17-01-2007

Ukrainians greet Mozambique Orphans on Orthodox Christmas

Ukrainians greet Mozambique Orphans on Orthodox ChristmasA group of young Ukrainians who live in the Republic of Mozambique (southern Africa) decided to pass some warmth to Mozambique orphans, children living next to us and wishing to get at least some peace and happiness, writes Dmytro YATSIUK (Maputo, Mozambique).

On 6 January (Epiphany, according to the Gregorian calendar), in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Archangel Gabriel in the capital of the country, Maputo, the Feast of the Epiphany was celebrated. After the Liturgy, water was blessed and all persons present received a blessing from the local priest, Fr. Georgii Zolotenko, a Ukrainian born in [central Ukrainian] Khmelnytskyi

The whole Ukrainian community consists mainly of three large groups of citizens: doctors, teachers at higher educational institutions, and women who married Mozambicans in Ukraine and chose this African country to be their place of residence. According to non-official calculations, today 400 Ukrainians live in Mozambique, including children of mixed marriages (most of these Ukrainians were born in Ukraine and have one parent [usually the mother] of Ukrainian descent). The community shrunk over the last two years as the result of the mass departure from Mozambique of Ukrainian doctors and their families for professional reasons, especially non-extension of contracts.

The Ukrainian community of Mozambique is not organized so far; there is no separate Ukrainian church or civic organization. The vast majority of Ukrainians are Orthodox and go to the Greek Orthodox Church, where the priest, Fr. Georgii, is of Ukrainian descent (city of Khmelnytskyi). The Orthodox community in Mozambique is not large. In addition to Ukrainians, it is composed of Belarusians, Bulgarians, Ethiopians, Greeks, Cypriots, Russians, Romanians, and Serbians. But services are celebrated in Greek and, less often, in Russian.

On the same day, the Feast of the Epiphany continued at the shore of the Indian Ocean, near the Holiday Inn hotel, where Fr. Georgii blessed the ocean’s waters. During the celebration, a wooden cross was put in the water, and whichever of the children was first to fish it out of the water received a special blessing for the whole year.

As soon as the celebration finished, a small group of Ukrainians visited orphans of the children’s home First of May in Maputo to greet the children for Christmas (according to the Julian calendar) and to present them a small gift, the value of which is limited not by its commercial price but by the attention given by the Ukrainian community of Mozambique to people suffering from the lack of attention from the state and society.

The children and teachers received the Ukrainians well. After a short presentation, the gift was passed to the orphans, and the Ukrainians promised to return as soon as a possible.

P.S. On 28 January, 2007, a bishop from Greece will come to live in Mozambique, and the country will be granted the status of an episcopate (Mozambique is so far subordinate to the Orthodox Episcopate of Zimbabwe). And Ukrainian priest Fr. Georgii Zolotenko will be transferred to another place, most probably, in the neighboring Republic of South Africa (city of Cape Town).

Photo by the author

RISU’s Ukrainian-language site posted this text on 17 January 2007.

Portuguese version of the material:


• http://ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com/2007/01/ucranianos-desejam-bom-natal-ortodoxo.html

www.risu.org.ua

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