Alexandrian hierarch addresses letter to “Russian crucifiers” about African Exarchate

Bukoba, Tanzania, May 16, 2022

Bp. Chrysostomos of Bukoba. Photo: Bp. Chrysostomos of Bukoba. Photo:     

One hierarch of the Patriarchate of Alexandria has sent a very strongly worded letter to representatives of the Russian Church concerning the activity of the Russian Church’s new Exarchate in Africa.

The letter of Bishop Chrysostomos of Bukoba of Western Tanzania, published on his diocesan site, is addressed to “To the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, to Bishop Leonid of Klin, and all the Russians who are fighting against our diocese and our Patriarchate. TO OUR RUSSIAN CRUCIFIERS.”

“We also celebrated the Resurrection of Christ with Orthodox Christians around the world a few days ago. And yet, our crucifiers! We remain here in Bukoba for the crucifixion, because you have crucified us,” the letter opens.

As the bishop recalls, he was consecrated to the episcopate and sent to the diocese about 40 days ago. Patriarch Theodoros used similarly strong language at the consecration of Bp. Chrysostomos, referring to Russian clerics as “pseudo-brothers from the north” and “bears and jackals … who come in an Orthodox cloak to ‘kill and destroy.’”

Before Bp. Chrysostomos arrived in his diocese, he heard about the activity of the Russian cleric Archpriest Andrei Novikov, who was active in the Bukoba Diocese, receiving priests into the Russian Exarchate. The ecclesiastical court of the Patriarchate of Alexandria later ruled to defrock Fr. Andrei together with Archpriest George Maximov, and Pat. Theodoros has also threatened to defrock Met. Leonid.

The Tanzanian hierarch’s letter continues: “Russians in Ukraine are dropping bombs on Orthodox brothers and in Africa they are dropping antimony bombs to destroy and uproot what the right hand of the Almighty has planted. Since then, these schismatic priests have severed all ties with us and are at war with us.”

Bp. Chrysostomos goes on to talk about how he personally knew and helped, both spiritually and materially, the priests who later went to the Russian Exarchate. “I loved them and I love them very much and I didn’t expect that they would leave us, betray our love, and be ungrateful. They have greatly saddened me,” he writes.

These priests have betrayed the Church that ordained them and been led into the deadly sin of schism, Bp. Chrysostomos continues.

Accusing the Russian Church of ethnophyletism, the hierarch writes that it has “been fighting with the Patriarchate of Constantinople for 500 years.” “You are fighting with our Patriarch. You are fighting with the poor Orthodox of Africa,” he states.

For 2,000 years, African priests have gotten their priesthood from the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which continues to spread the light of Orthodoxy in the tradition of great saints such as Sts. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, he writes.

In conclusion, Bp. Chrysostomos calls on the leadership of the Russian Exarchate to leave the African priests alone, for the good of their souls.

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john from kenya africa5/19/2022 2:53 pm
I think my self russia coming to africa is one of the most great thing , one thing it will be an eye opener . to the greek church and also the greeks should not be bitter about it . speaking honestly every priest and christian is happy about this noble act .
Juan5/16/2022 11:35 pm
Lord have mercy. "For 2000 years..." Is he sane? There was no Patriarchate of Alexandria 2000 years ago. And never mind ordaining sub-Saharan Africans then. And what have the Greeks who support Bartholomew been doing to the Ukrainian Church if not crucifying it? Frankly, I don't even see why this was published here. It is a nothing statement.
Reader J5/16/2022 10:36 pm
It seems to me like the Patriarchate of Alexandria always forgets that Carthage was under Rome. So much for "Pan-Africanism" or whatever they try to propagate. They control what they control, but they were never "Patriarch of All-Africa".
Giorgos5/16/2022 7:05 pm
Oh dear, the comments on this won't be kind....
Theodoros 5/16/2022 4:36 pm
As a Greek it is my view that the Patriarchate of Alexandria should be turned over to native Egyptians and Africans to get on with the work of evangelizing Africa. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is corrupt and power hungry and receiving support from the enemies of Orthodoxy (and the enemies of Greece for that matter). Bishops of a local Church that is supposed to be autocephalous should not be taking orders from another Patriarchate. The hierarchy of Alexandria are too compromised at this point to remain where they are. They must go. Greece over the decades had been subject to western imperialism. It is disgusting to see these Greek hierarchs acting as colonial rulers over the native Africans. Greeks should be seeking to liberate the church of Greece from the Turkish yoke at the Phanar and should disavow patriarch Theodoros and his discredited bishops at the see of Alexandria.
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