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9 Jan, 2024 11:13

First Orthodox Christmas service held in Zimbabwe

Parishes of the Russian church operate in more than 30 African countries
First Orthodox Christmas service held in Zimbabwe

For the first time, Zimbabwe’s Orthodox community attended a Christmas service, TASS reported on Sunday. 

The service was conducted by George Maximov, a priest and chairman of the Missionary Department of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa. 

“The ceremony was performed in an adapted room on the territory of the embassy,” Maximov said, adding that, in the future, “an Orthodox church will be built in Harare, and a choir will be established.”

According to him, Russian Orthodox parishes exist in more than 30 African countries, including Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, and South Africa. Maximov said the Orthodox service helps Africans cope with difficult situations, citing an example in Malawi when the local parish helped people deal with the consequences of a flood.

Despite of the absence of Orthodox churches in some African countries, services are still held. The Christmas Liturgy was held in the auditorium of the Russian Embassy in Mali. In Senegal, many Orthodox Christians went to a Maronite Church where services were conducted. In Burkina Faso, parishioners were accepted into a small Orthodox prayer hall.

On the eve of the holiday in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, children were baptized in the Orthodox Church of St. Andrew, which has operated there since 2022.

Meanwhile, last month nine students from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Kenya, and Benin came to Russia to study at the Moscow Theological Academy, according to the website of the Patriarchal Exarchate.