Fr. Miklos Returns From An OCMC Mission Trip to Tanzania
SPRING HILL, FL -- Father Michael Miklos Dean of our Florida Deanery returned August 8th from his eighth Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Mission trip in the past seven years. This is his fourth trip to Tanzania with other visits to Cameroon, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya. He and previous teams also made visits to parishes in Chad and Uganda.
After a two year absence from Tanzania, Father Michael was pleased to be warmly greeted by His Eminence Metropolitan Irenymos of Mwanza, Tanzania, who remembered him and greeted him, as if he had never left, with a warm hug, and his infamous broad smile.
The OCMC Team was very diverse with members being from different walks of life. Along with Fr. Michael, Spritual Advisor; Mr. Kenneth Kidd, the OCMC Annual Gifts Officer ( Team Leader); Monica Kostron, Executive assistant; Eugenia Vasilladis, Bridal Gown Designer; Alexandra Pierce, a priests daughter; Edward Bearse , a Minnesota Judge; all from the U.S. and from Finland Tiina Matveinen, School teacher; Matushka Anneli Pietarinen who also is a nurse, She administered to the team and tried to help the students many of whom were suffering from Malaria.
After the initial orientation in Mwanza, Tanzania the team traveled by vehicle around the west shore of Lake Victoria to Kazisiki the Metropolis Seminary, in the Kagera region, one hour from the town of Bukoba. Where they were greeted by the students and our host Fr. Gerisimos a long time friend of Father Michael’s, Many of the local priests also came to greet us many of whom Father Michael knew from previous visits.
The Training sessions were conducted for 7 days. There were two classes of 35 students each, receiving four hours of instruction each day. With each day beginning at 6:00AM with Matins, then on Sundays and Holy Days Divine Liturgy, with Vespers at 6:00 PM followed by evening prayers for the students at 9:00 PM.
Chalices and patens were given by Christ the Savior Greek Orthodox Church Brooksville, Florida and many Icons and religious appointments including Pectoral Crosses from the estate of Fr. George Breyan. His Eminence was very pleaed to receive them and Consecrated and blessed them after Divine Liturgy. He said to me that he wanted to elevate some priests and now with the crosses he would.
Many of the people do not have Icons of their own. The students were given Icons to mount on wood as a project. Fr. Michael then offered prayers of Blessings for them.
Then on Monday August 7 at 9:00 PM Tanzania time (2:00PM EST) we boarded the ferry boat for a 9 hour ferry ride across Lake Victoria to Mwanza. After a short rest we visited the Cathedral now under construction. With the dedication hopefully next year and the new Seminary being built. ( It is through a great benefactor from Greece made several years ago that these buildings are being constructed.)
After lunch we were taken to the Mwanza airport for our journey to our respective homes. As is normally expected in Africa our plane was two hours late in arriving, at Mwanza, Fortunately we had a scheduled, four hour layover in Nairobi, with ample time to make our connection to Amsterdam..
It is Father Michael’s hope that he and Pani Karen can travel to Mwanza next year for the dedication of the Cathedral. Having been the main priest celebrant in the consecration of two churches in Africa, one in Cameroon and one in Tanzania, and assisting in the laying of the corner stone of several churches in Cameroon, he prays that, it would be a fitting conclusion to these journeys.
Metropolitan Irenymos and Fr. Michael
Fr. Michael with Fr. Gersimos and Kenneth Kidd
Fr. Michael with Fr. Gersimos and local priests
OCMC Team and Local priests
Blessing Icons for students
Mission team dancing with students
Haya house that is 200 years old!
St. Nicholas Cathedral, Mwanza
Seminary building, Mwanza