Πέμπτη, 20 Αυγούστου 2015

The Orthodox Church in Congo & Gabon & the Orthodox University "St. Athanasius Athonite"

Archdiocese of Central Africa

Photo from the article Responsibility Tour to the far ends of the Congo


The Holy Archdiocese of Central Africa 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 Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC) and the Congolese Republic (Congo-Brazzaville). 


The Archdiocese of Central Africa was established in 1958 by the Patriarchate of Alexandria with Archbishop Kyprianos as the first ruling hierarch. He was succeeded by Bp. Nicodemus. In 1977, Bp. Timothy (Kontomeros) became the ruling bishop of the missionary activities of the diocese until his repose in 2003.
In 2003, Archimandrite Ignatios (Madenlidis), who had been a missionary in Kananga for twenty years, was consecrated as the Archbishop of Central Africa. After his resignation in 2010, Archimandrite Nikiforos (Mikragiannanitis) was consecrated on October 24, 2010 and enthroned in the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas in Kinshasa on December 19, 2010. [1]

Ruling Bishops

Holy Thursday: Dying red eggsPhoto from the article Postcard from the Congo

  1. History of the Archdiocese
See also
Further reading

The Official site of the Archdiocese of Central Africa of the Orthodox Church
Patriarchate of Alexandria Archdiocese website
The Ceremony of the Great Message of the Elected Metropolitan Nikiphoros of Central Africa

Photo from the article “The Voice of Orthodoxy” (DRC)
From the official site of the Archdiocese:
History of the Archdiocese

Since 19th century, Greeks, Russians, Romanians and other Orthodox Europeans came to Congo to work as staff, businessmen, merchants, farmers, innkeepers, etc. Very soon the doctor Panayiotis Potogkos in 1872 became the Greek explorer who set foot on Congolese soil and selflessly offered medical services.
After the assembly of Orthodox populations, the Patriarch of Alexandria founded in 1958 the Archdiocese of Central Africa and Exarch of the Ecuador (you can view the Patriarchal Tome (in Greek) that established the Metropolis of Central Africa here), with Kyprianos as the first Archbishop. Kyprianos was succeeded by Nicodemus, and he by Timothy Kontomeros in 1977 who worked as a missionary until his death in 2003.
In 2003, His Beatitude Patriarch Petros VII ordained Archimandrite Ignatios Madenlidis as Archbishop of Central Africa. He worked as a missionary for about twenty years in Kananga, and resigned in 2010.
In October 2010, the Holy Synod of the Church of Alexandria elected Archimandrite Nikiforos Mikragiannanitis, professor and general academic secretary of the Orthodox University of Central Africa. He was ordained a bishop on October 24 in Alexandria by the Pope and Patriarch Theodoros II, and was enthroned on December 19, 2010 in the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas in Kinshasa.
Today the jurisdiction of the Holy Archdiocese of Central Africa is the region of Congo, with the exception of the province of Katanga which is an autonomous diocese having as bishop His Grace Meletios Gregoriatis.
Within the Archdiocese of Central Africa there are 38 priests, 1 deacon and 3 monks serving. There are 13 community churches and 135 parishes, that provide spiritual guidance to the local Orthodox population, which consists of Congolese, Greeks, Russians, Romanians and Orthodox Christians from other nationalities.
In 2007, a faculty of Theology "St. Athanasius Athonite" was founded in the university,  in which 78 students are currently enrolled. The teachers are from Congo, Saint Sergius of Paris, Athens, Thessaloniki and Strasbourg. Furthermore, courses are delivered electronically successfully (e-learning).
At the expense of the Archdiocese, there are schools that operate with a large number of local students. (Only in the Central Missionary of Kananga, the Mission Complex consists of approximately 1000 students).
The Holy Metropolis of Central Africa performs multidimensional Orthodox social work.
The efforts of the Archdiocese are supported by visiting doctors from Greece, who volunteer their services to patients without religious motives.

Photo from here

The Orthodox University of Congo

Photo from here

From here

In the heart of the black continent, where people struggle daily for a meal and some fresh water, dozens of young people have the opportunity to pursue a better future by studying at an institution of higher education with a Greek flavor.
We are talking about the University of the Orthodox Church of Congo, which is a result of efforts by the Holy Metropolis of Central Africa and provides students with high quality education for free.
This unique university in the depths of French-speaking Africa is located in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Kinshasa, and is operating since 2007. For the time being, there is only one faculty of Orthodox Theology "Saint Athanasios Athonite" [biography here], but there are plans to introduce three more: information technology, agriculture and medicine. The license by the Education Ministry of Congo also allows the creation of veterinary faculty.
"Our goal was to create an orthodox university in french-speaking Africa, where academic knowledge from the orthodox schools of Europe can be transferred. Already there orthodox professors teaching from France, the University of Athens and the University of Thessaloniki. Some teach through distance learning and others by visiting" said Bishop Nikiforos of Central Africa.
St. Athanasios the Athonite & Theotokos

This effort have been rewarded with considerable success, since, as he says, the university ranked number eight amongst the higher education institutions of Congo, and would have ranked second had it not been for some shortcomings in the library.
Bishop Nikiforos also states that the University passed several inspections by the Ministry of Education, unlike many other private universities of Kinshasa which were shutdown.
Most importantly, he says, is the response of the people that have embraced the university. "I think the people are very enthusiastic and very positive towards us," says the Bishop, who notes that the demand is much greater than the available seats for students. "We have many applications, but we do not have enough space to accommodate everyone, as we also offer board."
Construction of the University facilities began in 2005 on land granted by the then President of the Greek Community of Kinshasa Sofiadis Constantine. The money for the construction came from individual donations and clubs such as the Orthodox Brotherhood of Foreign Missionaries of Thessaloniki, the club "Protoklitos" from Patra, the Missionary Society "Barnabas" from Larissa and the Greek community in the city.
In the center of the complex, designed by the architect and general patriarchal commissioner of Congo - Brazzaville Archimandrite Theologian Chryssanthakopoulos, is the Church of Saint Athanasios Athonite, which was built with expenses of the Holy Monastery of Great Lavra of Mount Athos. The academic organization of the university was designed by Bishop Nikiforos, who stresses that he had as models the Theological School of Halki and Athoniada Ecclesiastical Academy.
The establishment of the Theological School was the dream of the late Bishop Timothy. However, the founder of the university was the predecessor of Bishop Nikiforos and current Bishop of Pentapolis  Ignatios, who made strenuous efforts to raise money and monitor the overall progress of the project.
In his capacity as Chancellor of the University, Mr. Ignatius spoke at the "Espresso Sunday" giving some very interesting facts about the history and operation of the institution.
The first thing he notes is that the original intent of the Archdiocese was to create a Church Academy, but the Congolese Ministry of Education asked them to name the institution a university, as the term "Academy" is used to indicate institutions of a higher level than universities.
"No problem, we said, and we named it University," says Ignatius. As for the theological faculty, it was named after Saint Athanasios of Athos, who was head of the first university in Constantinople and built the monastery of Great Lavra.
Attendance at school is 5 years and the first batch of students will graduate in the academic year of 2011-2012. "If it were not for some technical difficulties, the IT and agronomical faculties would be already functioning, as everything else was ready. Also, the first floor of the planned medical faculty has already been built. I hope the plans will be implemented in early 2012. The distant future is in God hands, "says Ignatius.


The students currently attending the first four years amount to sixty-three. Their relatively small number isdue to objective difficulties:
These free services cover nutrition, sleeping, clothing, office stationery, and of course syllabus books. The Bishop added "The University has adequate dorms for next year, a library, a reading room, six classrooms, a computer room, offices, a lecture and ceremonies hall, a radio station, kitchen, a dining room, large garden with flowers and fruit trees, and a pitch of 30 for 100 yards. "
Students follow a rigorous daily schedule that begins at about 6 am. The taught courses are equivalent to those of the Theological School of Greece, and also modern and ancient Greek are taught, local dialects of the Congo, French, civic education, information technology, nursing and agronomic data, Byzantine music, etc.
Along with the lessons, students experience the Orthodox community tradition, church services, fasting and the Blessed Sacrament. They also operate the radio station "Voice of Orthodoxy". The publish the journal "Echo" and produce CDs with Byzantine hymns and psalms.
As graduates of an official university, they will be able to teach in primary and secondary schools, to be employed by the Church, and those who want and have no obstacles can become priests, "says Ignatius.

When asked what how the Greek Orthodox University is seen in Congo, the Bishop of Pentapolis responds that the University enjoys the full respect of the Ministry of Education and by the people.
"It is no exaggeration to say that among very few institutions, it is viewed as a supreme example to be followed, especially for the order and cleanliness it demonstrates, also by many people, judging by the requests for admittance by young people in our school," he says.
It should be noted that in the University, Greek scholars teach such as Professor Emeritus at the Democritus University of Thrace, Mr. Nikitas ALIPRANTIS, professors at the University of Athens and Michael Gregory PAPATHOMAS RALLIS and professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Mrs. Niki Papageorgiou.

See also

The historical background of the monastery in Kolwezi, Congo (DRC)
A medical clinic in the heart of the jungle
Postcard from the Congo

The official site of Arcdiocese of Central Africa in Eglish & in French.

Diocese of Katanga

Οrthodoxwiki (photo from here)

The Holy Diocese of Katanga, formerly the Diocese of Kolwezi, 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 a large area of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Diocese of Kolwezi was established by Patriarchal and Synodal decree on November 1, 2006. On October 9, 2009, the name of the diocese was changed from Kolwezi to Katanga by Patriarchal decree.

Ruling Bishop:
Meletios (Kamiloudes) 2006-Present 

Photos from the Orthodox Mission in Katanga, Congo

Bishop of Katanga with orthodox nuns Grerogia & Olymbias

The Holy Apostles monastery in Kolwezi (see here)

Diocese of Brazzaville and Gabon
Photo from here


The Diocese of Brazzaville and Gabon is a diocese under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. The territory of the diocese includes the parishes and missions located in the nations of Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, and Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic.


In 2004, Archimandrite Theologos (Chrysanthakopoulos) was assigned the responsibility for the mission in Congo Brazzaville which at that time was part of the Archdiocese of Central Africa. The mission was established as the Diocese of Brazzaville and Gabon by a Patriarchal and Synodal Decree on October 7, 2010 by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
A diocesan center has been developed in the city of Pointe Noire, where the Churches of St. Dimitrios the Myroblete and Ascension of the Lord have been completed. The Churches of St. Irene and St. Nicholas, as well as the orphanage, “Agios Efstathios”, have been established in the city of Dolisie. In the town of Nkayi the Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour has also been completed.
In Gabon during 2007, then under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Cameroon, a missionary group organized the first community of indigenous Orthodox Christians in the city of Libreville and has initiated the building of the Church of St. Dimitrios. 

Photo from the article Congo (Brazzaville): Look down from heaven and behold…

Ruling bishops 

Panteleimon (Arathymos) 2012 - Present
Archimandrite Theologos (Chrysanthakopoulos) Vicar 2004 - 2012 

See also

The Pygmies of the Congo are waiting for your support
Two miracles of the Holy Cross in Africa (Congo)

The official site of Diocese of Brazzaville & Gabon in Eglish & in French.

We are Going to Live in Paradise: Orthodoxy in Congo 

The Life and Legacy of Blessed Father Cosmas of Grigoriou
News & articles from the Orthodox Church & Mission in 


Diocese of Katanga

Orthodox Republic of Congo

2 σχόλια:

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