The Togo Orthodox Church was created on September 8th and although young, it comprises four religious communities, three in the South and one in the North of the country.
- The Nativity of the Mother of God Parish, to be found in the South-Eastern Lomé neighborhood of Bê-Attiégou.
- The Community of the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul in the city of Kpalimé (Plateaux Region, Togo)
- The Community of the Dormition of the Mother of God, in the Ahépé village (South-East Togo), 80 km North of Lomé.
- The Raphaël de Kara community, which gathers Orthodox followers from the North of the country.
Parishes and Communities
The Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God Parish in Lomé
In 2012, the Lomé parish is the only one to have a building to celebrate its religious festivals in, the”Most Holy Mother of God Church” in Bê-Attiégou.
Liturgical celebrations by Father Thomas at the Parish of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in Lomé ( Bê-Attiégou)
The Orthodox Church in Togo has several missionary projects, among which are plans of building new parishes for the newly converted and plans of building new schools. The Church wants to offer newly baptized members buildings where they can celebrate the Mysteries of the faith so that Orthodoxy can take root and spread throughout the country. Therefore, the Church needs help to carry these projects out.
The Saint Raphaël de Kara Community
At the end of 2012, the Saint Raphaël community counted over two hundred followers. This community owns a piece of land in the city of Kara that it wishes to build a church on. Therefore, it calls on the Orthodox communities that could help it build this site of worship for the followers in the North of the country.
Followers of the Saint Raphaël de Kara Community
Geographic situation of Orthodox parish communities in Togo in 2012
The ASSEDD-TOGO Association
The Orthodox Church in Togo created in 2010 the ASSEDD-TOGO Association to help the victims of growing poverty, which is a result of the successive economic and plitical crisis that the country has known during the first decade of the XXIst century.
ASSEDD-TOGO has the legal status of an association, under the 1901 law. It is recognised by the Ministry of territorial administration and by local communities and was registered on the 19th October 2010 under : 0835/MATDCL-SG-DLPAP-DOCA
Togo has a secular political régime and due to the law on the separation of church and state, ASSEDD-TOGO, as an association established under the 1901 law, has the status of a privilged partner of the Orthodox Church in its relations with authorities and public institutions. It helps the Church carry out its social projects. It has already started its sanitary, social and educational activities aimed at helping the most needy : the victims of unemployment, of precariousness and poverty in Attiégou, a neighbourhood in the capital. These activities then spread to other cities in the country.
ASSEDD-TOGO is currently present in the North and the South of the country. It is recognised by regional prefectoral authorities and by the traditional chiefs who encourage and support its actions.
The nursing staff of the Orthodox Church has set up a medical center in the Bê-Attiégou neighborhood, in South-East Lomé. This center offers medical care at a low cost or free of charge for the destitute. It also promotes prevention and education in the health field.
Center for psychological and psychiatrical health care
The “Hope for the Mentally Ill” Association is one of the Church’s social initiatives. It was created in the Soumbou village, in Northern Togo.
This center offers moral and medical care (oriented towards traditional pharmacopeia) to people suffering from psychological disorders or psychiatric illness. Often, the family of the person suffering from such a disorder rejects the person and does not have the means to provide the care needed. Therefore, The Association gathers the patients and provides them with therapeutic follow-up in an appropriate environment. Moreover, according to the objectives that it has set out in its statute, the Association offers vocational training to patients who have fully or partially recovered, in view of their reintegration into society. One of its other priorities is to develop a pharmacopeia promoting traditional medicinal plants which are known to be effective in treating certain mental illnesses.
A 12-hectare farm was established at Kpalimé, in the central Plateau Region, in order to develop the food self-sufficiency of the Ahépé students and teachers and of the staff involved in the Church’s different projects. The Church chose this fertile and luxuriant region because of its warm climate which is favorable to vegetable, cereal and tuber (such as yams and cassava) crops which will be, in a first instance, the farm’s main production. In 2013 this project will be completed by a small livestock farm, which will breed poultry, caprines and ovines.
Views from the Kpalimé region
The Kpalimé farm and the Ahépé school complex benefitted from substantial donations from members of Orthodox churches in France and Greece. These friends of the Church have covered the full cost of buying the land and of the construction of the buildings.
The members of the young Orthodox Church in Togo would therefore like to express their deepest appreciation to them.
The educational structures in Ahépé
The Ahépé village, in South-Eastern Togo is 80 km away from the capital, Lomé, and is part of the Yoto prefecture. The village community around Ahépé has 50.000 inhabitants. The main activity in the region is agriculture.
Ahépé has two primary schools, a General and Secular School and a public High School.
Students lack references in the cultural domain because there is no library or any cultural and educational infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why the completion rate for children in this region as low as 25% for all classes (for the year 2005-2006) and why so many of them drop out of school, after repeated failures. The completion rate in better equipped regions of the country is of 75%.
A primary school and a Secondary College in Ahépé
The recently established Orthodox Church in Togo(Septmeber 2005) has been offered a one hectare (10.000m2) piece of land in Ahépé. This land was offered by local chiefs and dignitaries who have recently converted to Orthodoxy. With the benediction of its bishop, Monsignor Alexandros, Metropolitan of the Nigerian Archdiocese, the Church has launched the project of building a parish on this land. This parish will be under the protection of the Mother of God and it will be called “The Church of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God”. Its role is to cater, at the population’s demand, to the need for schooling of the children in the region. The Orthodox Church has in fact started building a primary and a general school, both within the “The Orthodox Institute of the Dormition of the Mother of God “, in August 2008.
The Orthodox Church is still young and can not cover the cost of all of these projects on its own. Therefore, it needs to be helped in its missionary work and its educational projects which aim at educating children in the region and providing them with teachings and a cultural basis which respect faith and put it at the center of human life.
Our missionary work is meant to offer reference points to young people in Togo and to help them fight against fear and doubt in a changing world that does not offer any clear guidelines. It is thus meant to help young people reach their full potential and find their place in society. It would also like to help them find satisfying answers to their quest for the truth in the Christian Revelation.
The current buildings of the primary and the secondary college
The donations received by the Orthodox Church in Togo have enabled the buidling of a hangar (a brick building open on three sides called “appatam”) fitted with school desks. This houses 1st and 2nd grade classes. The donations have also enabled the construction of six other classes which should be operational at the beginning of the school year 2012-2013. The Institute would need further funding to complete, in the future, the whole school complex and therefore to build the remaining classes for the primary and secondary schools.
The construction of the school buildings (March 2012)
In practical terms :
We would like the Orthodox Institute of Our Lady’s Dormition to dispose of the means that would enable it to offer to the young people in the region an environment of educational, social and cultural development. The Institute intends to help young people gain :
- a better understanding of the world and its cultural diversity, which will guarantee the tolerance, respect and acceptance of others,
- an attitude of respect and protection towards nature and a wish to safeguard it,
- the ability to express themselves freely and assert their own convictions and faith while respecting the opinions of others,
- awareness of the crisis that affect the world’s affairs, in order to better contribute to finding solutions to issues.
In order to accomplish this, we need to build not only school buildings, but also a library covering a wide cultural range, with books which can either be borrowed or read on the premises. The library should also offer cultural animations such as film or documentary projections.
In August 2012, the students and teachers in Ahépé were sent a first shipment of about a thousand books and text books for the elementary and secondary schools. These were collected in France, in institutions in the Yvelines department and the Ile-de-France region and also thanks to generous donators. Another one of the Institute’s projects is to establish a sports and outdoor leisure field.