Corner-stone for the first Orthodox Church in Botswana

Church of Serbia- 26/11/16

The corner-stone for the first Orthodox church in Botswana, a historical event for the Serbian people on the African continent, was laid on October 15th, 2016, exactly 15 days after the celebration of the great jubilee of the people of Botswana, the 50th anniversary of its independence.

Efforts of the Serbian community to do this one year before did not succeed, for technical reasons and problems concerning the legalization of the original plot. By the acquisition of a new plot in Phakalane, a wealthy district of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, preparations for laying a corner-stone began.

On the feast-day of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, on October 15th, 2016, with the blessing of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and His Beatitude Patriarch Theodor II of Alexandria, the Lord gathered a small group of Serbs and their friends. The solemn ceremony was headed  by Archbishop Damascinos of Pretoria and Johannesburg with the concelebration of archimandrite Sergije from the Archdiocese and priests of the Serbian Orthodox Church presbyter Isajlo, parish priest of South Africa. With the blessing of Archbishop Damascinos, at the beginning of the consecration rite the Chart of the  new church, signed by the Serbian Patriarch, was read and then placed into the metalic cylinder, which was then put into the box sealed by a wax and placed along the corner-stone together with a box of rocks brought from Serbioan and elsewhere. Following this rite, the service was held.

The corner-stone with the cross on its top and the date of the laying was chiselled in Johanessburg by Mr. Milinko Milovojevic as well as the marble cross which is going to be installed into the wall of the church.

The host of the ceremony was Mr. David Lesang. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security in the Government of the Republic of  Botswana Lawyer Sadique Kebonang, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of South Africa Mr. Bozin Nikolic with his wife, Consul of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of South Africa Mr. Sasa Mart, Ambassador of Russia to Botswana Mr. Viktor Sibilov with his wife, Honorary Consul of Greece to Botswana Mr. Makis Syutas, Honorary Consul of Cyprus to Botswana, the Serbs from South Africa, members of the Serbian Cultural and Art Society „Africa“ from Johanessburg and others.

After the solemn service the speeches were delivered by Archbishop Damascinos, Minister Kebonang, Ambassador Nikolic and the president of the Serbian Society in Botswana Mr. Milivoje Nikolic.

After the speeches everyone present was invited to put into a wooden box rocks brought from their birthplace and famous shrines of our people, such as monasteries Zica, Studenica, Sopocani, Moraca, Ostrog, Djurdjevi Stupovi, Gradac, Lazarica church at Крусевац, a rock from the Kopaonik mountain, a rock from the Saint Sava Cathedral in Belgrade, the Cathedral church in Belgrade as well as from the church of Saint Petka in theKalimegdan fortress, rocks from Belgrade, Kolasin, Novi Sad, Loznica, Trebinje. Also a rock from Phakalane, Kilimanjaro and the Pec Patriarchate were layed.

In the evening, next to the solemn donors’ dinner, there was a performance of children from the Serbian school in Botswana as well as of the  folklore group “Africa”.

Source: Church Council of the Church-school Community of Saint Sava, Johannesburg