12 January 2013
Archibhop Damaskinos of Johannesburg and Pretoria and Bishop Petronius of Zalãu in the Sãlaj 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.
Archbishop Damaskinos blesses the foundation stone of the new church
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.
Bishop Petronius also said that he was born on 30th November, St Andrew's Day, and that clearly St Andrew, the Apostle of Romania, wanted him to come to South Africa to witness the extension of his mission on this occasion.
Apostle Andrew, the Holy and All-Praised First-Called
The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he later brought his own brother, the holy Apostle Peter, to Christ.
Troparion Tone 4
Andrew, first-called of the Apostles
and brother of the foremost disciple,
entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world
and to our souls great mercy.
Kontakion Tone 2
Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God,
the namesake of courage,
the first-called of the Savior's disciples
and the brother of Peter.
As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us:
"Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!"