First Orthodox Christmas celebration conducted in Zimbabwe


(MENAFN) In a significant moment for Zimbabwe's Orthodox community, the first-ever Orthodox Christmas service was held, as reported by TASS on Sunday. The ceremony, conducted by George Maximov, a priest and chairman of the Missionary Department of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa, took place in an adapted room on the premises of the embassy. Maximov shared plans for the construction of an Orthodox church in Harare and the establishment of a choir in the future.

The Orthodox Christmas service in Zimbabwe is part of a broader trend in Africa, where Russian Orthodox parishes have been established in over 30 countries, including Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, and South Africa. Maximov emphasized the positive impact of Orthodox services in helping African communities navigate challenging situations, citing an example in Malawi where a local parish assisted people in coping with the aftermath of a flood.

Despite the absence of Orthodox churches in some African countries, Orthodox services continue to be held. In Mali, the Christmas Liturgy took place in the auditorium of the Russian Embassy, while in Senegal, Orthodox Christians attended services conducted in a Maronite Church. Burkina Faso welcomed parishioners into a small Orthodox prayer hall for their Christmas celebrations.

The Orthodox presence in Africa extends beyond Zimbabwe, as evidenced by the Orthodox Church of St. Andrew in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, where children were baptized on the eve of the holiday. This church has been operating since 2022, symbolizing the growing Orthodox community in the region.

Highlighting the educational aspect of the Orthodox outreach, the article also mentions that nine students from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Kenya, and Benin recently arrived in Russia to study at the Moscow Theological Academy, according to the website of the Patriarchal Exarchate. This further exemplifies the global nature of the Orthodox Church and its efforts to foster understanding and engagement across diverse cultures and regions.

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