The ongoing missionary visit of the Patriarch of Alexandria to the Republic of Burundi and the Holy Metropolis of Burundi and Rwanda continues to be a source of profound significance.
On the morning of Tuesday, November 28, a vibrant atmosphere filled the air as the official Doxology and reception of Patriarch Theodore unfolded at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos in Bujumbura. This monumental occasion was graced by the presence of Metropolitans Innocentios of Burundi and Rwanda, Daniel of Axum, and Bishop Sylvester of Eastern Uganda.
Amidst the warm reception by the Holy Clergy and Orthodox faithful, a joyous procession commenced. Following the official Doxology, Metropolitan Innocentios of Burundi and Rwanda conveyed immense delight at the Patriarch’s visit. He extended gratitude to the Honorary Consul of Greece, the President of the Greek Community of Bujumbura, clergy, and people for the heartwarming welcome bestowed upon the spiritual father of the African Orthodox community.
The Metropolitan’s words resonated with gratitude: “Today, the Orthodox Church of Burundi rejoices, our Holy Metropolis rejoices, the Greek Community rejoices, and the devout Orthodox faithful praise God for the arrival of His Beatitude, the successor of the Evangelist Mark, our Father and Shepherd Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and all Africa.”
Expressing his gratitude, Patriarch Theodore thanked President Évariste Ndayishimiye of the Republic of Burundi for the warm reception. He expressed his visit’s purpose: to nurture and fortify his spiritual children, clergy, and people, while also drawing strength from their presence.
He continued, praising both Egypt and Burundi, likening Egypt to the crown of Africa and acknowledging Burundi as a precious diamond of Central Africa. He emphasized the nation’s resilience through past challenges and highlighted the collective strength in spreading Christian virtues of love and patience. Patriarch Theodore prayed for the country’s progress and prosperity, envisioning further consolidation of the Orthodox faith within Burundi.
Following these ceremonies, the Patriarch moved to the new Episcopate’s administrative center, performing the Small Sanctification and Inauguration services, rejoicing in this milestone achievement for the Local Church, made possible by the significant contribution of the Greek Community of Bujumbura.
Additionally, the Patriarch visited the Offices of the Greek Community of Bujumbura, engaging in fruitful discussions with Consul of Greece Mr. Georgios Koukoulis and community members. The day concluded with the Patriarch attending a reception hosted by the Egyptian Ambassador to Burundi, Yasser Elatawi.
Continuing his journey on Wednesday, November 29, the Alexandrian Patriarch ventured beyond the city, visiting the Gihanga Community. There, he consecrated the Church of Saints Athanasius the Great and John the Theologian in Gihunge, announcing plans for a school and clinic to cater to the Community’s educational and medical needs. The Patriarch expressed gratitude to Patriarch Daniel of Romania, Priests Fr. Daniel and Fr. Victor, and Archbishop Innocentios for their dedicated assistance to the Holy Metropolis of Burundi.
The day concluded as the Patriarch presided over the Great Vespers Service, commemorating the feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos.