Moscow, January 12, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church is actively involved in developing the program of its work in Africa after 102 African parishes from eight countries have joined it.
"We didn't prepare for anything in advance, but, believe me, it won't matter. A full-scale program is currently being developed not only for the development of parishes, but also for the full-fledged presence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the continent, including liturgical, educational, social and humanitarian components," Patriarchal Exarch of Africa Metropolitan Leonid told Interfax.
Former parishes of the Alexandrian Patriarchate decided to join the Russian Orthodox Church after the decision of Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria to recognize the new church of Ukraine (OCU) set up by Constantinople. In late December 2021, the Synod in Moscow met their request and established a Patriarchal Exarchate in Africa.
Speaking about future plans, the hierarch didn't exclude that a number of educational institutions would be opened in Africa, "if necessary and expedient".
He also said that there are benefactors in Russian Church who provides assistance in numerous areas of her ministry and ready to support Russian mission in Africa "from their generosity". "We are grateful to them for understanding that Russian Church is becoming the guardian of Orthodoxy now, not allowing the sacred canons to be trampled in favor of certain political decisions," the patriarchal exarch said.
Answering the question whether the accession of African parishes would open the movement of joining the Russian Church in other Churches which have recognized the non-canonical church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Leonid stated that Russian Church defended and would continue to defend Orthodox Christians "who refuse to associate themselves with schism".
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