DETAILS REGARDING THE ORTHODOX MISSION IN THE CAMEROON
Thirteen churches, two missionary centres, eighteen boreholes for drinking water, three field clinics, three schools, are just a few of the examples of the Greek contribution to the people of them Cameroon. Other works of the Orthodox Church follow, that support the people of the area: distribution of food during difficult times, 300 scholarships per year to poor pupils, distribution of stationey at regular intervals, as well as clothing and shoes and medical assistance by groups of doctors, informative talks on basic health issues especially regarding the plague of Africans, AIDS.
The role of the Greek missionary societies in this great effort is significant, as for example, through the International Development Co-operation Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or other NGO’s.
The history of the missions of Northern Cameroon begins 34 years ago as it began to be systematically organized in1975 by the late Metrop9olitan Irenaios of Accra. This same Bishop, who lost his life together with Patriarch Petros in the flight deisaster of 2004, ordained the first priests in the Northern Cameroon , while the few Greeks of the area contributed to the building of the first churches. The example of the Efstratios Repanis family from Mytilene is noteworthy, who built a large church to St Efstratios in Saar in South Chad (it belongs to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Metropolis of the Cameroon ). There are still today great donors and benefactors, as Mr Anestis Arnopoulos from the seaside city of Douala in Cameroon , who has built the large church of St John the Baptist in the Banamberi area.
His Beatitude the Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros struggle for the development of missions in this difficult to access area was also great, from his time as Metropolitan of Cameroon (1997-2002). He visited Northern Cameroon hundreds of times, seeing to the building of a large missionary centre, three churches, a school and many field clinics. He also saw to the drilling of boreholes so that the locals could enjoy water as something which is lacking in this area, where the temperatures often surpass 45˚ C and things become more difficult during the six-month drought period (November to April).
HIS BEATITUDE ANNOUNCES THE BUILDING OF ANOTHER NEW SCHOOL IN NORTHERN CAMEROON – END OF HIS OFFICIAL VISIT
His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, announced the creation of a new school for the children of Touloum in Northern Cameroon, following his recent visits to schools where the children of poor families in Northern Cameroon on the border with Chad are educated.
The school will be the 4th in line organized by the Holy Metropolis of the Cameroon and will be built with financial support from Greek Missionary Societies. The already existing schools serve 600 children each.
Also, on 21st February 2009, His Beatitude visited the Central High School in Datcheka in Northern Cameroon, distributed stationery and addresses 2,400 young people, announcing that the Holy Metropolis of the Cameroon will be given scholarships to the first ten pupils accepted at the universities of the Cameroon and promised to send them educational material in French. “Education is the hope of the Cameroon “, said His Beatitude, accompanied by His Eminence Gregory of the Cameroon , who was fervently welcomed by all the officials of the country. Also, all the media covered interviews regarding his official visit.
On returning to the capital Yaoundé on 23rd February 2009, the Venerable Primate of the ancient Patriarchate visited the Parish Community of St Eleftherios in Galvak, 90 kilometres from the capital, where he was very warmly received. During his visit His Beatitude expressed his satisfaction for the creation of three classes in the local school, financed by the ” Bridge of Love ” Society in Crete , and inaugurated three new classrooms. He also accepted the request of the Mayor of the area to contribute in the immediate future to the creation of an agricultural school on a piece of land to be donated by the local authority.
He then congratulated His Eminence Gregory, Metropolitan of the Cameroon on the successful missionary work undertaken in the area and generally on the fruitful efforts of the local Church in this African area.
His Beatitude completed his visit to the Cameroon on 23rd February 2009 and returns to his Patriarchal See via Nairobi on 24th February.
THE PREFECTURE OF ATHENS TO HONOUR HIS BEATITUDE
The Governing Council of Athens, in its meeting held on 22nd January 2009, and with a unanimous verdict of all its members, decided to honour His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa as a figure of international renown, distinguished for his cultural and humanistic work, within the framework of the annual fuctions of the “AMBASSADORS OF HELLENISM 2009″, which will take place on the 5th March 2009 at the Megaro Mousikis Athinon, in the presence of the State and Political Leaders of the country.
The function is being organized by the Prefecture of Athens in memory of the unforgettable Melina Mercouri from 1997, on the exact date of her death and it rewards international personalities, the only criterion being their unselfish contribution and effort for the spreading of the Hellenic Culture to the World.
The election of the personalities is done by a special committee following an international announcement, in which apart from the Prefecture of Athens , Cultural Institutes, Social Agents, organizations and Chambers of Commerce participate.
This year, apart from His Beatitude, others chosen were: Didier Prador, Professor of Greek language and Literature at the University of Provence , Luo Jinlin, Professor of Ancient Greek Drama at the Central Academy of Beijing, Dr Amor Lopez-Jimeno, Professor of Greek Literature at the University of Valladolid in Spain and John Simonides, Founder of the Greek Theatre of New York .