Welcome to the website of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Good Hope!

We are the local presence of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” on the southern tip of Africa. The Orthodox Church has passed on the Christian faith since the time of the Apostles and it was established in Africa when Saint Mark preached the Good News of Jesus Christ in Alexandria in the middle of the first century A.D.

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Whoever Loses their Life will Save it

Ravenna Transfiguration Cross (brighter)Today, on the Sunday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we hear Jesus’ challenging words about cross in our own lives. By His victory over death on the Cross, Jesus Christ has conquered death and has opened up for us the possibility of new life. He has provided us with a way that we can follow in order to encounter the new life that He offers us.

However, if we are to enter into this new life and make it our own, then we will also encounter suffering and death in one way or another. Sometimes this will be the apparent suffering that results from letting go of those things in our lives that are not in keeping with God’s will for us. Sometimes it will mean sacrificing a lesser good in order to attain a greater good. But sometimes it will also mean the suffering that we experience as a result of our own brokenness and the brokenness of our world.

The victory of Jesus Christ on the Cross does not remove suffering from our lives or suddenly make everything miraculously better. Rather, He provides us with an example of how to face suffering so that it becomes life-giving and does not destroy or embitter us. And He assures us that He is with us in our deepest need, for He Himself knows what it is to be abandoned, rejected, and apparently defeated.

To turn to Christ in prayer is to be honest about the reality of our own lives. But it is also to find Him there, in the middle of our suffering and pain. When we call out “Lord, have mercy, Kyrie eleison,” we are inviting Jesus Christ into our pain and the pain of the world. If we are really honest, the suffering of our lives is too much for us. But, if we ask Him, He will come to us in our need, and He will help us to carry it.

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The Exaltation of the Holy & Life-giving Cross

exaltationToday we celebrate the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. On this day we commemorate two specific incidents. The first is the finding of the Cross upon which Christ was crucified by the Empress Helena during her travels in Palestine in 326 A.D. On reaching Golgotha she ordered that the pagan temple be destroyed and when this was done three crosses were found on its site. Uncertain which one was the Cross of the Lord, they were placed on a dying woman who was miraculously healed when the True Cross touched her. The second incident commemorates the recovery of the True Cross in 628 A.D. after it had been captured by the Persians. Continue reading

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12 th Memorial Service held for the late Patriarch Petros VII – Cathedral of St George, Cape Town

14238362_1841900606042828_5354281597312482939_nOn Sunday 11 September, His Eminence Archbishop Sergios Metropolitan Bishop of Cape Town officiated at the Service of the Holy Eucharist together with Father Nikolaos Giamouridis and Deacon Father Michael Simos.  The Service was followed by a Memorial Service for the late Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, Petros VII. In his address after the Service, His Eminence made reference to the upcoming Feast Day of the veneration of the Cross and that all of us have our own cross to bear in this life.  And that and it is a heavy one for everyone –  for the Clergy and laity alike and that only through the Cross will we receive salvation.

His Eminence than spoke of the the 12th Memorial Service for the late Patriarch Petros VII saying that he was a very well respected Patriarch and his life ended tragically together with sixteen other Bishops, clergy and laity who were travelling with him. He was a man who was committed to sharing the message of Christ all over Africa and was well known for his vision and hope for Africa, and that there is no doubt that Patriarch Petros is close to God and his saints and continues to pray for his flock.

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Referring to the refugee crisis in Greece, His Eminence said that the Greek people are doing their Christian duty by treating them as brothers and doing whatever they can to assist them. He said that as Greeks we have many examples of  ”philitimo”  -  in Ancient Greece Zeus was the God of hospitality and in the old testament Abraham offered the three strangers hospitality who were actually Angels and representative of the Holy Trinity.

He thanked the president of the Hellenic Community Foti Sousalis for taking on the task of overseeing the repairs to the Cathedral which has a history of one hundred and sixteen years, and urged everyone to support the committee in this difficult and expensive task and said that whatever amount we donate, however small we will be rewarded more than one hundred times over.

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His Eminence ended by mentioning  Mr Jimmy Kapoutsis who was holding a memorial Service for his late parents who died in Greece and thanked him for his support and contribution to the Hellenic Community of Cape Town.

 

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The Son of Man Must be Lifted Up

cross-iconToday, on the Sunday before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we hear Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, who had come to ask Him about salvation. And at the heart of this salvation that Jesus Christ came to bring to our world is the great mystery of the Cross. For it is through His death and apparent defeat on the Cross that He has in fact conquered death and opened the way to life for all who follow Him. Continue reading

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The Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos

nat-theotokos-2Today we celebrate the birth of the Mother of God, or Theotokos, one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church. Most of the direct references to her birth come from one of the apocryphal gospels, the Protoevangelium of James, which have been taken up and further developed in the liturgical texts of the Church. However, although the Scriptures do not refer to the actual birth of the Mother of God, they are full of indirect references to it, for the whole history of the Old Testament is a preparation for the coming Christ into our world. And a key part of this preparation was the preparation of the one who was to give birth to the Son of God. In the words of Saint Andrew of Crete:

The radiant and bright coming-down of God for people ought to possess a joyous basis, opening to us the great gift of salvation. Such like also is the present feast day, having as its basis the Nativity of the Mother of God, and as its purposeful end the uniting of the Word with flesh, this most glorious of all miracles, unceasingly proclaimed, immeasurable and incomprehensible. The less comprehensible it is, the more it is revealed; and the more it is revealed, the less comprehensible it is. Wherefore the present God-graced day, the first of our feast days, showing forth the light of virginity and as it were the crown woven from the unfading blossoms of the spiritual garden of Scripture, doth proffer creatures a common joy. Be of good cheer it says, behold, this is the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin and of the renewal of the human race! The Virgin is born, she grows and is raised up and prepares herself to be the Mother of God All-Sovereign of the ages. All this, with the assistance of David, makes it for us an object of spiritual contemplation. The Mother of God manifests to us Her God-bestowed Birth, and David points to the blessedness of the human race and wondrous co-kinship of God with mankind.

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Sunday 4 September – Saint Mamas Day – Annual blessing of household pets – Archbishopric of Good Hope, Cape Town

Sunday 4 September

14184443_1838868329679389_3334594457799057652_nWith a woof woof here, and a miaow miaow there, a pony and kiddies everywhere, we celebrated our seventh annual St Mamas Pets Blessing Day on Sunday 4 September, in the grounds of the Metropolis in Rondebosch, at the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Sergios and convened by Pepe Sofianos.

This year we had a grand turnout of dogs of all shades, shapes and sizes and despite a few raised hackles and some growls in the beginning, they calmed down, made friends and loved being praised and petted by everyone.

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Among  other very welcome guests were Deacon Father Nicholas Esterhuizen,  Mr Fotis Sousalis, Chairman of the Hellenic Community, Ariadne Parali, Headmistress of the Greek School and Mr Niko Kommatos, senior teacher at the school, who also brought their gorgeous dogs to be blessed.

The Greek Consul, Mr Thomas Matsoukas also attended with his awesome Husky called Zack, whose blue eyes enchanted everyone.

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We even had two pussycats who proudly showed off by walking around on their leashes!

14184518_10153961989818207_1305929698383954718_n14237731_1838869726345916_3062552380613386565_nHis Eminence Archbishop Sergios and Pater Nikolaos started the proceedings with a prayer for animals and their keepers.Then everyone lined up to have their pets blessed by Pater Nikolaos, including a special blessing for the little pony.

We were blessed with perfect weather so the rest of the afternoon flew by with lucky prize draws and lots of fun and games, high excitement and of course, pony rides, which was a huge hit with the little ones.

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Yummy eats were served for the kids and the adults and then it was time to wind down with the traditional bonfire and the kids toasted their marshmallows in the embers. That’s always a big favourite with them and something they really look forward to.

Marshmallows

Finally everyone went home hugging their pet goody bags and prizes that were kindly sponsored by Purina again. We are always very grateful for their generous and ongoing support which makes this day so enjoyable and memorable both for the children and their pets.

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Kitten

Also grateful thanks to Evgenia Sofianos, Gabriel Athiros, Carol Vikos,Vailis Vikos, Crystal-Jade Lerios and Gerry Lancellas for their willing help and for all the great photographs.

The kids carried with them a goodwill message from Saint Mamas to treasure not only their own pets but also to respect and have compassion for all living creatures and the environment.

See you next year!

By  Pepe Sofianos.

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Feast Day of Saint Kosmas Aitolos – Cathedral of Saint George, Cape Town

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On Sunday 28 August an Artoclasia was held after the Service of the Holy Eucharist in honour of Saint Kosmas Aitolos, who is also the patron Saint of the Hellenic School in Cape Town. His Eminence Archbishop Sergios, Metropolitan of Good Hope officiated at the Service of the Artoclasia together with Father Nikolaos Giamouridis. Deacon Michael Simos and Deacon Father Nicholas Esterhuizen.

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In his address after the Service, His Eminence said that Saint Kosmas Aitolos, is not only well- known for many of his prophesies which are already being manifestedin the world today, he also walked almost all of Greece to establish more than two hundred schools. The Greek people were under Ottoman oppression and they were losing their mother tongue. Saint Kosmas was determined that they should not lose their rich Orthodox heritage and the Greek language which is the language of the church and of the written word of the Bible.

His Eminence said that it is unfortunate that so few of us read and write although some of us do still speak Greek. He commended the community and the teachers for their perseverance in keeping the Greek school going under often difficult circumstances and urged the parents to respond by taking their children as often as possible and participating in the school events. He also thanked the parents and grand-parents who make the effort to speak to the children in Greek and to support the Greek school.

Two children from the Greek school Nikola Augostatos and Michael Comitis spoke about the life of Saint Kosmas Aitolos in Greek and English respectively.

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Feast Day of the Dormition of the Mother of God – Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

13938591_1146268812101367_8493007176951051129_nOn Sunday 14 August, His Eminence Archbishop Sergios Metropolitan Bishop of Cape Town officiated at the Service of the Great Vespers in anticipaton of the Feast Day of the Dormition of the Mother of God. He was joined by parish priest Father George Giannakopoulos and Deacon father Yiannis Tyropoulos.

And on Monday morning 15 August at the Service of the Holy Eucharist which included an Artoclasia for the Feast Day.

 

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Service of the Holy Eucharist – Church of the Holy Archangels, George, Northern Cape

Sunday 14 August

The Hellenic Community of George have not had a priest for a while and on Sunday morning 14 August His Eminence Archbishop Sergios officiated at the Service of the Holy Eucharist which included an Artoclasia for the Feast Day of the Dormition of the Mother of God at the Church of the Holy Archangels.

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Forgiving from the Heart

JCLIFEGVToday, on the eleventh Sunday of Matthew, Jesus continues to teach us what life is like in the Kingdom of God. In a challenging parable on forgiveness, He tells us about a servant who was forgiven a large debt by a king. However, this same servant refused to forgive another servant a much smaller debt, which consequently angered the king who had him arrested again. In this way, Jesus warns us what will happen to us if we do not forgive those who wrong us. Continue reading

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