The First Romanian Orthodox Church in Africa

Here in South Africa:

Archbishop Damaskinos of Johannesburg and Pretoria and Bishop Petronius of Zalău in the Sălaj County of Romania laid the foundation stone of St Andrew’s Romanian Orthodox Church in Midrand, Gauteng. It is the first Romanian Orthodox Church in Africa.

The foundation stone for the new church ready on a table with the Romanian flag. The daisy chains mark the outline of the new church. In the background is the Midrand Mosque, the biggest mosque in the southern hemisphere.

In 2001 Father Mihai (Mircea) Corpodean came to be a priest for the Romanian community, but since they had no church of their own, and the Churchy of St Nicholas in Brixton had just lost its priest, the bishop at that time, Metropolitan Seraphim, asked Fr Mihai to become p-0arish priest at St Nicholas. St Nicholas was started as a multiethic parish, and welcomed the Romanian community, and we still use some Romanian in services there.

It took the Romanian community quite a long time to find a suitable piece of land, and in 2008 Fr Mihai moved to New Zealand, and Fr Razvan Tatu came to replace him, and began tolding Romanian service at St George’s Hotel near Oilfantsfontein.

After the foundation stone was laid at the easternmost part of the new church, everyone young and old, came to add some cement, starting with the two bishops.

At the end Archbishop Damaskinos spoke on the importance of the community supporting not just the laying of the foundation stone, but all the activities of the church. The laying of the foundation stone took place with the blessing of His Beatotude Theodoros, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, who is the spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians in Africa.Bishop Petronius said that he and Archbishop Damaskinos would be concelebrating the Divine Liturgy the next day in Romanian in the Archbishop’s chapel in Houghton, and invited everyone present to join in then.

There is more with photos here.




Could Church Planting Networks be Reform’s Ordinariate?

Cranmer’s Curate:

The Anglo-Catholics have a home to go to in the Ordinariate once  women bishops are appointed in the Church of England. But what about  conservative evangelicals in Reform?

Once a single  clause women bishops’ measure is enacted, as seems almost certain after  the next General Synod elections, will we as a constituency knuckle  under and accept the unbiblical innovation or will we be moved to take  radical action?

The reality is that for us women  bishops are not an isolated departure from biblical truth in the Church  of England. The allowance of clergy and now bishops in civil  partnerships is a concern on top of the heretical teachings the  institutional Church has been tolerating and indeed promoting for  decades.

If the Church of England becomes like TEC,  large evangelical flagships could leave the institutional structures and carry on proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ in their local communities  as confessing Anglican churches. Yes, it would involve leaving their  buildings, which is a messy and tiresome business. But there are recent  precedents for this. St George’s Tron in Glasgow – now The Tron Church  out of the Church of Scotland – did it before Christmas. Orthodox  Anglican congregations in the United States and Canada have been doing  it for several years now. A whole diocese is doing it in South Carolina. It’s do-able for the large and well-resourced churches.

But what about smaller conservative evangelical churches? In the Church of  England, conservative evangelical succession for smaller churches is  difficult to secure even without women bishops. With the worsening  financial situation in many dioceses, churches are increasingly being  amalgamated across the traditions making it very difficult to guarantee  that Christ’s sheep in a small church will not be thrown to a liberal  wolf or wolfess.

Could conservative evangelical church  planting networks provide sound biblical ministry for such smaller  congregations?  This type of network, originally deriving from an  established evangelical flagship but developing outside the  institutional structures of the Church of England, is a growing  phenomenon in cities. Could they act as minster churches for small  ex-parish churches leaving the Church of England?

Leaving their buildings for a congregation of 40 or so adults would actually be quite liberating, They would be spared the expense of maintaining them. Meeting in a school or a community centre would be a lot easier and  cheaper.

Under this scenario, a nearby church plant  would provide a Bible teacher from their staff team who would travel  into that community on a Sunday or on some other day of the week when  the church family chose to meet. He would not be resident in the local  community, which is arguably not ideal. But that is better than a wolf  with a lair in residence. The sound man could teach the Scriptures and  train leaders in the small church but the day to day ministry and  outreach would be the responsibility of the resident congregation.

For it to work, church planters would need to resist the temptation to  poach committed Christian people from those congregations who would  benefit their church plants. A servant-hearted vision for  community-based ministry would be the spiritual key to the success of  such ventures.

Can our church planters rise above the  temptation to empire-build? If they can, then our constituency has a  fighting chance of perpetuating Reformed Anglican ministry outside the  institutional structures.

We could have a home to go to.


Bible Archaeology

Why Did Early Christians Improve the Burial of Jesus?

If the resurrection of Jesus, in the view of early Christians, undid the shameful burial of Jesus and vindicated him, then why did they feel the need to improve on the stories of his burial, so that it goes from being placed in “a tomb” by a member of the ruling council, to being placed in an unused tomb by a secret disciple, to being  given a burial fit for a king?

I don’t have a ready answer to that question. I’ve thought about it, and speculated about it, but it still puzzles me.

James F. McGrath continues with the question here.