In Tanzanian temple "Russian" icons torn off by Alexandrian bishop’s order

Icons at the door of Father Ambrose. Photo: Georgy Maksimov’s TG channel

The icons given by the Russian mission to a temple in Tanzania were thrown at the door of the rector who did not recognize OCU schismatics.

In the temple of the Alexandrian Patriarchate in Tanzania, by order of the ruling bishop Bishop of Arusha and Central Tanzania, Agathonikos (Nikolaidis), icons presented by the Russian missionary society were torn from the walls and thrown at the door of the rector, Father Ambrose, reports Fr Georgy Maximov, a Russian theologian, on his Telegram channel.

At the beginning of 2021, the missionary society of St. Serapion Kozheozersky printed a prayer book in Swahili, as well as icons of Jesus Christ and the Mother of God. Some of them were given to Tanzania, including Father Ambrose, who was one of the African priests who did not support the actions of the Alexandrian Patriarch Theodore, who concelebrated with the OCU schismatics.

On December 10, 2021, Alexandrian Bishop Agathonikos removed Fr Ambrose from the post of rector of the temple and ordered him to move out of the temple room with his family as soon as possible. The next day, the “Russian” icons were torn down in the church. “As ordered by the Greek bishop, some people tore down all the ‘Russian’ icons in the church and threw them at the door of Fr Ambrose,” wrote Fr Georgy.

The theologian noted that this incident shocked many Orthodox priests in Tanzania, who said that even pagans did not allow themselves this. “I confess, it struck me unpleasantly. I can psychologically understand the displeasure and indignation of Bp. Agathonikos with the disobedient priest, but why are the icons to blame?"  resumed Fr Georgy.

As reported, after the concelebration of Patriarch Theodore with the head of the OCU, a number of clergymen of the Alexandrian Church declared their unwillingness to communicate with schismatics. Theologian Priest Georgy Maksimov, in an article on the Pravoslavie.Ru website, explained why the entry of the Alexandrian Patriarch into church communion with schismatics from the OCU on November 8, 2019, allowed the ROC to open its jurisdiction in Africa. It should be noted that, unlike the Greek and Cypriot Churches, the decision on the recognition of the OCU was made by the ruling and vicar bishops of the AOC relatively unanimously (although the sole decision of Patriarch Theodore II received full approval a little later), with the disagreement of many serving clerics, as well as individual bishops at rest.

On December 29, 2021, the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa was formed in the ROC and decided to receive 102 clerics of the Alexandrian Patriarchate from eight African countries into the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, in accordance with earlier petitions.

On December 29, 2021, the ROC formed the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa and received 102 clerics of the Alexandrian Patriarchate from eight African countries into its jurisdiction at their request.

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