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.




15 thoughts on “The First Romanian Orthodox Church in Africa

    • Well, eastern “orthodoxy” is frequently about nationalism first, and then, eventually, God.

      + pax et bonum

      • There is nothing inherently wrong with either national or ethnic pride. Slavs have survived turbulent history over the decades, centuries, and millenia. Just look at Romania in 20th Century. Survive fascism and communism. Before that, the Turks. The Balkans have been a mess for so long and their memories of past events are so strong. Just as a Serb about the 14th Century?

  1. Is this the Orthodox jurisdiction with which the late Bishop Trevor Rhodes was seeking recognition for the TAC?

  2. Interesting when you consider white South africa is on the way out…with over a million whites emigrating since 1994.

  3. @ Robert Ian Williams: Correction: a million+ skilled/well qualified professional whites emigrating……………….especially engineers and medical doctors. Scary.

  4. “No, Bishop Trevor forged an inter communion agreement with a different Orthodox denomination.”

    Since the Orthodox don’t “do intercommunion” with the non-Orthodox, it must have been some Eastern version of an “episcopi vagantes” outfit.

  5. Interestingly Bill….the Greek Orthodox church officially used the Anglican Church in South africa for looking after its members in the 1920s and 1930s. Greek immigrants were told to go to the nearest Anglican Church.

    • Robert, Greeks tended to do that here in USA, esp. in midwest and rural areas. Don’t forget that then Bishop Tikhon was sent by Holy Synod around 1900 to check out USA. He used the then in use 1892 American BCP to create a Western liturgy, as that was the only one at the time developed for an by English speakers.

      • William, I believe the current usage for us WR Antiochians in the pews in USA is as found in our missal: Orthodox Missal, According to the Use of the Wetstern Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (St. Luke’s Priory Press, Stanton, NJ (1995)).

        Metropolitan Philip promolugated it on 9/5/95 (“We welcome this first publication of the full Western Rite offices of the Divine Liturgy for every Sunday of the Church year…The book contains the full text of our authorized alternatives for the eucharist…These approved texts are the exclusive use of our Archdiocese.” This is the missal my local Antiochian WR church has used since 1995. While the changes don’t appear major compared to what you wrote about, I don’t believe they are perfectly identical.

      • William, Your essay and this comment–“Returning to the critique of the 1892 Episcopalian Prayer Book produced by the Holy Governing Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church [1904]… As regards its critique of the Eucharistic rite, all that concerns us here, it makes two critical observations, first, the lack of any clear indication of a belief in, or explicit petition for, the “change” of the elements of bread and wine into the body and Blood of Christ and, secondly, the lack of any clear statement or even indication that the Eucharist is “a sacrifice for the living and the dead.”–are most interesting. I think it points out the intricacies and difficulties of trying to take non-Orthodox liturgies and make them Orthodox. Today, the starting point for our thoughts on liturgy is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Any Western Orthodox liturgy can only be evaluated and properly understood in light of it.

        Neither the Russian Church nor their then Synod spoke dogmatically for unified Orthodoxy in this or any other matter. The scholastic medieval Roman, Tridentine and Anglican liturgies were not created by Orthodox for Orthodox. So today all we can do is attempt to recover or convert them into something that approximates Orthodoxy’s liturgics. They are works in progress that I suspect will develop over time. The eucharistic theology of Orthodoxy (including the Russian Church) is found in far fuller form in the liturgies of Sts. Basil and John. Thus it is hard to conceptualize an Orthodox liturgy that doesn’t have both the Words of Institution and a clear Epiclesis. However, issues tied to the sacrifice of the liturgy and prayers for the dead are interpreted not in light of Rome, Trent, the Reformation or Counter Reformation, but through the historic understanding of Orthodoxy. Thus it isn’t viewed in terms of purgatory, indulgences, etc. And those conflicts and issues that were confined mainly to the West (e.g., initially the eucharistic discussions of Radbertus, Ratramnus, Berengar, Lanfranc, Peter Lombard, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Biel, Cajetan, et al that then are expanded by Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Bucer, Calvin, et al), are essentially alien to Orthodoxy and our liturgy.

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