On Sunday 16 February 2014 Reverend Fr. Nikolaos officiated at the service of the Holy Eucharist at the Cathedral of Saint George in Cape Town in the presence of Mrs Maria Diamantopoulou, the Ambassador of Greece, Mr Thomas Matsoukas, consul of Greece in Cape Town, Mr Nassos Martalas, president of the Hellenic Community of Cape Town and Mr Andreas Coulbanis, president of the Hellenic Students at UCT.
Mrs Diamantopoulou was invited to attend the opening of Parliament in Cape Town – one of the three Capitals of South Africa and the permanent home of Parliament. It was her first official visit the city and an opportunity for her to meet the Hellenes of Cape Town. In his address after the service His Eminence expressed his appreciation to Mrs Diamantopoulou for taking time out of her busy schedule to honour us with her presence at the Cathedral. He said that as the newly appointed Ambassador for the Greeks, there were many duties related with the Hellenes in Southern Africa and, as she has been appointed ambassador for several countries her responsibilities include all official ties at government level between these countries and Greece. He said that the work of diplomats is very difficult because they live in various countries around the world and this involves a sacrifice for them both as individuals and for their families. In the few months Mrs Diamantopoulou has been in office she has already managed to visit Cape Town and we are very grateful.
He went on to say that the parish of Cape Town is very old and the historic records we have date back to the 19th century, and this community has been in existence for over a hundred and ten years. The Cathedral is the oldest church in Southern Africa and is place a of worship not only for Hellenes, but also for all the Orthodox people from Eastern Europe, and more recently the West as well – including the local Orthodox regardless of race and Ethnic background. Historically the Orthodox Church has been and remains the center of the life of our communities and we would like to see the continuation of this tradition for our future generations, even though some people are tempted to move the center to other places. His Eminence thanked the Ambassador again for her visit and said that he hoped to see her more often in Cape Town as a support to us and then invited her to address the congregation.
Among others, Mrs Diamantopoulos thanked His Eminence and the community’s committee for the good work they are doing. She expressed her pride in the progress of the Hellenes in this country. She added that Greece has the chairmanship of Europe for this period of six months and it was very good for her to meet the other Ambassadors of the European Union on Saturday 15 February at the community center. Finally Mrs Diamantopoulou assured every one of her intention to visit the Hellenes Cape Town more often and that she will also be visiting the Hellenic Communities of George and the coastal areas of Port Elizabeth and East London soon.
The president of the Hellenic Community Mr Athanasios Martalas presented Mrs Diamantopoulou with an historic book featuring the first century of the Hellenic Community of Cape Town.