Africa's Greek Patriarch visits SA
- Africa's Greek Patriarch visits SA
February 28 2005 at 11:08AM
By Miriam Mannak
The former Greek Orthodox archbishop of Zimbabwe, who in 2004 became
the continental Patriarch, is on a visit to South Africa for the
first time in his new role of African spiritual leader.
Theodoros II, born as Nicholas Choreftakis, set foot on African soil
for the first time 20 years ago. Since then he travelled extensively
through the continent.
He also lived in several African countries, including Cameroon,
before he became the Archbishop of Zimbabwe in 2002.
'I feel African'
"Inside, I feel African. I lived with the people, in huts and in
poverty," he said.
He started his official visit on Sunday with a service at the Greek
Orthodox Cathedral of St George in Woodstock, the first Greek
Orthodox church in South Africa.
The Patriarch's main message in the service was the relevance and
necessity of love and peace above hate.
After the service, the spiritual leader took time to talk about some
of the serious issues facing Africa.
Discussing HIV and Aids, he said part of the solution was providing
medication for the sick.
'Africa is the future'
"The pandemic is an enormous problem. But one day people will be
enlightened. They will know how to be in control of their own bodies,
so they can stop getting sick and from spreading the virus."
About the situation in Zimbabwe, Theodoros II said: "Zimbabwe faces
many problems, for instance hunger. But I see positive developments
and the situation is getting better."
Theodoros II said South Africa could help the situation in Zimbabwe
by "putting more pressure" on the Zimbabwean government.
But he was positive about the future of the African continent.
"Despite the problems, Africa is the future. The West should not
forget or give up on Africa. They should help as they are partially
responsible, but Africans have to work as well as African soil is
When he leaves Cape Town, Theodoros II will visit George on Tuesday,
Durban on Thursday and Welkom on Saturday. He will remain in Gauteng
for most of next week, then end his visit in Pretoria on March 13.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on
February 28, 2005