April 7, 2014

5 Schismatic Priests With 1500 Followers Return to Orthodoxy in Congo

In an article written by Metropolitan Ignatios of Pentapolis for the Greek missionary periodical ΦΩΣ των Εθνών (Light of the Nations) titled "Blessed Return to the Mother Church", his Eminence reports on the return to the Metropolis of Central Africa under the Patriarchate of Alexandria of 5 priests and around 1500 of their followers in Kananga, Congo from a schismatic group.

The leader of this schismatic group was Fr. Chrysostomos Mbakualsimbasu, who was the first to return to the canonical Church, and his four priests followed seeking the salvation of their souls. Immediately they gave up their cassocks and vestments and returned to the status of laymen, leaving their future in the hands of the Patriarchate, and this followed with the signing of the document of repentance.

One of these priests had seven villages under him, another had six villages, and two others had one village each, around 1,500 people altogether, and they all repented and returned to the Church either through Baptism or Chrismation, depending on their situation. All of this was done with the blessing of Metropolitan Nikephoros of Central Africa.

One priest spoke about the emptiness in his soul for being outside the Mother Church, and the fear he felt for the flock that followed him, not considering himself a true priest. He said: "I felt exhausted and as if I betrayed the 'mysteries' I did, since I believed I wasn't truly a priest."

Metropolitan Ignatios concludes: "The sadness of their withdrawal was wiped away by the joy of their return and regeneration!"