Pastoral Visit to Malawi by Metropolitan Georgios of Zimbabwe
With the wishes and blessings of His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, on Saturday May 30th, I traveled by air to Malawi in order to make a pastoral visit to the district of Blantyre, where for the last three years Father Ermolaos Iatrou has been active. Fr. Iatrou, a clergyman of the Holy Diocese of Mytilene, is attached to the Holy Diocese of Zimbabwe, with the wishes and blessings of His Grace Iakovos of Mytiline and with the approval of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.
At the airport I was received by the consuls of Cyprus and Greece, Fr. Ermolaos and Presbytera Chrysanthi and their four charming children, Fr. Nectarios Justin, and the native catechists. In the afternoon we performed the Vespers service at the Cathedral Church of St. Nectarios, and following that I was briefed about the progress of the missionary work by Fr. Ermolaos.
On Sunday, the anniversary of the Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Synod, I ordained the catechist Nikodimos Chilembwe to Deacon; so, with God’s grace, Malawi acquired its second native clergyman. In the afternoon, during a modest ceremony, the founding stone of the Holy Church of St. Anna was laid in the presence of the chiefs of local tribes and crowds of people newly converted, especially hosts of children who had come to the entrance of the village to greet us, singing and holding flowers they had picked in the fields. After the ceremony was over, we distributed food, toys, and writing materials, praying that this desert land would soon be transformed into an oasis of Orthodoxy.
On Monday, July 1, we traveled to the area of Kabosi, where the Holy Church of St. Georgios was founded under Father Nectarios Justin.
There we were warmly received by crowds of people, including 100 children who attended the kindergarten which was built under the care of Fr. Ermolaos next to the church.
After morning prayers, we distributed toys, food, and sweets. Then we visited the newly built Center, which contains two classrooms, a library, a water reservoir, and a baptistry; all these establishments were erected through the financial assistance of the Friends of Missions under supervision of Fr. Ermolaos. Next, we visited the orphanage at Dirante, where over 150 orphans are sheltered, and we distributed food, toys, and writing materials.
Once more, we witnessed the grandeur of Orthodoxy, whose light and glory have reached the depths of Africa, in isolated places, in the midst of tea and sugar cane plantations, in villages where the residents live in primitive conditions.
Their goodness and innocence enabled them to know Christ through the missionaries, who always have the assistance and cooperation of the Friends of Missions in Greece and Cyprus.
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