PATRIARCHAL MESSAGE FOR THE FEAST OF PASCHA
BY THE GRACE OF GOD POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AND ALL AFRICA TO ALL MEMBERS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH; MAY THE GRACE, PEACE AND MERCY OF THE RESURRECTED SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST BE WITH ALL
"Let no one mourn that he hath fallen again and again; for forgiveness hath risen from the tomb...Christ is risen and the angels rejoice, Christ is risen and life is liberated" (Sermon of St John Chrysostom).
My beloved children in Christ,
Once again the Church is illumined by the "eternal light of the Resurrection" and from her foundation, the empty life-giving Tomb, preaches to all the joyous message of this great feast: "CHRIST IS RISEN".
God so loved man, that He endured the Passion, the Cross and Hades. By His Resurrection on the third day He crushed the bondage of sin and death, granting the world new life, joy and peace.
We are all children and heirs of the promise of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. We once again experience this great and glorious miracle and event of our Faith. At the same time we reconsider and reassess our position.
Are we in the same psychological state as his fearful disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem or that of those on the road to Emmaus? Are we possessed with fear, faint-heartedness and disillusionment? Toady, even if this should be the case, the Resurrected Jesus walks with us through the closed doors, on the path of doubts and bitter thoughts.
Through the Light of the Resurrection morality restores its position. The true meaning and expression of the Cross is established and it finds its genuine dimension and rightful place.
Beyond the Tomb is the redeeming intervention of God and the Life-giving Resurrection.
Before, if everything was considered lost through death and eternal silence, today all is victorious and "truly all creatures have been filled with light; heaven and earth" (3rd Ode from the Service of Matins of the Sunday of Great and Holy Pascha).
Living with the eternal expectation of the "dawning of the first day of the week" (John 20:19), with hope despite the struggle of the Cross, we enter the glorious land of His joy and peace.
Yesterday, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hades. Today He returns as a deliverer, an angel of peace, a granter of joy, an anchor of hope, a leader of a new incorrupt and eternal life.
The Resurrection is a creative action of God's majesty and omnipotence. It destroys death and raises the living and the dead before the divine judgment seat.
Seeing the miracle of the Resurrection from this point of view, contemporary man can hope for redemption. Until today he was self-governed, denouncing the metaphysical dimension of his life, guided by the vanity of his achievements, writing his history with the absence of God.
Desperate, man approaches the truth of Kierkegaard words: "humanity will enter great darkness because it will have lack of hope, which means lack of faith, that logic will have killed."
However, the eternal hope of the Resurrection came and brought life and truth to time.
For this reason, life is a cross, because the horizontal eternal course of man to salvation and mercy is vertically cut by time and history.
Indeed, man, on his course to be delivered from sin and on his return to former blessedness, has always had great hope, even in the time before Jesus Christ, depending on created gods and philosophical searches, or on his self-sufficiency. However, whenever he sowed such hopes, he reaped despair.
Behold, the light has come to bring an end, even temporarily, to the swift pace, noise and confusion of our works and aspirations and to enable us to see our internal state.
Beneath the shining light of the Resurrection we can question ourselves, review everything around us. We can understand once again how we can have peace and joy in Christ through repentance, good works and faith in the Resurrected Lord. Further, we can see an explanation of the marvels and events in our lives that have remained secret and inexplicable. We can posses consolation and hope for everything invisible and intangible, which will become visible and tangible on the awesome Day of Judgment. We can live in great joy because man rises from the earthly to a fitting spiritual entity.
My beloved children in Christ of the blessed African continent, having all this in our minds and hearts, we walk a difficult path as a Missionary and Martyr Church.
The message of the Resurrection, which is the message of evangelisation today, is essentially a message of peace and hope. This, which takes root in the receptive African land, as our brothers and sisters fight the good fight to establish much-desired eternal peace. This peace comes in the name of the salvific Light from the empty Tomb, amidst civil strife and disaster.
At this sacred time, the Resurrected Lord offers all of us the answer to this civil strife and disaster. This key, the mystery to the solution of this tragedy, the Resurrected Lord offers saying: "I know the motivation of your boldness. And yet even if you are able to follow the path to Golgotha, you also must possess the spirit of Golgotha, otherwise you will not benefit". My beloved children in Christ, the reply to the first Paschal greeting "CHRIST IS RISEN" is a response of faith, strength and hope. It sweetens the bitter struggle of the earthly life in which exist chaos, struggle, stress, threats of wars, uncertainty, loneliness and disharmony of human relationships.
We all hear the "divine, beloved and sweet voice" (9th Ode of the Service of Matins of the Sunday of Great and Holy Pascha), of the Resurrected Christ and His promise that He will be "with us to the end of time as an anchor of hope" to which “we believers hold as we sing, rejoicing” (9th Ode of the Service of Matins of the Sunday of Great and Holy Pascha), "TRULY THE LORD IS RISEN"!
"To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen" (Sermon of St John Chrysostom).
With the ardent blessings of the Lord who is Risen from the dead.
+ Petros VII
By the Grace of God
Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria & All Africa
In the Great City of Alexandria
HOLY PASCHA 2002
NEW WEB-SITE OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA & ALL AFRICA As of Wednesday, May 1st, 2002, you can visit the new web-site of the Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa at the following address:
NEW WEB-SITE OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA & ALL AFRICA
As of Wednesday, May 1st, 2002, you can visit the new web-site of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa at the following address:www.greekorthodox-alexandria.org
If you maintain a web-site that includes links to the Patriarchate of Alexandria's web-site, we would appreciate it if you could update your site.
From the offices of the Patriarchate
MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT MOHAMED HOSNI MOUBARAK
To: His Excellency
Mohamed Hosni Moubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Deeply saddened by news of the many victims of the Egyptair air tragedy, which took place yesterday in Tunis, We commend the deceased to Almighty God’s eternal love and invoke divine strength and comfort upon their grieving families. We give the assurance of Our prayerful closeness to Your Excellency and the entire nation at this time of distress.
With Our prayers,
+ PETROS VII
Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa
In the Great City of Alexandria
May 8th, 2002
THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA IN ATHENS
His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa arrived in Athens on Wednesday, May 8th, 2002.
That evening he met with H.B. Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece at the Archbishopric Palace. During their meeting, the two Church Leaders discussed issues concerning the missionary work of the Patriarchate. The Patriarch of Alexandria once again thanked the Church of Greece for their support and their contribution.
Later on His Beatitude attended the dinner hosted in his honor by H.E. Magda Shahin, Ambassador of Egypt in Greece, at her residence in Philothei. Among the guests were Ambassador Ioannis Zepos, Director of the diplomatic office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Jannie Momberg, Ambassador of South Africa; Mr. Caius Traian Dragomir, Ambassador of Romania; Mr. Abdullah Abdullah, Ambassador of Palestine; Mrs. Marianna Vardinogianni, Ambassador of the Good Will of UNESCO; Mr. & Mrs. Antoni Papadimitriou; Mrs. Liana Despotopoulou, Director of the Special Olympics Athens 2004; Mr. & Mrs. Lalaounis; H.E. Chrysostom, Metropolitan of Carthage; H.E. Serafim, Metropolitan of Johannesburg & Pretoria and H.G. George, Bishop of Nilopolis.
During the dinner Mrs. Shahin expressed her joy at the presence of the Patriarch in the House of Egypt and thanked him for the honor of accepting her invitation. The Patriarch thanked the Ambassador of Egypt for her warm hospitality and mentioned the protection and assistance that the Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox faithful receive in the hospitable land of the Nile.
The next morning the Patriarch of Alexandria met with Mr. Ioannis Magkriotis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. In their discussion, the two men addressed issues concerning the Patriarchate and Hellenism in Africa.
THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA'S OFFICIAL VISIT TO THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SERBIA
(Serbia - Montenegro - Bosnia/Herzegovina)
On Thursday, May 9th, 2002, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa arrived in Beograd for an official visit to the Orthodox Church of Serbia. Members of his entourage were: H.E. Chrysostom, Metropolitan of Carthage; H.E. Serafim, Metropolitan of Johannesburg & Pretoria; H.G. George, Bishop of Nilopolis; the Archimandrite Ioakim Kontovas and the Revd. Deacon Nektarios Kontogiorgos.
At the airport he was warmly welcomed by H.B. Pavle, Patriarch of Serbia; Hierarchs and clergy of the Serbian Patriarchate; Mr. Bogoljub Sijakovic, Minister of Religious Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; Mr. Vojislav Milovanovic, Minister of Religious Affairs of the Serbian Government; Mr. Amr Khodeir Yehia, Ambassador of Egypt; Mr. Stavros Amvrosiou, Ambassador of Cyprus; Mr. Antonios Spyropoulos, Consul General of Greece and others.
Later on he attended the Doxology service at the Cathedral in Beograd and visited the Patriarchal Palace.
In the evening he attended a choral concert at the Church of St. Savvas and a dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Cyprus at the Ambassador's residence.
On Friday, May 10th, 2002, His Beatitude met with H.E. Vojislav Kostunica, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; Mr. Zoran Djindjic, President of the Government of Serbia; and Mr. Dragisa Pesic, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. President Kostunica informed the Patriarch about the current situation in Yugoslavia and remarked on Greece's contribution towards peace and recovery in the area after the end of the war. Mr. Kostunica presented the Patriarch of Alexandria with the decorational decree, the Yugoslav Star - the order of First Class, as recognition of his exceptional contribution to the development of friendly relations and his selfless support and assistance to the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At noon he attended a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Pesic.
He also met with Mr. Kostantinos Simitis, Prime Minister of Greece, who was concurrently visiting Serbia. Mr. Simitis was accompanied by his wife Dafni; Mr. George Papandreou; Mr. Andreas Lomvardos, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Tilemahos Hitiris, Deputy Minister of Press & Media; Ambassador Ioannis Zepos and others.
In the evening the Patriarch visited the Theological School of Beograd, where he received an honorary doctorate. Later on he attended a concert at the Lyric Theatre of Beograd and a dinner hosted by the Protopresbyter Radovan Bigovic, Dean of the Theological School.
On Saturday, May 11th, 2002, His Beatitude visited the eparchies of H.E. Vasilije, Bishop of Srem; of H.E. Irinej, Bishop of Backa; of H.G. Porfirije, Bishop of Jegar; and of H.E. Hrizostom, Bishop of Banat. He attended Doxology and Vespers services at the Cathedral of Karlovici, the Cathedral of Novi Sad, the Holy Monastery of Kovilj and the Cathedral of Zrenjanin. He also visited the Ecclesiastical Academy in Karlovici and attended lunches hosted by Mr. Tomislav Papic in Novi Sad and H.E. Hrizosotm in Zrenjanin.
On Sunday, May 12th, 2002, the Patriarch of Alexandria concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the Patriarch of Serbia at the magnificent Holy Church of St. Savvas in the presence of various ecclesiastical, political, civil, military and diplomatic officials and thousands of faithful.
In the evening he attended a reception hosted by the Patriarch of Serbia at the Patriarchal Palace. During the reception, Patriarch Pavle presented Patriarch Petros and his entourage with the Cross of the Patriarchate of Serbia. Among the many guests were the General Neborja Pavkovic, Chief of the Yugoslavian army, Mr. Dragolab Mijovanonic, Chairman of the House of Representatives and Cardinal Walter Kasper.
Later on he attended a dinner hosted in his honor by H.R.H. the Crown Prince Alexander ÉÉ Karadordevic and his wife Catherine at the Palace of Beograd.
On Monday, May 13th, 2002, the Patriarch visited the Summer Palace in Oplenac, its chapel and gardens and finally he attended a reception hosted by Prince Alexander.
Later on His Beatitude visited the eparchy of Sumadija and H.E. Vasilije, Bishop of Zvornik & Tuzla. He also visited the eparchy of H.E. Ignjatije, Bishop of Branicevo. He attended Doxology services at the Cathedral of Kragujevac and the Cathedral of Pozarevac. His Beatitude blessed the foundation stone of the Church of the New Martyrs of Kragujevac. Finally, he attended a lunch hosted by H.E. Vasilije and Mr. & Mrs. Jovan Alexic, founders of the new Church in Kragujevac.
In the evening the Patriarch attended a dinner hosted by H.E. Amr Khodeir Yehia, Ambassador of Egypt, at the Ambassador's residence. Among the guests were hierarchs and clergy of the two Patriarchates; Sheikh Handi Bahaji; the Crown Prince Alexander ÉÉ Karadordevic and his wife Catherine and Mr. M. Spinellis, Ambassador of Greece. During the dinner His Beatitude presented Ambassador Yehia with a silver tray bearing the emblem of the Patriarchate and referred to the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in Egypt, stating that it is something that must be modeled by other countries as well. His Beatitude asked Ambassador Yehia to extend to H.E. Mohamed Hosni Moubarak, President of Egypt and Mr. Ahmed Maher, Minister of Foreign Affairs, his gratitude and thankfulness for the protection and security that the Patriarchate and its faithful receive in Egypt.
On Tuesday, May 14th, 2002, the Patriarch visited the military base in Batajnica where he was welcomed by General Vladimir Startevic, Chief of the Yugoslavian Air Force. Later on he flew in a military airplane to the city of Potgorica, the capital of Montenegro, where he was welcomed by H.E. Amfilojije, Bishop of Montenegro & Primorje; H.E. Joanikije, Bishop of Budimlje; Mr. Philip Bujanovic, Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Montenegro; Mr. Bogoljub Sijakovic, Minister of Religious Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; Mr. Sotirios Athanasiou, Consul General of Greece and others.
The Patriarch then attended a Doxology Services at the Cathedral of Cetinje, the Cathedral of Podgorica and the Cathedral of Niksic. The Patriarch met with the political leaders of Montenegro and also visited the Holy Monastery of Ostrog where lunch was offered.
In the evening His Beatitude arrived by car in Bosnia - Herzegovina. At the borders of the country he was welcomed by H.E. Grigorije, Bishop of Zahum & Herzegovina. Later on he arrived at the city of Trebinje where he was warmly received by H.E. Mirko Sarovic, President of Serbian Federal Republic of Bosnia - Herzegovina; H.E. Nikolaj, Bishop of Dabar Bosna; H.E. Longin, Bishop of New Gracanica (America & Canada); Mr. Mihail Mianovic, Mayor of Trebinje; Mr. Dusan Antelje, Minister of Religious Affairs and thousands of faithful of whom many were the faithful's youth. During his stay in Trebinje, the Patriarch attended a Doxology Service at the Cathedral. His Beatitude received a Decorational Decree with a Star from President Sarovic, visited the Church where the relics of the famous poet Johan Dudcic are laid and attended an official dinner hosted by President Sarovic.
On Wednesday, May 15th, 2002, the Patriarch visited the Holy monastery in Tverjdoz. Later on he returned to Podgorica, where he met with Prime Minister Philip Bujanovic.
At noon His Beatitude returned back to Beograd. As soon as he arrived he had lunch with General Vladimir Startevic.
In the evening he attended a press conference. Later, he attended a dinner hosted by H.E. Michael Spinellis, the Ambassador of Greece. During the dinner the Patriarch expressed his gratitude to Mr. Spinellis for Greece's love and concern for the Patriarchate and asked him to extend this gratitude and appreciation to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Greek Government.
On Thursday, May 16th, 2002, the Patriarch visited places of interest in Beograd and later on met with Patriarch Pavle. The two Patriarchs reviewed the minutes of the very successful official visit, marked the importance of such visits for the moral support of the faithful and the strengthening of the relationship between the two Churches and finally exchanged gifts.
At noon the Patriarch attended a farewell lunch hosted by the Patriarch of Serbia. Later on he departed from Beograd to Alexandria via Athens. In his short stay in Athens he visited H.B. Chrysostomos, Archbishop of Cyprus, who is hospitalized in the intensive care unit of 'Evangelismos' hospital. Archbishop Chrysostomos expressed his joy at seeing Patriarch Petros. His Beatitude informed the Head of the Church of Cyprus about his visit to Serbia. The Patriarch also met with H.G. Vasilios, Bishop of Trimithos and the attendant doctors where he was informed about the good progress in the recovery of the Archbishop's health.
THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA IN UGANDA
On Saturday, May 25th, 2002, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa arrived in Uganda for a pastoral visit to the Orthodox faithful of the country. Members of his entourage were: H.E. Chrysostom, Metropolitan of Kition (Church of Cyprus); H.E. Irineos, Metropolitan of Pilousion; Archimandrite Ioakim Kontovas and Archimandrite Dimitrios Zacharegkas.
At the airport of Entebbe His Beatitude was welcomed by H.E. Ionas, Metropolitan of Kampala; H.E. Makarios, Metropolitan of Kenya & Irinoupolis; Mr. Theodore Sekikub, a Member of the House of Parliament; Mr. Nicholas Roussos, Honorary Consul of Cyprus; Mr. Mohammed El Moula and Mr. Mohammed Abdel Aziz from the Embassy of Egypt; local clergy and a great number of faithful.
Upon his arrival, the Patriarch attended a Doxology service at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Kampala. His Beatitude thanked the faithful for their love and meekness and expressed his wish that they continue to have such a love and dedication to the church and its missionary work as Africa seeks the truth of the Gospel and authentic Christian love in action.
Later on the Patriarch attended a cultural presentation which included religious and traditional songs and dances. At noon H.E. Ionas hosted a lunch in honor of the Patriarch including as guests all the local clergy and many faithful. His Beatitude mentioned that this lunch reminded him of the Agape meals from early Christian times. His Beatitude assured the local faithful that they are an integral part of the Church of St. Mark.
That evening the Patriarch blessed the opening of the new Mission & Conference Center of the Diocese. His Beatitude expressed his wish that this project become the beginning of other such projects so that the Orthodox Church of Uganda may become a model not only for the Orthodox Christians but for others as well.
In the evening the Patriarch attended the Vespers service at the Cathedral and inspected the various missionary projects. He also met with the local clergy where he gave instructions and directions for fruitful missionary work, emphasizing the value and need of the clergy to be humble and the importance of being a role model for the faithful and society. Later on he attended the dinner hosted in his honor by Mr. Konstantinos Nikolaidis, Honorary Consul of Greece. During the dinner the Patriarch highlighted the contribution of Greece to the missionary work of the Patriarchate within the African continent.
On Sunday, the Patriarch visited the city of Degeya and presided over the Divine Liturgy and the consecration of the Church of the Transfiguration of our Lord. In his sermon the Patriarch expressed his emotion at visiting the city of Degeya, where the missionary work started some decades ago. This was the place where the first Africans were baptized Orthodox and the first parish was founded. Among the attendees were Mr. Kiddu Makubuya, Minister of Education and Sports; Mr. Kisamba Mugerwa, Minister of Agriculture; the Roman Catholic Bishop of the area; Members of the House of Parliament; other ecclesiastical, civil and military officials and many faithful.
Later on he attended special festivities organized by the 1700 students of the Orthodox schools of Degeya. An open luncheon followed attended by more than 6000 Orthodox faithful. After the luncheon, His Beatitude visited the schools, blessed the teachers and students and distributed writing materials to the children.
That evening the Patriarch visited the Culture and Sport Center 'Acropolis'. During his stay there he attended a special celebration and was shown around the premises of the center by its Director, Mr. Musone Nteyafas, who is a member of the Orthodox Church.
On Monday, May 27th, 2002, His Beatitude visited the city of Katente. Upon his arrival he attended a Doxology service at the Holy Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos. The Patriarch then visited the hovel church, which was built in 1937, where he prayed for the repose of the soul of Fr. Yonasan Luganda (+1972), the first priest and missionary of the area.
His Beatitude then blessed the opening of the newly built Presbytery, elementary school, boarding house for girls and residences for the teachers. He also visited the land where the diocese is going to soon build the first Orthodox orphanage for boys in Uganda. Finally His Beatitude attended special festivities organized by the 800 students of the Orthodox schools of the area.
Later on the Patriarch paid a courtesy visit to the Embassy of Egypt. Mr. Maasoum Marzouk, Ambassador of Egypt and the rest of the staff welcomed him very warmly. Ambassador Marzouk thanked the Patriarch for the honor of his visit and marked the contribution of the Patriarchate and Hellenism in the development and the promotion of Egypt worldwide. He also congratulated the Patriarch on his initiatives for peace in the area highlighting the Palestinian issue.
His Beatitude thanked the Ambassador for the warm welcome and the recognition of the Patriarchate's contribution. His Beatitude asked the Ambassador to extend his gratitude and appreciation to the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt for the protection that the Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox faithful have received in the land of Nile for the last 1400 years in addition to the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslim, which His Beatitude mentioned should be a model for other nations as well. Finally His Beatitude presented the Ambassador with a silver tray bearing the emblem of the Patriarchate.
Later on the Patriarch attended a dinner hosted in his honor by Mr. Nicholas Roussos, Honorary Consul of Cyprus. Among the guests were Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala; the Ambassador of Egypt; Mr. K. Nikolaidis; Mr. Kabaka, as a representative of the King of Uganda and members of the Greek and Russian communities of Uganda. During the dinner His Beatitude thanked Mr. Roussos for the honor and remarked on the contribution of the Church of Cyprus to the missionary work of the Patriarchate. His Beatitude then referred to the issue of Cyprus and expressed his wish that, as a Cypriot and as a Patriarch, a fair solution would be reached as soon as possible.
On Tuesday morning, May 28th, 2002, the Patriarch met with the local clergy at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas. The Patriarch urged them to try their best for a fruitful pastorate, to collaborate with their Bishop and he expressed his joy and satisfaction at the successful missionary and social work to date. The Patriarch then asked them to pray for the Patriarchate and their Patriarch.
Later on the Patriarch departed by car for Bukoba, Tanzania.
THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA IN A PASTORAL VISIT TO BUKOBA (TANZANIA)
On Tuesday, May 28th, 2002, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, departed by car from Kampala to Bukoba, Tanzania. Members of his entourage were H.E. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Kition; H.E. Irineos, Metropolitan of Pilousion; H.E. Ionas, Metropolitan of Kampala; H.E. Makarios, Metropolitan of Kenya; the Very Revd. Ioakim Kontovas and the Very Revd. Dimitrios Zacharengkas. At the boarder of the country the Patriarch was welcomed by H.G. Ieronymos, Bishop of Bukoba and the local clergy.
In the evening His Beatitude arrived in Bukoba. He was warmly received by the local clergy, nuns and volunteer missionaries from Greece and a great number of the faithful. Upon his arrival at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos the Patriarch attended a Doxology service. H.G. Ieronymos welcomed the Head of the Church of Alexandria and thanked him for honoring his Diocese with this patriarchal visit. H.G. Ieronymos marked the historical significance of the visit as it is the first time a Patriarch has visited the area. Further, he highlighted the Patriarch's love for missionary work and his African brothers and sisters.
With deep emotion His Beatitude expressed his thanks for the love and honor he received. He expressed his joy for once again being with people that love Orthodoxy and people that he has known for many years, from the time that he was Exarch in East Africa. The Patriarch then assured everyone of his love with the following words: 'my presence here today is an expression of my paternal love and concern for my flock in Bukoba and for all my African children'.
Special festivities and a dinner followed. Later on the Patriarch met privately with H.E. Ionas, H.E. Makarios and H.G. Ieronymos.
On Wednesday, May 29th, 2002, His Beatitude presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Church of the Annunciation of Theotokos.
In his sermon, amidst references to the gospel reading of the day, the Patriarch urged the neophyte Christians to cultivate love for Jesus in their hearts and to be joyful in their lives. He thanked those who traveled from other areas in order to get the blessing of their Patriarch and thanked H.E. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Kition, for his great contribution to the missionary work of the Patriarchate, especially for his contribution in supporting the Diocese of Bukoba by donating $3700 - USD, building two new Churches and offering medicine and other material aid. Finally, the Patriarch presented the icon of St. Mark for the Church and distributed school materials to the children.
Special festivities and a luncheon followed. Later on the Patriarch visited the District Office and the City Hall. His Beatitude thanked the civil authorities for the warm welcome and honor he received, for their contribution in offering land to build new Churches, schools, health centers and other philanthropic institutions and then referred to the history of the Patriarchate and its missionary and social work in Africa.
That evening the Patriarch visited the Holy Church of the Disciples of Jesus, which is downtown and is under construction. On the occasion of this Patriarchal visit, special festivities followed and His Beatitude thanked all the attendees for this honor and their love and dedication to the Patriarchate. Finally he distributed toys to the children and sweets to the people.
Later on the Patriarch attended a dinner hosted in his honor by H.G. Ieronymos. During the dinner the Patriarch urged all the Orthodox faithful of the area to work with faith for the benefit of the Church.
On Thursday, May 30th, 2002, His Beatitude departed for Dar Es Salaam. At the airport of Bukoba he was wished farewell by H.E. Ionas, H.G. Ieronymos, local clergy and thousands of faithful.