First Group Baptism in South Africa

August 8, 2015


On June 4/17 eight people were baptised at St. Thomas’s Church by Father Pantelejmon (Jovanovic) with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria. They are Margaret Mphela of Klipfontein View, Midrand and her four children, Nina (Joyce) Aphane and her daughter Sophia (Sophie), and Margaret Mphela’s niece, Mary (Valencia) Semenya of Mamelodi.

When a group of people in Tembisa asked for Orthodox services to be held there in 2005, Margaret Mphela’s niece, Nektaria (Thabitha) Ramohlale of Mamelodi, who was already an Orthodox Christian, was staying with them in nearby Klipfontein View, and attended the services. Soon Margaret and her children were attending as well. Unfortunately most of the people at Tembisa dispersed for various reasons, leaving only Mrs. Rosina Thamaga, widow of the late Father Simon Thamaga. With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, we began holding services in Margaret Mphela’s house in Klipfontein View, and Margaret’s neighbour, Joyce Aphane and her daughter Sophia began attending as well.

The house was small, however, and again with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim and Father Pantelejmon we began to take the people from Klipfontein View and Tembisa to the Divine Liturgy at St. Thomas’s Church, which was the closest Orthodox Church.

Father Spyridon of St. Thomas’s attended several of the services at Tembisa, and Father Pantelejmon and Father Seraphim also attended the services in Margaret Mphela’s house at Klipfontein View. Margaret’s neighbour Joyce Aphane and her daughter Sophie also attended the services, and came to St. Thomas’s for important occasions, such as Christmas, St. Sava’s day, and the Vidovdan commemoration, and when Fr Pantelejmon and Father Spyridon returned to Serbia in July 2006, they came to the Hours and Readers Service at St. Thomas’s and helped to lead the singing.

Now they have been baptised and are fully Orthodox. As Margaret Mphela remarked on the way home from the baptism service, “Now we are free,” for, as we sang during the service, “As many as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ.” And it was good that during the baptism service we had three young people who had come from the USA to help to share the Orthodox Christian Faith in South Africa. They were Seraphima Carl, John Diamantis and Alex Goodwin. They, like many other visitors, and the baptism candidates themselves, found the baptism service most impressive, and a sign that the Orthodox Church in South Africa is growing.

Please pray for those who were baptised, and for their godparents:
Nina (Joyce), aged 41, Sasa Pavlovic
Sophia (Sophie), aged 7, Mirjana Mihaljevic
Margaret, aged 36, Zivojin i Lada Jovanovic
Martha (Melita), aged 18, Mile Stojakovic
Irene (Johanna) , aged 10, Andreé Woodhouse
Maria (Neriah), aged 10, Andreé Woodhouse
Tabitha (Thabitha), aged 7, Mirjana Djordjevic
Mary (Valencia), aged 14, Cedomir Djordjevic

Deacon Stephen Hayes

Orthodox Mission


Deacon Stephen Hayes8/12/2015 12:00 pm
For more recent Orthodox news from South Africa, please see here:


Deacon Stephen Hayes8/12/2015 11:31 am
While I wrote the article, I think that your readers should be aware that the baptism took place in 2007, and not this year, and there is now a new bishop in the diocese (His Eminence Matropolitan Damaskinos) and a new priest in the parish (Father Isajlo). Also, it was not the first group baptism in the diocese, as several people had been baptised in other places in earlier years. But thank you for publishing this, and please do pray for those who were baptised,m and for those who are ministering to them now, as we are short of clergy in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required