Σάββατο 5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2015

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

Umuho-Okabia village, Imo State. Photo from here.


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 see of Nigeria was established as a diocese in 1997 by a Patriarchal and Synodal Decree. Subsequently, the see was raised to the dignity of an archdiocese in October 2004. 
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 (from here).
The map from here
"...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...." (from here).
Metropolitan Alexandros of Nigeria

His Eminence, the Most Reverend Alexandros (Gianniris) of Nigeria is Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Nigeria, part of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa.

George Gianniris was born in Athens in 1960 and gained his collegiate education at the Faculty of Pastoral and Social Theology of the University of Thessalonica from which he graduated. He entered the clergy through the Patriarchate of Alexandria and was ordained a deacon on October 1, 1988. He was ordained a priest on the following day, October 2. Following his ordination Fr. George served as the Superior at the Patriarchal Church of the Holy Unmercenaries in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria as well as secretary of the Archdiocese. He was appointed Director of the Private Patriarchal Office in April 1997.
On September 23, 1997, Fr. George was elected Bishop of the newly formed see of Nigeria. His consecration took place on November 24, 1997. He was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan on October 27, 2004. 

Missionary walk through the hills of Central Nigeria

Country: | Diocese:

A Mission team from the Metropolis of Nigeria visited the green hills of central Nigeria, Benue State, the Tiv tribe after Easter. The team consisted of Metropolitan Alexander, archimandrite Cornelius and the indigenous priest-monks f. Nephon and f. Andrew as well as presbyter f. Christian.
The Orthodox presence here started 7 years ago with the strange ways of God, which reveal His wish to unveil the fullness of His Truth, wherever, whenever and however He pleases and thinks fit. Then two young men, being well-educated and having special spiritual and social concerns, joined our Orthodox family and became heralds of its message, initially to their own people, their families.
It took big efforts and plenty of time for them to face all the challenges, but their zeal was fervent, their faith, patience and perseverance big, and their prayer ardent. Those benevolent young men of yesterday are our priests today, f. Christian and f. Nephon. It is them that later on f. Andrew joined.
The region is tough and problematic with a large percentage of illiteracy, lack of basic infrastructure in education and health, tragic shortage of drinkable water, absence of road network, polygamy, paganism, unemployment and of course, absence of hope and vision for the majority of youth.
On Saturday morning 18th May in Adikpo village was the inauguration of the Holy Church of Saint Charalambos, the first Orthodox Church in the region, while on the noon of the same day was the christening of about 50 children and adults. On Sunday 19th May, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated with the participation of a few dozens of faithful as well as local rulers. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the Bishop honored several laypersons, men and women, for their contribution to the work of the local church. The first permanent parish priest of the region, priest-monk f. Andrew, received a very warm welcome by the flock, as he was called to undertake a particularly difficult task.


The next day and after a tiring and eventful journey, the team reached the village of Karmek, at the parish of Christ. Absolute poverty!! The residents’ houses, huts made from mud and straw. The Holy Church was only wooden poles with a thatched roof. So was the school. The pupils were hungry, barefoot children in torn, shabby clothes. Lots of them with serious bowel diseases and typhus due to lack of drinkable water. It was in an emotionally atmosphere that the foundation stone for the school was laid -God only knows how and when it will be built. What followed was a gathering in the Church, where words of hope and consolation were said, an icon of Christ in their hands and a cross around their neck, their Bishop’s blessing. Present were lots of the village people as well, elders, women, men and children, who left behind their work in the fields in order to come, see and listen.
After a long stay there, the Mission moved to another place of absolute, abject poverty and wretchedness, the newly established community of the Holy Cross. Underneath some huge trees that lovingly offer their shadow to the faithful, assembled a few dozens of people, especially young ones, in order to listen to their priests, receive their blessing and pray with them. Faces furrowed by the sun, tired from hardships and privation, hardened hands, calloused by the daily toil on the land. The hard work for a single plate of food that has to be shared by the family, the life in the mud huts, without drinkable water or electricity, without medication. There in the most fertile part of the country, with a huge food production, these people are victims of unacceptable economic systems and social structures.
Two more days full of reverence were spent in that region with gatherings of catechists and parish councils, followed by a march to east Nigeria, where most of our Orthodox parishes are.
Everyone’s prayer in the Orthodox Church of Nigeria is that the Grace of God may cover and protect the new charismatic priest-monk of the region, f. Andrew, support and strengthen our brothers in the distress and hardships they go through daily.

May His Grace give strength and courage to all of us in order to walk forward “even when the doors are shut” and carry the message of the Resurrection, the hope for the new world of the Kingdom of God.
With a grateful heart and blessings

Metropolitan Alexander of Nigeria


Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdioceseof North America

clip_image001In a recent letter to OCMC, Metropolitan Alexander, of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria, greeted all who have supported the work of this church:  “You all have left a green leaf in our hearts.”  His Eminence’s comments followed the recent celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria.
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.
In his letter, Archbishop Alexander encouraged the Nigerian faithful toward “a deep reflection and concentration on our vocation, our ministry…for greater spiritual pursuits, for more intensive and warm prayer life, so as to be able with ‘naked intuition’ to listen every moment to ‘what the Spirit says to the Churches’ (Rev. 2:29).” 
His Eminence also shared what wonderful opportunities there are within the Archdiocese to “perceive the certainty of the love, mercy, and the grace of God; His inexorable providence and divine intervention.”  Metropolitan Alexander praised those who, seizing these opportunities, are brought by God to carry the cross, to reveal the Gospel in Nigeria.
His Eminence also expressed his deep thanks for the support that the Orthodox Churches in North America have given to the Nigerian faithful through OCMC.  There are currently 11 Nigerian priests being supported through the Support A Mission Priest (SAMP) program, and many American faithful have also directly supported the Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria both financially and in prayer.
Through the “men and women of deep faith and piety” who have contributed to the Nigerian church, the soil has been enriched, the Light of Christ has shown forth, and the water of Life has continued to be poured out upon this country and its beautiful people.  The result has been growth, a “green leaf” in the hearts of all, both in Nigeria and in North America.
May this important work continue, and may the Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria flourish and enjoy many years!

From www.ocmc.org

See also

Orthodox Churches in Nigeria – A result of spiritual searches of the Nigerians themselves! (& 10 Orthodox Churches in Nigeria)
L’Eglise orthodoxe : Archidiocèse du Nigéria
Orthodox Missionary Fraternity - Nigeria
Orthodox Church in Nigeria, “Support Education – Combat Poverty” : Nursery / Primary School in Karmem, Benue, Nigeria
Momentous statements by the Metropolitan Alexander of Nigeria, in the cadre of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church
L’Eglise orthodoxe : Archidiocèse du Nigéria

Orthodox Nigeria
Orthodox Benin
Orthodox Togo
Orthodox Niger
Nigeria: seeking Christ amid increased dangers...
Orthodox Missionary Fraternity - Nigeria

"THE WAY" - An Introduction to the Orthodox Faith
In Search of Orthodoxy
Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa (& the Decolonization of Africa)
The Orthodox Church in Uganda, an outgrowth of indigenous self discovery
How “White” is the Orthodox Church?
Patriarchate of Alexandria Archdiocese website
In the Orthodox Vineyard of Africa
Theosis (deification): The True Purpose of Human Life

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