His Holiness Irinej Bulović Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church visits Cape Town on OXI Day 2018

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October 28 is Greek National Oxi Day and commemorates the stand  against the forces of fascist   tyranny  and  oppression  by  the people of Greece on this day in 1940.  It is also acclaimed as an affirmation of  true    values like freedom, self-determination and perseverance in our Orthodox faith and heritage which cannot be compromised at any cost.

His Holiness Irinej Patriarch of Serbia, the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Serbs, honoured us with a visit on this important day and concelebrated the Holy Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George in Woodstock, Cape Town, with His Eminence Archbishop Sergios Metropolitan of Good Hope and  His Grace Bishop of Sumadia  Kir Jovan.

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The service which included the Doxology for the Greek National Oxi Day was attended by the newly-arrived Greek Consul in Cape Town Mrs Despina Tsanakakis with her husband and two daughters. The  Honourable  Consul of  Cyprus Mr John Phillippou  and his wife, Mr Fotis Sousalis President of the Hellenic Community of Cape Town, Mr Michael Scholiades Vice-President of the Hellenic Federation and Mr Andreas Coulbanis President of  NAHYSOSA were also present.

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It was a splendid and rare occasion to see so many members of the clergy celebrating the Holy Liturgy together with all due pomp and pageantry. There was a good turnout by the Greek and Serbian communities of Cape Town who were also represented by children carrying the flags of Greece, Cyprus, Serbia and South Africa. After the service His Eminence Archbishop Sergios welcomed His Holiness Irinej who responded through an interpreter. His Eminence also presented a beautiful silver icon of the Theotokos  from Kykkos Monastery in Cyprus to the Serbian Patriarch who was visibly delighted.

44961393_2290816111151273_8602688634824425472_nThe morning ended with a rousing rendition of  the  Greek and South African  national anthems sung by the Hellenic Choir of Cape Town under the direction of Mrs Effie Saridakis.

 

A celebratory lunch was held at the Helleic Community Centre in Green Point to welcome and  honour the Patriarch and the entertainment included Serbian and Greek folk dancing. All in all, it was a very bright and inspiring day underlining the indomitable spirit   and passion  of both Greeks and Serbians                  who have had to shed the yoke of oppression. 43216807_2290817021151182_8873315361664008192_n

In the evening the Patriarch and his entourage paid an official visit to the Metropolis of Good Hope in Rondebosch where he baptised  two adults and two children from the Serbian community in a very moving and intimate ceremony in the Metropolitan Church of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene.

Compiled by Pepe Sofianos

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