GREETING MESSAGEOF HIS BEATITUDE THEODOROS II, POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA & ALL AFRICA
Dear and blessed Members of the Missionary Shelter (Ierapostoliki Stegi) “Saint Dionysius of Olympus” , may grace and mercy by the All-Good God be with you.
From our Seat of the Great City of Alexandria, we greet with particular joy the Members of the Association Missionary Shelter (IerapostolikiStegi) “Saint Dionysius of Olympus” , which the last few years,with the grace of God, advances by leaving the mark of the social, patriotic and pious presence there of.
Christ Himself guides us with His divine words: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John, 14:6). This truth is served by the ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa throughout Africa, (the continent) of the people and cultures. The Missionary Church of Alexandria, remaining faithful to the Lord’s exhortation to the Apostles: “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew, 28:19-20), marches to every corner of the African land, scattering light, joy and hope to everyone.
We boast in Lord, because this day, despite the concurrence of unfortunate events, the work of the Mission in Central Tanzania is extended to the glory of God.
We express our thanks and patriarchal gratification for your support and contribution to the work of the Mission, to our indigenous brothers and sisters in need in Tanzania, and for the passionate cooperation in the hard-working pastoral service of His Grace Agathonikos Bishop of Arusha and Central Tanzania.
The Patriarchal blessing of the Apostle and Evangelist Markmay accompany you in your works
With wishes and blessings,
Theodoros II, Patriarch of Alexandria
† THEODOROS II
Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa
In the Great City of Alexandria
On the 3rd of September 2020
GREETING MESSAGE OF HIS GRACE AGATHONIKOS BISHOP OF ARUSHA & CENTRAL TANZANIA
In every worship and eucharistic gathering, we constantly repeat our faith and devotion to the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”. Inspired by the word “catholic”, the mind automatically races to the duty and mission of the Church to include in its arms all men, all people of the earth. This is what the holy Apostles did, obeying the command of the Lord, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew, 28: 19), reaching to the ends of the earth.
Nowadays, this command of Christ has faded in the conscience of the citizens of the “modern” world. A great temptation for those serving in the Mission is the feeling of loneliness and “abandonment” in a never-ending route, in paths that are gnarled and inaccessible. However, the Grace of God comes and soothes the pain of the soul and clears the clouds of the temptations, thus opening new horizons for the continuation of the work.
Four years ago, while commencing this journey for my transition to Tanzania, with the blessing of my Patriarch, together with my brother Hieromonk Porphyrios, I pondered over the enormous work that was unfolding before our eyes and how all this effort would be supported so that works of vital significance could be carried out for the relief of our afflicted brothers and sisters.
The Missionary Shelter (Ierapostoliki Stegi) “Saint Dionysius of Olympus” was found a great helper and supporter in the difficult work of our Diocese. Having our Elder, Archimandrite Maximos, as prime mover, and all members of the Association as our supporters, the Missionary Shelter (Ierapostoliki Stegi) has a prolific charitable work to show, which exceeds the narrow limits of the Greek territory, thus reaching up to our Diocese in Central Tanzania.
With the help of the Association boreholes were drilled in arid, bone-dry regions, meals of love (soup kitchens) are offered, food is distributed and the operation of educational institutions is helped. The effort to find medical machinery for the equipment of our polyclinic in the mission center of Kindamali is worth mentioning. Above all, however, the Association participates in the pre-eminent work of the Mission, which is the evangelization of nations. Through various actions, money was raised for the construction of churches and the renovation of the existing ones.
A great work is currently unfolding before our eyes, my brothers and sisters. In the city of Arusha, where the seat of our Diocese is located, the necessary works for the construction of a Mission Center have started, which shall include a Holy Church dedicated to our Most Holy Theotokos, with the chapels of Saint Dionysius and Saint Ekaterini attached thereto. In an area that is bristling with protestant outgrowths, opponent of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos, the Church of our Theotokos shall become a center of action and a reference point of the overall mission effort and Orthodox testimony in Central Tanzania. However, in order for this daring undertaking to be realized, we once again appeal to your charitable hearts to support with all your heart the work that is unfolding before us, to the glory of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos.
We are particularly grateful because throughout these three years of the operation of our Association, your help and support has been undivided. Your interest in the progress of the work and your wishes constantly arrive like the dew of Hermon and strengthen us in difficult moments of our daily life in Africa.
I humbly wish that the Lord direct everyone’s life towards the good, through the petitions of the Most Holy Theotokos and our devout father Saint Dionysius of Olympus.
† Bishop Agathonikos of Arusha
GREETING MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT
The Missionary Shelter (Ierapostoliki Stegi) “Saint Dionysius of Olympus” was established with the love and care of the friends of the homonymous Monastery of Olympus in July 2017, in order to support the missionary work in Africa and in general to support our poor brothers and sisters in our country’s mainland.
The Orthodox Mission that is inspired by the hesychastic practices of our Church is not a fleshless meditative – intellectual theology, but rather a succulent fruit of authentic Christian life. Orthodoxy outside the hesychastic tradition of the fathers is unthinkable and non-existent.
Through the true knowledge of the traditional orthodoxy that goes through from the era of the Apostles and dominates on all Romiosyni and beyond, we believe that hesychasm is offered as a therapeutic treatment and constitutes the heart of the Mission.
The seat of the Association is located at the Holy Monastery of Saint Dionysius of Olympus, in Litochoro, Pieria, and has Saint Dionysius, the inhabitant of Olympus, who transformed the mythical mountain into a dwelling place of the only true God, as itspatron and helper.
Saint Dionysius was a vehicle of the existing orthodoxy and its central way of life was the hesychastic one. The missionary work that he completed, by supporting the enslaved Hellenism was not a secular Missionary scheme of action for purposes of public benefit, but it was rather a true therapeutic work for the sanctification of the people and their unification in Christ, in the beginning. However, later on heal so served many physical needs. It is in this spirit that the association with the godly efforts of the fathers who work in Africa and in Greece tries to supplant “that moral system” of the scholastic theology and anti-hesychastic tactic that came from the west to the Greek of the east.
Its main concern is the implementation of God’s command to spread the Gospel within this framework, thus having as a result that thousands of souls all over the world standing firm in the Orthodox faith, despite the fact that they were deprived of the eternal teachings of Orthodoxy for centuries. It definitely contributes to the extraordinary great daily needs of the faithful. With “the perfect prize of the godly pains” in its heart, it works devoutly also for the establishment of Holy Churches, the construction of schools, the establishment of charitable institutions, the founding of clinics, the drilling of bore holes, the organization of soup kitchens, etc.
We envisage, with the petitions of Saint Dionysius and the support of all of you, the work of the association paving the way for the highest peak of service, offering and sacrificial love for our brothers and sisters through the humble and blessed spread of the Gospel and the experience of the fathers of the Church, according to the word of the Lord: “truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25, 40-41).
The President of the Missionary Shelter (Ierapostoliki Stegi),
† Archimandrite Maximos
of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic
Monastery of Saint Dionysius of Olympus