EPISCOPAL ORDINATION SPEECH by Metropolitan Petros (Parginos) of Accra

As a priest, His Eminence, Metropolitan Petros of Accra, has been a friend to Orthodoxy in Dialogue for almost two years. We were thrilled to learn of his ordination to the episcopate on December 6, 2019, the Feast of St. Nicholas, by Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa. We are deeply honoured to collaborate with His Eminence in sharing his Ordination Speech with our readers. In it, he calls for a Church “that is not afraid to debate, not only with other churches, confessions, and religions, but with the contemporary world and the sciences,” a Church “that is the voice and the harbour of the underprivileged, the persecuted, the forgotten, the marginalized, those that have need of compassion and humanity.”

Ἄξιος! Ἄξιος! Ἄξιος! 

Εἰς πολλὰ ἔτη, Δέσποτα!

theopetros

Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa (L), Metropolitan Petros of Accra (R)

Your Beatitude, our Father and Master, Revered Hierarchs, co-presbyters and fellow-deacons, my respected and beloved parents, dear relatives and friends from my birthplace South Africa, but also from Greece and specifically from Ithaca, my island of origin.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Lk 4:18-19)

When, just over twenty years ago, Your Beatitude, I received the first degree of the priesthood from your own most honourable hands, I could not imagine what the Grace of the Most-Holy Spirit would have in store for me, granting me the highest of honours, that of the High Priesthood. The highest of honours, your Beatitude, yet one of a sacrificial service and ministry that calls us to continuously crucify the “ego” so as to be in “place and person of Christ,” portraying Him, our Great High Priest and Saviour, as much as is humanly possible.

It is for this reason, holy Master that I dare not speak of this Holy Mystery about which so many others, worthier and holier than I, have spoken and theologised. I dare not add anything to all this, knowing my own weaknesses and trusting only in God’s mercy and that the Holy Spirit, with your invocation, will make up for my shortcomings and heal my infirmities.

I dare not speak about the significant trust that You and the Holy Synod have placed in my care; the trust that You have called me to receive, as another torch-bearer, the torch of faith and of the Alexandrian Tradition. You have called me, not only to preserve it, giving account for it at that Great Day, but also to transmit it for the enlightenment and sanctification of all.

I do, however, dare to trust in Your Person and in the ancient tradition, theological and social, of the Alexandrian Church. I dare to hope in You and in a Church that can, not only lead man to theosis, but the whole world to transfiguration and social justice.

I dare to trust in You and in a Church that speaks the language of the people and that knows that remaining faithful to Tradition does not mean looking back continuously, but with Her strong foundations looking to the future with optimism and boldness.

I dare to hope in You and a Church that is not afraid to debate, not only with other churches, confessions, and religions, but with the contemporary world and the sciences.

I dare to hope in You and in a Church that does not insist on hollow externals but attempts to give substance to contemporary mam that hungers and thirsts for truth and for the meaning of existence.

I dare to hope in You and in a Church that respects the person and diversity, a Church that embraces all, because as You, Your Beatitude, have shown us, whatever is not an “embrace” is not “Church.”

I dare to trust, Your Beatitude, in You and in a Church that is the voice and the harbour of the underprivileged, the persecuted, the forgotten, the marginalized, those that have need of compassion and humanity.

I dare, because You dared first.

I express my humble gratitude and deepest emotions of respects to You, Your Beatitude. Years back, from the first moment, You embraced me with Your Paternal love. You and the Alexandrian Church will always have my dedication and love.

I am grateful to the Most-Holy Hierarchs that elected me and entrusted me with this ministry. I express my gratitude specifically to the most beloved Hierarchs with whom I share years of friendship. Particular mention among them must be made of the Geron Metropolitan of Leontopolis, Gabriel, and the beloved and fraternal friend, the Metropolitan of Nigeria, Alexander. Also, His Eminence, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Johannesburg and Pretoria, occupies a significant place in my heart. He has been as a father and mentor to me.

I remember the ever-blessed Metropolitans Paul and Ioannis and will commemorate them always, for their role in my priestly journey. I express, from the depths of my heart, my gratitude to His Eminence, Metropolitan Dorotheos of Syros for his paternal love and assistance towards my family and me.

I express the deepest gratitude to my parents, my sister, relatives ,and friends, living and departed, to SAHETI School, the congregation of Saheti’s Chapel, Father Kwame Joseph Labi, and the faithful of the Church of Ghana for their prayers and for all who pray for me.

Your Beatitude, may He who transformed me by His Divine Love, now become my helper, refuge, and saviour.

Your Beatitude, our Father and Master, “It is time to act for the Lord.” Give the blessing!

Metropolitan Petros of Accra was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. After matriculating from SAHETI School he studied English and Greek Literature at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and of Johannesburg. He taught Greek language and culture at Saheti and was appointed head of the Greek Department for the high school.

In 1998 he was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood, and later obtained an MA in theology from Balamand, focusing on ecclesiology, and a second MA from the Catholic College of St Augustine in Johannesburg, focusing on spirituality and the Orthodox neptic tradition. He attended courses in Christian ethics, education, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, pastoral care, and psychology. He holds a Licentiate in Logotherapy (existential psychology).

In 2019 he completed a Doctorate through the University of the North West, focusing on the dialogue of the Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2017, with the blessings of His Beatitude, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros II and of the Holy Synod, he founded, organised, and administers St. Mark’s Academy, which offers theological education by means of distance learning, using electronic and online means of communication.

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