and twenty people living in this beautiful village. They used to be Roman Catholics and Lutherans but with one accord they all returned

to Orthodoxy because, as we were told, they felt the love and the truth of our Church. They live happily even though nothing there reminds us of the so called «civilized world», as they lack basic essentials such as running water and electricity, and the only building that reminds us of a hint of «civilization» is the halffinished school that our Church has built, which is empty though, since most children sit on the ground due to lack of desks. After chanting and speaking to them under the hot African sun, in the shade of the trees, in the same place where we conduct the Divine Liturgy, we asked them what their most urgent need was. Drilling for water? Continuing the school construction? Building a church? Imagine our emotion when all of


them unanimously said: «Canisa», which in their native language means “church”... After a few seconds of silence on my part, during which I tried to keep my emotion inside of me and at the same time find out whether they spoke seriously or not, as I could see a village lacking essentials, I asked them one more time, «But don’t you need water?» Then again all of them with one voice shouted «Canisa»! They had even found the building plot for the church in a prominent position in the center of their village. Naturally, we all made for this place where, when the Good God permits it and the money is found, we are planning to build the church for the beautiful Ibongo village. My beloved brothers, the joy


and excitement one experiences with the Mission in Africa, is something incomparable, something which the greatest delights and joys of our comfortable but meaningless -for most of us- life of the so-called «civilized» world could never possibly offer us. Once again I would like to thank you wholeheartedly not only for the financial aid of 11,000 euro which you sent us but also for your warm, supporting presence in the first steps of my Missionary Ministry as a Bishop in Africa. May you are granted God’s abundant blessings in your life and in your works, always in the light of our Lord’s Resurrection. With Love in Christ †Agathonikos of Arusha

Baptism by His Grace Agathonikos of Arusha

Philanthropists and Orphan-Supporters By the grace of God, in order to minister with our scanty powers to the needs of the flock which the Church, by the providence of His Beatitude our Patriarch Theodore II confided to us, we offer on a daily basis food, milk and biscuits to more than 600 orphans, irrespective of religion, in our poverty-stricken region, where 70% of the people die of Aids. Thanks to the self-sacrificial support of two sisters, nuns from the Metropolis of Moldova who are active in our Bishopric, we not only offer once a weeklymeals to the orphans, but also in whichever parish we are conducting a

church service we offer meals to all the believers, who sometimes reach a thousand people. It is a big dream for us to be able to offer a full meal to the hundreds of orphans of our Province on a daily basis, a dream, which is currently impossible to come true due to poor economic conditions. At the same time we are making the necessary preparations for the operation of a Medical Center at the existing St. Theodore Clinic in our Mission Center in Kidamali of Iringa, an area which, besides AIDS, is also plagued by malaria and typhus, as it is unfortunately the poorest 33

and most difficult area of Tanzania. This Medical Center is a place where volunteer doctors from Greece and the rest of the world can offer their services. Thus, allow me through this humble article to call for more laborers who are willing to help us in this field as well. Unlike our homeland where the majority of people are Orthodox Christians, almost anywhere in Africa we meet different religious communities and hear music and songs, which are used to attract the natives who like music and dance. Overcoming the temptation of competition, a policy that our Church has nev-


er used, we declare our humble presence through the richness of our worship and, to the extent of our abilities, through charity. It is impossible to turn a deaf ear to the material needs of our destitute brothers, especially the children, most of whom only have a piece of sugar cane to chew, barely enough to keep them alive, while if they are offered a piece of candy, they keep its wrapping as a souvenir for a long time! We thank you for your love and we earnestly hope and plead for your prayers and your support. With gratitude †Agathonikos of Arusha


Pascha Means Passing Over Pascha means a passing-over. From the land of slavery to that of liberty. From darkness to Light, from death to Life. Everyone lives in their own land of “no freedom”. Entire societies were surrendered to spiritual slavery and were risen when they accepted the Gospel of the Risen Christ. They left behind fear and everything that denied them the light. They were healed through the preaching of the Apostles, who had met Risen Jesus and had confessed this Resurrection. The Church never deprived anyone in this world of this preaching. And in the course of time and through continuous missionary struggles full of the Triune God’s

grace and blessings, more and more places are being illumined by this Light, which whoever “has clothed himself” with, escapes every fear. For centuries our brothers in this corner of the Earth, the African equator, had built a fear-based society. The Winner of Death, however, came to destroy these fears. Our brothers are now happy and celebrate their own Pascha, their own passing-over from the regime of fear to the state of Christgiven Liberty. If we somehow had to imagine what celebrating Pascha means in Congo Brazzaville, it would be enough to turn our thoughts back to the time of the Apostles! The footprints of the


first Orthodox on this oceankissed country are still fresh… The Great Lent becomes a time of more intense preparation of the catechumens, so that they receive the Holy Baptism on Great Saturday, according to the ancient tradition of our Church. The faithful during this period actively participate in the sacred services, getting ready for the great days of the Lord’s Holy Passion and the Resurrection. Services are being held exactly as in our homelands –always in French– and are particularly dear to our Congolese brothers. The order of our Church is a living “spiritual school” for every faithful. Thus,


some customs of the place are being integrated into the ecclesiastical life. For example, the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem is revived after the dismissal of the Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy in the modest traditional dance of the indigenous Orthodox, who wave the palm leaves to the rhythms of tam tam. Meanwhile, charitable work is intensified during this period, culminating in visiting prisons in the big cities and offering the prisoners food, clothes and items of personal hygiene, purchased with money contributed by the faithful themselves despite personal indigence in their vast majority!

«Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did itto one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.» (Matthew 25:40) The Lord’s Holy Passion, the Descent from the Cross and the Lamentation at the tomb before the decorated by the parish women sacred canopies (epitaphs) with rainforest flowers, constitute major events climaxing on the night of the Resurrection, in an atmosphere of spiritual euphoria! The faithful remain in church throughout the Paschal Divine Liturgy, after the end of which everyone sits for a common meal offered by the parish, which reminds us of the “agapae”, the common

dinners of the Apostolic Age. We praise God for manifesting Himself every day to more and more of our brothers in this country. The Risen Christ gives the life He promised to everybody. His promises remain unchanged and therefore, the divine grace comes and reinforces the continuation of the missionary work, so that each year more people will be able to celebrate the Pascha of our Church. Their own passing-over from the land of darkness and slavery, their own passing-over from death to life, their own Pascha, the Pascha of all! †Panteleimon of Brazzaville & Gabon

Resurrection in Saint Demetrius church, Brazzaville



Our Children’s Home Dear Friends of the Mission, Christ is Risen! The new Orthodox Diocese of Nyeri and Kenya was created in 2015 by a decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. It is located in Nuri, northeast of the city of Nairobi, almost a threehour drive from there. It occupies a large area with many Orthodox believers, some of whom came into Orthodoxy more than 40 years ago. However, there are many new parish communities lacking their own church. Despite the existing difficulties, we managed to construct semi-permanent buildings in order to accommodate the worship needs of five Orthodox parish communities. We have 38

already ordained four new priests and organized training seminars for our clergymen and catechists so that they can guide the people and especially the young children towards God. During the last year the Diocese of Nyeri has done its best to meet the needs of priests, believers, and especially orphans, who are going to school. The children attending «Aghios Makarios» Primary School are about 200 and live in an orphanage of our diocese called the «Makarios Children’s Home». These wonderful children of God, who have been abandoned by their families on the streets or in their villages due to lack of food,

resources for their education and shelter, have finally found a place which they can call home. They are happy that the Church loves them and takes care of them despite all the challenges we have to face for their welfare. It gives us great joy to see that we have become like family to these children, who have found a father and a mother in the face of our diocese and believe that they are not close to us by chance, accidentally or temporarily. This is the reason why we come to ask for your continued support so we can help them grow up, receive education and have hope in their lives. We do not have

good classrooms for their lessons, teaching material, or enough food. As a diocese we strive to meet their spiritual needs, but social and economic needs are indeed a challenge. We sincerely thank all of you who are constantly supporting us. Thanks to you we can hope for a better future for these children through every little bit of help we provide for them. We shouldn’t forget that Christ has called them to Him. May the Good God bless all of you and the children of our Home. †Neophytos of Nyeri


The Little Girl Named Boissaki Shortly before lunch time I was outside Sister Nectaria’s office and we were discussing. At that moment an elderly lady arrived with a little baby. She informed me that the little girl with her was called Boissaki, she was 5 years old and she was the new member of the big family of the orphanage. The custody of the child had been undertaken by her grandmother, as her parents were unable to bring her up. Her mother had mental problems and her father was disabled. She had no money to raise her, which made her grandmother reach the door of the Greek church in Kolkata to ask for a plate of food for this little girl. Realizing the difficult situation, the priests there suggested that her grandmother give 40

the little girl to the Philanthropic Society Orphanage so that the child could grow up in a safe and neat environment. The family accepted and the little girl found herself in the warm embrace of Sister Nectaria and the rest of the lucky girls, young and older, who are growing up living in the orphanage. The first few days were very difficult for this little girl. The stage of adaptation takes time, and leaving her grandmother was something painful for a 5-year-old girl. She was constantly crying and looking for her. It was the affection and love of the older girls that helped her to forget. Her skin was tough due to poor hygiene and her face was sad. Every time I approached her to play with her she was afraid because of

my white skin color and she would start crying. She would do the same with Sister Nectaria whenever she took her in her arms. She would move away and cry for her grandmother. After a few days little Boissaki had changed. She was now a smiling and cheerful little girl. While the other girls were at school, she was trying to discover the large green space and the playground of the orphanage. She went to the swings alone, entered new doors for her and discovered new paths. Her face had changed. Her skin had become soft, the wrinkles were gone, her face was smiling, and her self-confidence had risen. She wore new clothes, ate five meals a day,

slept in a clean bed and had access to clean toilets. She had also made new friends. The girls of her age joined her. The older girls watched over her and took good care of her. She even started singing and dancing. Now every afternoon, during the study hours, she sits with the younger girls who go to kindergarten and watches them studying. She is also acquiring stimuli of the English language and little by little she is learning a few words. All these months that I have been in Kolkata, I’ve seen so many happy and lucky little boys and girls! Every child has their own story, their own past. But now they are living in a cheerful and well-organized environment, they look optimistically


into the future. I was lucky to have seen little Boissaki’s adaptation to the orphanage because I was able to see the positive change that children are experiencing when they come here. A troubled, hungry and sad little girl was filled with joy and enthusiasm within a few days, and all this thanks to this God-pleasing work done in distant India. It is impossible to describe with just a few words the feelings and images I experience in the orphanage. The God-inspired work done there and the abundant love offered to the children have a great effect on them. The lives of these children are changing for the better. In this Christian vineyard of love and affection, these children find their


youth again, which was lost due to the sufferings of life, poverty and orphanhood. Let us all pray that God will give strength and health to Sister Nectaria and to all those who support this work and give joy to so many children. There are a lot of needs and the economic tightness does not allow for receiving more orphans and poor children in the orphanage. With ₏ 150 we can cover a child’s monthly expenses for housing, meals, clothing and education. This small amount is very important indeed and it is a real hope for the continuation of our missionary work so that we can change the lives of many children for the better. Hector Roumeliotis

Cleopatra Choreftaki The Grand Lady of Love The anticipated spring came in her flowery dress to greet your repose. Along with her came the graceful swallows flying in mournful farewell formations. Alas! On that grey day of your death, the pain was felt deep inside the heart of all those who happened to know you. Tears of grief followed the kneeling prayer. A lighted oil lamp before the icon of Christ was the only spiritual comfort. Your presence on earth resembled an angel of light‌ The clarity of your soul was like the sun, brilliant, resplendent. At the threshold of time you quietly wove a Cretan textile of love, affection, kindness, humbleness and human dignity on the admirable loom of your virtues. This wonderful angel-like woven was handed down to your children. I now imagine your beloved son, His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore, with a tearful little dove nesting in his snow white beard. The funeral service was conducted at the Sacred Church of Saint Nicholas in Heraklion, Crete, on March 31st. Among those present were our President and the Treasurer of our Fraternity Board. May your journey to eternity be good and without obstacles. Christ is Risen! Nostis Psarras 43

Columns of Gratitude Donations from 1.2.2017 to 30.4.2017

Donors’ names are only published in the printed edition


For God loves a cheerful giver

Donors’ names are only published in the printed edition


Donors’ names are only published in the printed edition


Donors’ names are only published in the printed edition


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5 Eric Astrauskas 16 Tomer Arazy 26 Matthew Bezlat 44 Derek Keats


Orthodox Mission #20  

A quarterly publication on the Eastern Orthodox Missions around the world

Orthodox Mission #20  

A quarterly publication on the Eastern Orthodox Missions around the world