On November 10, 2023, marked a historic and triumphant occasion not only for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria but also for the entire Greek diaspora in Egypt.
Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa laid the foundation for the Holy Church dedicated to the memory of John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria, in the New Administrative Capital of Egypt, commonly known as New Cairo.
The ceremony drew hundreds of attendees from various parts of Egypt, including Egyptian Greeks and many locals, all envisioning the auspicious day when the bastion of Orthodoxy and Hellenism would ascend in the desert, within the promising new Administrative Capital of Egypt.
This grand undertaking, once an unquenchable dream in the patriarch’s soul, materialized through the generous contribution of Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, who dedicated the project in loving memory of his father.
The site was adorned with the flags of Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, and flags with the golden winged lion, the emblem of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, amplifying the significance of the event.
Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria arrived in the afternoon, warmly welcomed by the Patriarchal Vicar of Cairo, Metropolitan Nikodimos of Memphis, amidst an enthusiastic crowd.
Following the sanctification service, the Patriarchal Vicar of Cairo addressed Patriarch Theodore: “Your Beatitude, since the inception of the idea of a new capital in Egypt, you envisioned our Orthodox Church being an integral part of it. It was your initiative that found a donor to turn this vision into reality. Under Theodore II, history will record the construction of an Orthodox church in the new capital.”
Subsequently, the Patriarch also delivered a moving speech: “We begin with the house of God, intended to serve as the spiritual nucleus for those who will converge upon this center of Orthodoxy. My dream wouldn’t have materialized without the pivotal role played by President Abdel Fattah El Sissi of Egypt. I prayed fervently for God to send me an angel to embark on this endeavor, and indeed, God listened, sending the philanthropist and dear friend, Mr. Naguib Sawiris, to whom I express heartfelt gratitude. I would also like to thank all those from Orascom who, through dedication, dug deep into the earth, commencing this monumental task.”
Concluding, the Patriarch encapsulated the essence of the day, asserting, “This endeavor, my children, is yours. I, like the Patriarchs before me, will come and go, but these endeavors will endure.”
The ceremony culminated in smiles, cheers, wishes, and the Patriarch’s heartfelt gratitude to all who graced the festive occasion with their presence. He shared moments of joy and appreciation with attendees, expressing love and happiness for the noble project unfolding before them.
Source: ekkairo.org / Translated by: Konstantinos Menyktas