Παρασκευή, 18 Μαρτίου 2016

African Initiated Churches in Search of Orthodoxy...



"Orthodoxy in Africa is rising spiritual power and enters the hearts of millions of indigenous.
Overcoming myriad difficulties and adversities, the Greek Orthodox Church in Africa is doing an amazing work admittedly, under the enlightened guidance of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. With the two thousand years continuing course, with wonderful Apostolic work is the Lighthouse of Orthodoxy, Love and Hope for the entire African continent.
Especially in recent decades, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, still a shocking way to the peoples and tribes of Africa, thus fulfilling the full command of Jesus to His disciples "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. " And for over 50 years now, with the dedicated and active presence of enlightened missionaries, clergy and laity, conveyed the message of Orthodoxy to the ends of the Black Africa. Knowing huge acceptance, at least as evidenced by the continuous group of baptisms."


Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia and Malawi /  Facebook

In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa

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Uganda 

Natives Africans bishops in the Orthodox Church

Also in 1925, Spartas learned about the African Orthodox Church movement that grew out of the 1921 religious movement in America by George Alexander McGuire. Attracted by the goal and ideals of the AOC to become a universal black church affiliated with the ancient Christian Church which was not known for racism or colonialism, Spartas wrote to George McGuire. In 1928, McGuire replied and referred Spartas to Daniel Alexander who was the archbishop of the AOC in South Africa. After meeting with Bp. Daniel, Spartas left the Anglican Church in January 1929 and began an AOC presence in Uganda. During the years 1931 and 1932, Abp. Alexander visited Uganda and ordained Spartas and Basajjakitalo to the priesthood.
During a visit by Abp. Alexander to Spartas, a Greek expatriate named Vlahos asked Alexander to baptize his children. Having noted that the baptismal service conducted by Alexander did not follow proper Orthodox form, Vlahos advised Spartas to contact Nicodemos Sarikas, an Orthodox archimandrite, serving the Greek community in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). This Spartas did. After Sarikas visited Spartas in Uganda, Spartas broke his relationship with Alexander and sought, under advise of Sarikas, recognition by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. Since his letters were not answered, Spartas and his friends, including Irenaeus Majimbi and Theodoros Nankyamas, journeyed to Alexandria. There, they spent several years learning what Holy Orthodoxy was and, ultimately, being ordained and sent back to Uganda.
In 1942, Metropolitan Nicholas of Axum visited Uganda as a representative of the Patriarch of Alexandria. Ethnically an Arab, Metr. Nicholas was more concerned about ministry to people beyond the Greek community than had been the Greek hierarchs. Thus, he recommended the reception of the African Orthodox into the Patriarchate, an action that was delayed until 1946, after World War II ended.
In a visit to the Patriarchate in Alexandria in 1946, Spartas was named vicar general for Uganda. In September 1953, through Father Spartas' efforts, the African Greek Orthodox Church was registered in Uganda, and in 1959 the Patriarchate of Alexandria established an archdiocese in East Africa that encompassed Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, led by Metropolitan Nicholas (Valeropoulos) of Irinoupolis.
With recognition, the labors of Fr. Spartas and his friends began as they recognized that spreading the faith also meant educating the people. He began teaching English language in the school he founded that was officially private and belonged to the Church. Teaching English in Uganda at that time ran into the opposition of the colonial British government that tried to maintain its monopoly on education with a law that allowed teaching English only in state schools. This did not stop Fr. Spartas, for which he spent five years in prison.
 

See also: The Orthodox Church in Uganda, an outgrowth of indigenous self discovery

Kenya

Natives Africans bishops in the Orthodox Church
 
Photo from here
In the 1930s a spontaneous movement of indigenous Africans towards the Orthodox Church began in Uganda under the leadership of a former Anglican, Reuben Spartas. In 1946 the fathers Spartas and Obadiah visiting Kenya. On their own autonomous motivation the "African Orthodox Church of Kenya" came into communion with the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the head of this Church Arthur Kaduna was ordained the first Kenyan Orthodox priest named George.
Also in the 1950s, fought, along with many orthodox priests in the movement for independence from colonial Kenya (At the same time, the protestant and catholic priests called the uprising a rebellion of pagans and savages). Kaduna spent 10 years in prison, along with leader of the Kikuyu tribe and country's future president Jomo Kenyatta. The Orthodox communities in East Africa that had been founded under his leadership were organized into the Metropolis of Irinoupolis with headquarters in Nairobi in 1958. He was first Bishop of Kenya and the first Kenyan Missionary to the people of Bunyore. In 1972 he was elected titular Bishop of Nitria, Assistant Bishop of the Metropolis of Eirenoupolis. He was consecrated on 25th February 1973 at st. Paul, Kagira.

See also: The Orthodox Church in Kenya & the Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School of Makarios III 

Ghana
 
The Orthodox Church in Ghana & Ivory Coast

Noncanonical orthodoxy emerged in Ghana in 1932.
The «African Universal Orthodox-Catholic Church» was organized by the charismatic African Bresi-Ando, but he and his followers vaguely knew the meaning of the term «Orthodoxy», and tried to find the true church. In 1972, Godfried Mantey and Kwame Joseph Labi, two of the church's youth leaders, read «The Orthodox Church» by Timothy (KALLISTOS) Ware which strengthened their church's religious quest. Two years later, Mantey and Labi met personally with representatives of the Orthodox world, and on 15 January 1978, Metropolitan Irineos, Metropolitan of Accra and All West Africa, (within the Patriarchate of Alexandria), made his first visit to the faithful of Ghana. By September 1982, the organization was admitted into the Orthodox communion within the Patriarchal Throne of Alexandria and All Africa. Now there is active missionary work, led by a resident archbishop. Thousands of Orthodox Christians from among the local population are served by 23 priests. A local Orthodox seminary is now open in Ghana.


Ivory Coast


Photo from here

Africa … Faith possible, many wonders . "We arrived," recounts Bishop Panteleimon of Ghana, "after 18 hours journey in the Ivory Coast and said : Now what? And, when disappointed and we decided to return to Ghana, the phone rings. It was a group of people who for six years was looking the roots of Christianity upon research discoveries to Orthodoxy… their intentions are pure… I decided to baptize them… We went to see the lagoon, where the next day would be a baptism. Full trash (up to 2,5 m from the coast). That will take the oil ? Where are It will be the mystery ? Would like months to clean it up… In the evening windstorm broke… the next morning there was not a debris… after… Blessed with captured heartbreaking pain. I had to go to hospital… I kept… were the first Orthodox Christians" (Africa of my heart).

Nigeria


The Orthodox Church in Nigeria : Archdiocese of Nigeria, Niger, Benin & Togo  

Orthodox Churches in Nigeria – A result of spiritual searches of the Nigerians themselves!
 
The Holy Archdiocese of Nigeria is a diocese under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Its territory includes the parishes and missions located in the nations of Nigeria, Niger, Benin and Togo.
The Nigerian people formed a union of churches called “Calvary Grace Church” in search of the “original Christian Church.”  By 1985, this collective of Nigerian churches was brought into the full canonical beauty of the Orthodox Church.
 "...It is worth emphasizing that the appeal of the native inhabitants of the country to Orthodoxy itself began not because of the activity of missionaries but as a result of spiritual searches of the Nigerians themselves. African Protestantism is characterized by fragmentation, the emergence of new groups and currents. In the 1980s, in Eastern Nigeria, the ‘Church of Calvary Mercy’ was formed among the Igbo people. It united several communities. The members of this organization set out to find the ‘original Church of Christ’. Serious study and search led them to the conclusion that this church is the Orthodox Church, and in 1985 they all accepted Orthodoxy. Later, a lot of other Nigerians followed their example....".

 
South Africa

Orthodox Christians in Mamelodi, South Africa (from here)

The Orthodox Church in the Republic of South Africa
 
In February 1997 the leaders of the African Orthodox Episcopal Church (AOEC), which has about 7 congregations to the north of Pretoria, wrote to the Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria and asked to be united with the Orthodox Church. They had made contact with the Orthodox Church though Stephen Hayes and Archimandrite Michael Visvinis of the Pretoria parish. The AOEC is an African independent church (AIC). There are over 7000 AICs in South Africa, and many more in other parts of the continent. It was one of a group of AICs that claimed an Orthodox background, but is uncanonical, and has sought to be united to the Orthodox Church.
In March 1999 Archbishop Ioannis, the Metropolitan of Johannesburg and Pretoria, appointed Fr Bert Olechnowicz as the official liaison person between the Archdiocese and the AOEC, and Fr Bert is planning to hold a series of meeting with the AOEC leaders to help them prepare to be received into Orthodoxy. The members of the AOEC speak several different languages, and so liturgical texts will have to be translated into Zulu, Sotho, Tsonga and other languages.


Orthodox Christians in South Africa - Mamelodi Congregation
 
The congregation originally belonged to the African Orthodox Episcopal Church, and they were used to a Protestant style of worship. When the AOEC decided to join the Patriarchate of Alexandria and become part of canonical Orthodoxy, we began with the Hours and Obednitsa, which have been partly translated into the North Sotho Language (Sepedi) used by most of the people in the congregation.
We could not read North Sotho at all, but some high school pupils in the congregation would read the Psalms in North Sotho, and some of the prayers in both English and North Sotho. We left them tapes of the Resurrectional Troparia and Kontakia for Sundays, and they learnt them. We adapted Russian and Byzantine melodies to the North Sotho texts, and gradually learnt to sing them.


See also:  

The Orthodox Church in Tanzania
Mamelodi (South Africa) : Christina Mothapo’s funeral
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)
The Orthodox Church of Alexandria & the Patriarchate of Alexandria
"THE WAY" - An Introduction to the Orthodox Faith
Orthodoxy's Worship: The Sanctification of the Entire World
Theosis (deification): The True Purpose of Human Life 

 
The Church as the Liberated Zone: "All we Christians are terrorists..."  
Fr. Moses Berry, a descendant of African slaves, Orthodox priest and teacher in USA 
African Orthodox Saints
A Letter from an Orthodox Christian to our Native Americans Brothers
Latin America: Peoples in Search of Orthodoxy
Protestants ask: Why be Orthodox?
Travelers on the Way to the Light
A Daughter 'Gives Birth' to her Mother 


During the time that Luther and Calvin were formulating the Reformation...
Charismatic Revival As a Sign of the Times 
The Authority of the Church, the Protestants & the African Initiated Churches

Protestantism
Pentecostal
in Search of Orthodoxy
Orthodox Malawi, Orthodox Zambia


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