Consecration of the Cathedral in Accra - Ghana 29/09/02 (English)
SPEECH OF HIS BEATITUDE PETROS VII, POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AND ALL AFRICA DURING THE CONSECRATION OF THE HOLY CHURCH OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD AND ST. NICHOLAOS
Accra, Ghana (29/9/02)
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Luke the Apostle and Evangelist explains the relationship between fellowmen by stating the following: ‘And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them’ (Luke 6:31).
Man lives his life according to his will and satisfaction. He also wants other men to behave the way that he would like them to. This in reality is very selfish and illogical. In life we should give to others and not only take from them. Everybody has various desires they wish to fulfil, but at some stage we should acknowledge that there are many duties we are called to perform.
Unfortunately in these times, Christians have set up their own faith, a new Christianity according to their needs and rules.
St. Luke continues and provides us with the example of the real Christian. Who is a real Christian? The one who loves everybody, even his enemies.
The splendour of Christianity and Orthodoxy is in this individuality. Someone who has the strength, courage and boldness to love without distinction all people, even his enemies.
This is the whole idea and the message of the reading of the Gospel that we heard today, to love others and to care about them. If we practice this in our lives then we will be able to reach our destiny, which is the salvation of our souls. The consecration of this Church today is a witness and confirmation of this kind of love, which is love for humankind. Because of this love you have responded to the call of your Bishop; you have contributed to the foundation and the completion of this Church. This is the deepest meaning of Christian love. You do not have to be a relative or a friend of the Bishop or any of the clergy to contribute to the Church. However it is a primary care and duty of each Christian to offer any kind of donation, to contribute to the needs of the Church in any way.
You can not consider a community Christian if there is no place to worship, which is the Church.
Here we are today. We offer this consecrated Church to God with your love, which is a generous offer of the Orthodox Mission Center of America. This Church is going to be an infirmary for the soul and a center of healing for every spiritual disease. Through the Holy Sacraments of the Church all spiritual diseases can be cured. It depends on our will to access this Sacramental power and be released from any affliction of our souls.
All of you must know that for man to purify his soul must come to the Church. There, the Holy Sacraments of the Church performed by the priest can purify our souls and deliver them immaculate to the hands of God.
We should participate in the services of the Church regularly. We should entrust our problems to God and the Church. We should be proud for this Church, which is a project of your love. We should love this Church and look after it.
It is with great joy and deep emotion that we present this Church consecrated and sanctified today. It is also my duty to express my gratitude not only to my beloved brother in Christ, His Grace Bishop Panteleimon, for his effective contribution to the completion of this Church, but to everybody that contributed in any way to the fulfilment of this blessed event. I also extend to you my paternal love and wish that the God of mercy will reward your hard works. May His grace also bless and sanctify you. Amen!