The day’s events began with the Holy Liturgy Service held at the Cathedral of Saint George in Woodstock. His Eminence Archbishop Sergios Metropolitan Bishop of Good Hope officiated at the service and it was a very special occasion as we were honoured to have Archimandrite Zacharias Van Wyk of Robertson, Father Danil Lugovoy Parish Priest of the Russian Community and Father Isaljo Markovic Parish Priest of the Serbian community, both of Johannesburg, with us for the day and they also participated in the service.
Reverend Father Nikolaos Giamouridis, Prish Priest of St George’s Cathedral, Deacon Father Mihali Simos and Deacon Father Nicholas Esterhuizen also officiated at the service.
Members of the diplomatic corps were also present – Mr Thomas Matsoukas Consul of Greece, Mr Johnny Philippou Honorary Consul of Cyprus, Mr Roman Ambarov Consul General of Russia and Mr Boris Vassilev Honorary Consul of Bulgaria.
Mr Fotis Sousalis President of the Hellenic Community, Dr Misha Galukhin Chairman of the Russian Club, Dzvinka Kachur President of the Ukrainian Society and Vesna Jablanovic Chairlady of the Serbian Sisterhood of Saint Petka represented their communities at the service.
Gabriel and Andonis of the St George’s Youth Group told us about the lives and works of these two great saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The Russian girl’s group, dressed in national costume, charmed us with a traditional Russian folk dance and were followed by the Bulgarian Language School who delivered their poems in a very confident and polished way.
Archimandrite Zacharias was joined by Emelia, Francois and Joanna, members of the Robertson Parish, to chant in Afrikaans, which was truly a moving experience. The programme ended on a high note with a hymn chanted by Meletios and two friends from the Congo, Vassilios and Leon, of the St George’s Cathedral Chanters.
His Eminence then blessed the food and the feasting began! The buffet table was groaning under the weight of traditional Greek, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian dishes including very South African ribbetjies and Indian chicken curry. Everything was prepared and presented by the ladies of the different communities. However, the melting point was the dessert table with an array of utterly decadent treats!
The children meanwhile had loads of fun having their faces painted with folkloric Eastern European flowers.
The event was very well-attended and everyone agreed that it was a happy hectic day honouring two revered saints in a homely and relaxed atmosphere where everyone could just enjoy the glory of the moment.
Looking forward to next year!
By Pepe Sofianos