Το πρωί της 22ας Φεβρουαρίου ε.ε. η Α.Θ.Μ. ο Πάπας και Πατριάρχης Αλεξανδρείας και πάσης κ.κ. Θεόδωρος Β΄ αφίχθη στην Σιέρρα Λεόνε από την Νιγηρία, προκειμένου να πραγματοποιήσει την πρώτη ιστορική Του ποιμαντική επίσκεψη σε αυτήν την Ιερά Επίσκοπή του Θρόνου, που ίδρυσε το έτος 2010, συνοδευόμενος από τον Σεβ. Μητροπολίτη Άκκρας κ. Γεώργιο, προς τούτο αφιχθέντα από την εκκλησιαστική επαρχία του, την Γκάνα.
Στο αεροδρόμιο της πρωτεύουσας Φριτάουν, τον Αλεξανδρινό Προκαθήμενο υπεδέχθη ο Πατριαρχικός Επίτροπος Σιέρρα Λεόνε, Πανοσιολ. Αρχιμ.κ.Θεμιστοκλής Αδαμόπουλος, ο ιερός κλήρος, εκπρόσωπος του Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών και εθελοντές Ιεραπόστολοι από την Αυστραλία. Στην συνέχεια με αυτοκινητοπομπή της Προεδρίας της Δημοκρατίας επιβιβάσθηκε σε φέρυ μποτ για να μεταβεί στην πρωτεύουσα.
Κατά την διάρκεια του ωριαίου ταξιδιού με το φέρυ μποτ ο Πατριάρχης θαύμασε την ομοιότητα της πρωτεύουσας με ελληνικό νησί και οι εντυπώσεις έγιναν πιο συγκινητικές, όταν όλοι οι επιβάτες ζήτησαν τις ευλογίες και τις προσευχές του.
Στην προκυμαία αντίκρισε εκατοντάδες παιδιά να τον αναμένουν τραγουδώντας και χορεύοντας σε παραδοσιακούς Αφρικανικούς ρυθμούς.
Εκεί τον υπεδέχθη ο Εξοχ.Δήμαρχος κ.Gabril Kamu, οι λοιπές αρχές της πόλης, οι μαθητές και οι μαθήτριες των σχολείων του κέντρου της πόλης και πλήθος κόσμου συμπεριλαμβανομένων παιδιών που φοιτούν σε μουσουλμανικά σχολεία.
Στην συνέχεια εν πομπή μετέβη στο Δημαρχείο όπου έγινε το επίσημο καλωσόρισμα από τον Δήμαρχο, που μεταξύ άλλων στην ομιλία του τόνισε την σημαντικότητα της επίσκεψης του Προκαθημένου της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας της Αφρικής στην Σιέρρα Λεόνε, τον ευχαρίστησε για την προσφορά της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας στην ανασυγκρότηση της χώρας μετά τον πολυετή εμφύλιο σπαραγμό και του απένειμε το χρυσό κλειδί της πόλης ως ελάχιστο δείγμα ευγνωμοσύνης για την προσφορά του.
Ο Πατριάρχης στην αντιφώνησή του αναφέρθηκε στην επιθυμία του να επισκεφθεί την πολύπαθη χώρα, να ευλογήσει το εκκλησιαστικό έργο στην περιοχή και να μοιραστεί με όλο τον κόσμο την αγάπη, την ειρήνη και την ελπίδα του Θεού.
Τέλος τίμησε τον κ.Δήμαρχο με τον Λέοντα του Αγίου Μάρκου.
Below is a press Release from Sierra Leone.
The Church of Alexandria (Egypt) was established in the middle of the First Century A.D. by the Apostle and Evangelist Mark (the author of the Gospel of St. Mark), becoming its inaugural bishop. Thus making the episcopacy of Alexandria the most ancient in Africa. Indeed from earliest Christian times the Church of Alexandria ranked as one of the top three episcopacies of Christendom along with Rome and Antioch. In the fourth and fifth centuries the episcopacy of Constantinople and Jerusalem were added to that list of honour.
Since the time of the apostolic era an unbroken succession of bishops of this ancient city of Alexandria – the largest in Africa in early Christian times – continues till our times. Because of its apostolic origins and its significance the Bishop of the Church of Alexandria was quite early honoured by also being designated as Patriarch and Pope. Indeed the Bishop of Alexandria, historically, was the first bishop in Christendom to be named “Pope” (Greek “Papas”) – even before the title was also conveyed to the Bishop of Rome. Today the apostolic successor to the Throne of St. Mark and spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christians on the African continent, namely, the Patriarch and Pope of Alexandria, is His Beatitude Theodoros II. Upon the death of Petros VII his predecessor, Metropolitan Theodoros of Zimbabwe was unanimously elected by the Holy Synod of Alexandria (9 / 10 / 2004) as the next Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria.
His official visit to Sierra Leone, beginning Wednesday 22nd of February marks a truly historical moment not only for the Orthodox Church but for the nation of Sierra Leone. It is the first time in the 2000 years of Christian history that a Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, will have ever set foot in this West African state. We invite all Sierra Leoneans to come and receive His Apostolic blessings.
Holy Orthodox Diocese of Sierra Leone, Freetown (13 / 21 / 12)
PASTORAL AND STATE VISIT Sierra Leone (Feb. 22 – 27th, 2012)
Wednesday Feb. 22nd: Arrival at Lungi International Airport 9.30 AM (Ariq Air).
- Official State Reception at VIP Lounge
- Private Ferry journey to Freetown
- Official Reception by Acting Lord Mayor of Freetown accompanied by Council officials and the giving of the golden key of the City of Freetown.
- Hotel Check in (Bintumani, Aberdeen, Freetown)
Official Welcome Reception with State and Ambassadorial Dignitaries (Bintumani Hotel, 7.00 PM)
Thursday Feb. 23rd:
- Courtesy call to Minister of Foreign Affairs
Courtesy Call to His Excellency the President of SL
- Visit to Waterloo
- School Welcome
- Foundation stone service for Waterloo church
- Vesper Service
Friday Feb. 24th:
- Liturgy and ordination at Cathedral
- Welcome to Freetown Orthodox Christian School
- Foundation stone ceremony of Cathedral (qeme<lioj li<qoj)
- Consecration of Church (e]gkai<nia neou?)
- Liturgy and ordinations
- Lunch with School Staff
Foundation stone ceremony at Syke Street School
- Official opening of new school wing (Syke Street)
Saturday Feb. 25th:
- Foundation stone (College Chapel) (qeme<lioj li<qoj)
- Foundation stone Ceremony (College) (qeme<lioj li<qoj)
- Official opening of College
- Official Lunch with Church Dignitaries (Tower Hill)
- Press Conference (College)
Sunday Feb. 26th:
- Divine Liturgy and Ordinations (Freetown Cathedral)
- Freetown Tour
PK4A is a full volunteer organisation raising funds for Faith, Food and Education in the poorest nations on Earth. We sponsor missionaries recommended to us by Orthodox Monk Rev Themi Adamopoulo, who has served in Africa for over 20 years from the East Coast to the West Coast. Rev Themi’s mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet the human needs in the name of Jesus and through the love of Jesus without discrimination.
80% of all funds collected are sent to Africa to be dispersed by Rev Themi
20% of all funds collected remain in its country of origin and is distributed to other local christian charities and non profit organisations.
PK4A pay’s no salaries, have no staff, operate no offices, own no property with all work and workers being voluntary.
In the United States we are currently applying for our 501c.
In Australia we operate under our parent charity Hopewell Hospice Inc Charity number 1194.
On the morning of 15th February 2012, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by His Eminence Gregory Metropolitan of Cameroon and the Very Reverend Archimandrite Panteleimon Arathymos, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, went to the temporary Holy Cathedral of the Resurrection of the Lord in Lagos, where he was officially received by His Eminence Alexandros Metropolitan of Nigeria, clergy of the local Church and many faithful.
A Doxology was immediately sung, before the end of which His Eminence Alexandros of Nigeria addressed His Beatitude, saying:
“Your Beatitude, Father and Master, with deep emotion and ineffable joy we welcome you today to the blessed, but also tortured land of Nigeria.
Today clergy and people have gathered around you. Around the first Bishop of the ancient and historic Church of Africa, to which the Father is favourable and the Holy Spirit reveals in Christ. We welcome today the successor of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, in whom the entire tradition of the divine and holy Apostles is present.
In this your first pastoral visit to the Church of Nigeria, Your Beatitude, you are not alone. Visibly accompanying you is my dear brother His Eminence Gregory of Cameroon and our beloved Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod or the Patriarchate of Alexandria, Reverend Panteleimon, whom we welcome with particular joy.
With you, though, there is another entourage, a mystical chorus which comes down through the depths of the centuries. Athanasios the Great, Kyrillos, John the Merciful, Isidoros of Pilousion, Dionysios, Kyrillos Loukaris, Nektarios. God’s wisdom and power!
Antony the Great, Pachomios, Mary of Egypt, Makarios, Moses of Ethiopia. All are sanctified figures of the desert. Nitria. Skitis. Tears of repentance, crucified bodies “with the passions”! Catherine the omniscient, the Great Martyr Minas, Proterios and Petros of Alexandria and the entire cloud of those who were perfect in the faith of the Church of Alexandria and its provinces. The blood of martyrdom which still today irrigates the tree of our faith.
Your Beatitude this is your real pastoral entourage on this journey. The manifest and undisclosed ecclesiastical experience of twenty uninterrupted centuries. An experience which was watered by the blood of thousands of martyrs, was tested in the furnace of afflictions, forged by the demonic attacks of the ruler of the world of this century. And yet! We are alive and active. We all officiate with you at the helm, the Church of Alexandria, the now and ever of the ages and of history. That is why today you stand aright on the Throne, not influenced, uncompromising. And as we face you, a visible sign of our historic continuation and consequence, we all, the Church of Alexandria, can without fear shout in the Lord to all, both near and far, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.
We ask that you please pray so that all of us who make up the Church of Nigeria will always bear witness to the genuine church experience, as through temptations we strive to become Christ-like. Welcome Your Beatitude to our land. Welcome to the Orthodox Church of Nigeria”.
During his reply, His Beatitude expressed his feelings regarding this trip to the first ecclesiastical province of the Alexandrian Church which he elevated to the value and honour of a Metropolis following his election to the Patriarchal Throne of St mark, spoke of his many years of acquaintance with His Eminence Alexandros and praised the productive pastoral and missionary efforts being undertaken in the most suffering country of Africa, emphasizing its ecclesiological and theological foundations.
He then went to the adjacent Holy Hermitage-Theological Seminary of St Antony, which is a standard of monastic life in Western Africa as the African Hieromonks and monks live together with their Shepherd His Eminence Alexandros, with daily worship. He venerated the relics of St Luke, Archbishop of Symferopolis, and blessed the lay workers of the activities of the Church.
Following his visit to the offices of the Holy Metropolis of Nigeria His Beatitude visited the Honourable Consul of Egypt in Lagos, Mr Ahmed Baha’El Din.
During his visit His Beatitude expressed his love for the land of the Nile, which always shows respect for and honours the two-thousand year presence of the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria as the oldest living African Christian organization, as well as his deep conviction for the progress and prosperity of the country. On his behalf the Honourable Consul said that the visit by the Patriarch was an honour and a particular blessing.
Present at the meeting were Their Eminences the Metropolitans of Nigeria and Cameroon, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Panteleimon Arathymos Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, His Excellency the Ambassador of Greece Mr Dionysios Sourvanos and the Honourable Archon of the Throne Mr Anestis Arnopoulos.