Source: Orthodox Missionary Fraternity
January 22, 2016
The feasts of the twelve days were celebrated throughout the world. On January 11, the Blessing of the Waters ceremony was conducted at the pier of Hong Kong. In Sierra Leone, the celebrations were restrained because of prohibitions enacted for the prevention of Ebola contamination, while the Orthodox Mission continued distributing food and protective materials. In Cambodia, most of the faithful gathered at their parishes and celebrated alone, since there are not enough priests for the five parishes operating in the country. In Sangmelima, Cameroon, the Orthodox believers celebrated for the first time at St. Charalambos Church, constructed with funds from our Fraternity.
At Saweni, Fiji were inaugurated the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, the Saint Tabitha orphanage already hosting orphans from the region, as well as a safe-home for unprotected women.
In Guatemala, more efforts were put into the integration and pastoral care of 350,000 Guatemalans of the Maya tribe, who recently joined the Orthodox Church. Missionaries from the United States succor this project.
On February 16, Bishop Panteleimon of Brazzaville paid a pastoral visit to Gabon, where he met with the small Orthodox community and accomplished the official recognition of the Orthodox Church by the Republic of Gabon.
In Tanzania was completed the construction of another clinic named after the Holy Apostles in Malangali, Iringa, with funds by our Fraternity.
During Great Lent Fr. Chrysostomos Manalu visited the Orthodox community of Nias island in Sumatra, Indonesia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and baptized 28 people.
The first Orthodox church in the Tonga Islands was founded in Nuku’alofa in honor of the Great Martyr St. George the Trophy-Bearer.
In Ddegeya, Uganda, the construction of Saints Constantine and Helen church, funded by our Fraternity, was completed.
The Paschal season arrived to Malawi amidst a devastating flood that left behind many dead people, much more homeless and countless ruined houses. Our Misssion helped the victims by distributing blankets to protect them from the unbearable humidity of night.
Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria visited the Orthodox Mission of Madagascar on May 29, 2015. During his week-long tour the Patriach traveled thousands of miles and blessed many new foundations of the mission, i.e. two churches, a large boys’ orphanage, an agricultural university, a high school and a clinic.
Two new indigenous priests were ordained in Sierra Leone by Bishop George of Guinea, who also laid the foundation stone for the construction of an orphanage that will provide warmth to children who lost their parents due to the Ebola epidemic.
In Shamana, Congo (DRC), the construction of a small hospital came to an end, thanks to a grant from our Fraternity. From now on, patients will be able to get treated in their village, without being obliged to travel for days in canoes on the river.
Moreover, for the first time an Orthodox missionary tour took place in the Samoa islands, a nation of the South Pacific, 1,500 miles north of New Zealand. Bishop Amphilochios of New Zealand came in contact with many islanders who showed interest in Orthodoxy. Currently we are looking for land to be purchased for the construction of a church.
The Orthodox Mission of Sumatra, Indonesia, received two new priests who are graduates of the Saint Paul Theological School. The missionary work will therefore be continued with 4 priests and greater intensity.
Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate sent three new missionaries to staff its outreach efforts in Thailand and Cambodia.
New believers are joining the Orthodox Church throughout the African continent. In August alone, more than 110 Rwandans and 136 Congolese brothers were baptized.
Bishop Alexander of Nigeria went on a missionary tour to Benin where he met the priests of the country, conversed with the faithful from several communities in Cotonou and Abomey and encouraged the expansion of the missionary work.
The Church of Malawi got a new cleric who will minister to the Orthodox parish in Murakela where a church is being erected.
By decision of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the biggest missionary diocese in the world, i.e. the Holy Metropolis of Kenya, was divided into three bishoprics: the Holy Metropolis of Nairobi with Metropolitan Makarios being its prelate, the Holy Diocese of Nyeri with auxiliary bishop Neophytos of Nitria as its leader and the Holy Diocese of Kisumu with Fr. Athanasios Akunda as its new bishop.
In Japan, a new Orthodox Church in honor of Saint Nicholas was inaugurated with the participation of more than 100 Orthodox Japanese, while in Madagascar was concluded the construction of the Trasfiguration of the Savior Church, donated by our Fraternity.
The Pakistani Orthodox priest in Lahore, Pakistan, was assaulted by a group of 30, who shouted anti-Christian slogans and broke intho his house, causing damage. Fr. John was then forced to move to another secure location with his family.