2707Orthodox African Patriarch urges S. African pressure on Zimbabwe
- Mar 6, 20052005.03.02 ENI:
Ecumenical News International
02 March 2005
Orthodox African Patriarch urges S. African pressure on Zimbabwe
By Peter Fabricius
Johannesburg, 2 March (ENI)--The Greek Orthodox African Patriarch
believes the South African government should put more pressure on
the Zimbabwean government to change its ways.
Theodoros II, a former archbishop of Zimbabwe, was speaking on
his first visit to South Africa since becoming Greek Orthodox
Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa last year.
"Zimbabwe faces many problems, for instance hunger. But I see
positive developments and the situation is getting better," he
told the Cape Times newspaper. Yet he said South Africa could
help the situation in Zimbabwe by "putting more pressure" on the
The South African government has faced wide criticism for failing
to get tough with autocratic Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
who has seen his country's once prosperous economy collapse and
human rights severely eroded. South Africa defends itself by
saying it is quietly trying to persuade Mugabe to change.
South Africa has a relatively large Greek community and Theodoros
started his official visit this week by presiding at a service at
the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St George in the Cape Town suburb
of Woodstock, the first Greek Orthodox church to be founded in
During his visit, Theodoros identified the AIDS pandemic as one
of Africa's greatest problems but predicted that one day Africans
would learn how to "be in control of their own bodies" to stop
spreading the disease.
He urged the West not to give up on Africa as it was partly
responsible for Africa's problems. But Africans also had to
tackle their problems, he said.
Theodoros, born Nicholas Choreftakis in Crete in 1954, has lived
in several African countries since he first came to the continent
20 years ago, and said, "Inside, I feel African. I lived with the
people, in huts and in poverty." He is to stay in South Africa
until 13 March, visiting the main cities.
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