Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church of Malawi
From the Orthodox Church in Malawi, we want to answer to the article that appeared in the Nyasa Times , allegedly written by the Nyasa Reporter on September 14th, 2012.
Firstly, we express our greatest surprise about all that was written in this article for we are sure that it does not express the opinion of the majority of the Malawians but only of one or two misinformed people and we know why they wrote these things. Of course we know from the Bible that anybody who strives to serve in the church and to help people will always have temptations, worries and trials. The number one and best example of this is Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, who was crucified for His creatures although He was God and without sin. And according to His preaching He told us that everybody who is with Him and who loves Him is going to suffer because this is the way to Paradise.
So we want to express with all our heart our sadness over what this reporter wrote in this article about the Greek Orthodox Church. It is very obvious that the readers to this article have read untrue and unfair reports about our beloved church, the Greek Orthodox Church in Malawi.
For many decades now, the Greeks in Malawi, the Greek Malawians, have helped a lot in this country after seeing the best behavior and respect. Especially over the last six years they help more the Orthodox Christian Missionary works in Malawi and the church is very grateful to them. For all this period, the church is full of charitable works: for example helping the poor, sending abandoned and orphans to schools by paying for their school fees, drilling boreholes for potable water to the villages, helping a lot of sick people by sending them to hospitals; feeding over three hundred children with breakfast and lunch everyday, visiting the prisoners very often and so many other charitable works in many areas although there is big economic crisis like everywhere, and it is a big sacrifice for the church to do this. Fortunately, most Malawians acknowledge and respect this great help people receive from the Greek Orthodox Church.
The list of the great works of this Church in Mala awi is so numerous but even now we do not want to exhaust and write all because we know that if God wants to take any praise or excitement it is up to Him because we keep ourselves humble and we do not brag and publicize to the people. The photos below speak for themselves about the charitable works.
Of course our power is very little because of the crisis and to do all these charitable works needs great effort. By the grace of God totally we have built eleven (11) churches by now in Malawi. As we believe and know that the best gift to give to somebody is the church where they can go to worship the Holy Trinity, chant and glorify. The article says we have many branches in the country, but this is not true. We wish we had many branches but with the economic crisis, we scarcely get funds for this.
It is true that we have baptized 1500 Malawians to the Orthodox Christian Faith, and the catechumens are 1000 more. There are four Malawian Orthodox priests and we have two deacons. At the same time we are sending four candidates every year to study for priesthood in our big Theological Seminaries in Alexandria, Egypt and Nairobi Kenya, because we strongly believe that the well educated priests are instrumental in preaching and enlightening the people better. However to send these people to Egypt and Kenya for studies is very difficult for us, because the expenses to these places and the studies themselves are very high.
It is a pity for a reporter to write what is in the article of 14th September 2012 when government and other authorities often congratulate us for the charitable and philanthropic works we offer to this country. For example, everybody in Blantyre remembers the hundreds of people waiting outside our church and the others in the eleven other churches we have, where they receive our donations and food. And the best praise we receive so far is the 1000 “ZIKOMO” we hear from these people’s mouths and the rise in their humanity we see. What else to answer to this article which is full of hate and everybody can see that the man who wrote it does not fear God and wants only to create problems for our church. We forgive, pray and we wish God to enlighten and bless this person.
The Nyasa Times reporter started the article by mentioning that there is secrecy in our church and our leader the Patriarchate of Alexandria came to Malawi in an unofficial trip. But the photo accompanying this article denounces this fact: in the photo, the Patriarchate and the Archbishop are surrounded by hundreds of people and this was also the case on his arrival at the airport. This very photo is a great witness against this Nyasa Times reporter, as all can clearly see that there are people touching, discussing and asking and receiving advice and his blessings. He was so open to and it was easy for everybody to speak to him and our Archbishop as well. Therefore it is not only very easy for anybody to interact with us, take advice from us about our Christian faith, since between other activities and so many invitations to Malawians we also translate many Orthodox Church leaflets every month from English to Chichewa and we give them out as donations to people here so that they know about us and our faith. What kind of secrecy is there if we translate everything in English and Chichewa and we are doing this rare thing of giving all our books free to all those that want to read about us?
The other untruth is this that there is a ‘Cypriot clergy’ among us. We wish we would have had one from this beautiful country, but the truth is we have only one Greek, four Malawian priests and two deacons under the guidance of our wise Archbishop.
It is pitiful and sad to read about the issue, rightly put as “rumoured” on tax with MRA; since indeed this is unproven and untruth as we are the best citizens and we respect the law of this country by giving all that the law requires of us. Further, it is pitiful to read of the death of the child at Kayange being reported so carelessly. This accident happened totally outside the responsibility of the school the church runs. A vehicle hit the child on the road and the police have an official report that the school doesn’t have any responsibility on this. The issue is between the parents of the child through the government and the driver of the vehicle.
On the issue of the lawyers, in a democratic country, we have the right to seek for legal advice from the lawyer of our choice, therefore we see nothing strange in choosing someone who we feel will represent and protect us adequately.
Indeed, we have only very few employees, but the few that we have are very happy and as we not only always strive to give them more than the law requires, but also give them some gifts and donations and send some of their children to school.
Of course we are open and have been open all these years to everybody to come for worship in our churches. This is more reason we are here to extend the Orthodox Christian Faith to Malawians, while respecting their beliefs. For whoever wants to come, the door is open for everybody. Even this letter is an open invitation for all to come to see our services of the Divine Liturgy and all other services we have in our beloved church. For the many that have come, they stay and admire, and continue to come because something attracts them.
And yes. The Greek Orthodox Church is the original and the mother church and also the Holy Bible was first written in the Greek language and this is the history of Christianity, read the History of the Church.
Lastly, it should be mentioned, and it may be self-explanatory to the wise reader, here as to why suddenly now, many years after the start of our missionary work in Malawi somebody decides to write this article with bad things about us. To us it is not a strange thing as we know the truth. We remember that a few months ago a reporter came to one of our church premises to ask for money. When we refused to give money freely this ‘reporter’ changed behavior, became aggressive and threatened to write bad articles in newspapers to destroy our church. We forgive this reporter.
Further, an ex-employee who stole some money from us is now full of hate for our church.
Our beloved readers and all Malawians, we wish you our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, Our God to bless you. We wish the Lord Jesus Christ to bless your houses, your families, your children and all this hospitable and beautiful country. Let’s try all together to work hard to develop and prosper this country both physically and spiritually.
The Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church of Malawi, BLANTYRE MALAWI