Our Mission is a mission of propagation of the gospel truth. It is a duty of gathering the children of God and building them up in the body of the Church and responsibility of guiding them in the faith. However, “faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself” (James 2:17). And faith becomes alive, only when it is “working through love” (Gal. 5:6); but this love is “no common love, but that which cements us together, and makes us cleave inseperably to one another” (Saint John Chrysostom, Homily XI on Ephesians, PG 62,79).
This very inseparable coexistence of faith and deeds of love for those in need constitutes the cornerstone of the ministry of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa in its region of spiritual jurisdiction, from the Mediterranean Sea, in the north, to the Cape of Good Hope in the south, from the Horn of Eritrea in the east to the Cape Verde in the west. So, if it was for a single word to be found to describe this marrying of faith and love in our missionary centers throughout Africa, then there is nothing more suitable than “humanity”.
Since I remember myself ministering in the spiritual field of Africa, I recollect the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity supporting the struggle of the Church of Alexandria to meet the people of Africa, partake of their desires for life, give answers to their existential questions. But even now that, by grace of God, I have shouldered the dutiful helmsmanship of the Church of Alexandria, the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity keeps on participating without preconditions in the challenge of the holy mission of making the nations of Africa fellow heirs and fellow partakers of the promise of God “in Christ Jesus through the Good News” (Eph. 3:6).With its periodical publication, she realizes in practice that a prerequisite of the effectual call of the peoples of Africa to participate in the joyful message of the Gospel, in word, in deed, in prayer and worship, in the daily testimony of Christian life, is the devout flock of the mother churches to be informed of the titanic task of spiritual renovation of our African brothers in the spring of the Orthodoxy of our fathers and invigorating them in their relation to God through their engraftment on the evergreen Tradition of our Church.
By the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity’s periodical, thousands of named and unnamed people are sensitized and join our struggle, either to volunteer with invaluable services in our places of mission, or to provide heartily out of their surplus or poverty, so that the necessary material needs of the mission can be met. Together, they become helpers in a proto-Christian process to take in African newcomers, transform them in the faith and experientially deposit in their hearts the gold and silver of the true graces of the faith for their ontological realization. So, they arise in the spiritual greenhouse of Orthodox Africa as an “example to those who believe, in word, in their way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith” (1 Tim. 4:12).
The Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, which took part in our struggles and agonies, shared our hopes and visions, unconditionally joined hands with us and aided us profusely, we honor today on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary of existence and activity in Christ. Moreover, we lavish on her our fatherly wishes and patriarchal blessings, affirming again our tacit mutual commitment to jointly make every effort, each one from his own post, to form the New Creation in Christ.
Your fervent supplicant to God,
†The Pope and Patriach of Alexandria and All Africa
In the Great City
November 6th, 2013