On Wednesday 3 February, His Eminence Archbishop Sergios travelled from Cape Town to Durban and then he was joined by Mr Savvas Stylianou, Honorary Consul of Cyprus, and they left in the early hours of Thursday morning by car to make the six hour drive to the Kingdom of Swaziland. After they crossed the border they travelled on to Manzini where they met a few Orthodox Families and His Eminence was able to bless their homes and businesses.
Church of St George — Mbabane Their next stop was Mbabane, which is the capital of Swaziland, and there they met with Mr George Sophocleous who had recently acquired a small Orthodox Church. This church had been built by an Orthodox Armenian and after his death Mr Sophocleous bought it from the deceased estate. His Eminence also paid respects to the few Orthodox families who live in Mbabane to bless their homes and businesses.
In the afternoon he visited the small church with Mr Stylianou and Mr Sophocleous and they had the opportunity to discuss alterations and changes that need to be made. The church is named after Saint George, The Great Martyr, and is quite breathtaking in its simple and unique African architecture. Made of local stone, it sits proudly on the vast slope above Pine Valley which overlooks the striking Mdzimba Mountains. The world’s largest granite mountain, Sidebe, is situated in the area and a giant piece of this indigenous granite rock is built into the structure of the church building.
In the evening His Eminence officiated at the Service of the Holy Eucharist held at the home of Mr Sophocleous and everyone who attended was able to receive Holy Communion. After the service, His Eminence said that although the Swaziland Orthodox community are few in numbers, they can support each other because they have a common Faith and way of life and that it is important to keep their small parish active.
His Eminence praised the beautiful countryside and said he hoped the Kingdom of Swaziland would continue to be a country of peace and a great example to all countries in Africa. He announced that our Patriarch His Beatitude Theodoros II will be visiting South Africa sometime this year and it is very possible that he will also visit Swaziland. After the service everyone enjoyed a dinner and in the early hours of Friday morning His Eminence and Mr Stylianou drove back to Durban where later in the day His Eminence met with prominent members of the Hellenic Community of Durban.
Glencoe, Pietermaritzburg and Dundee, Northern Natal
Early on Saturday morning His Eminence and Mr Yiannis Stavrinou left Durban to visit the Mission of St Mark, the Apostle and Evangelist in Pietermaritzburg. After spending a few hours there they embarked on the 230 km journey to Dundee in Northern Natal. They visited the Church of Saint Kyriake in Dundee and His Eminence was able to meet the few Orthodox people of Dundee and surrounding areas, and he baptised one of the children of the community, Thomas Constandinos Christodoulou.
Service of the Holy Eucharist – Church of the Holy Trinity, Durban KZN
With still much to do and many kilometres to cover, His Eminence left Dundee before sunrise to drive back to Durban where he officiated at the Service of the Holy Eucharist at the first Orthodox Church to be built in Durban, the Church of the Holy Trinity. Others present were Mr Savvas Stylianou, Honorary Consul for Cyprus and Mr Pantelis Elefteriou, Chairman of the Hellenic Community of KZN. The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord was celebrated in anticipation of the actual day.
In his homily after the service, His Eminence said that the Feast Day of the Three Hierarchs which is celebrated on 31 January is a very important day for all Orthodox Christians and especially for all our Greek schools. He said that the Three Hierarchs are known as the “bridge” between Greek philosophy and Christian Orthodox Theology. The theory that Orthodox Christians have adopted Jewish practices is not correct because from the very beginning Christ was a “new way of life” with new principals and ethics. He showed us the way of “agape “(love).
His Eminence said that Christ was sent to us as a man because of our Creator’s love for His people and expressly for their salvation. That is why the Church celebrates every stage of His life, the first one being of His presentation to the temple. He mentioned that by co-incidence the grandson of Mrs Sheila Landzanakis was being brought to Church with his mother and Godparent for the forty days blessing also at this time.
Memorial services were held for members of the community who had passed away and for the late Photini Lambropoulos and His Eminence paid tribute to her dedication to the Church. He also wished psalter Mr Andonis Zografou all the best for his Name Day. Afterwards everyone was treated to coffee and snacks and soon the time came for His to return to Cape Town.