'We Are One Humanity'

His Beatitude, Theodoros ll, Pope and Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All of Africa welcomed by Mr Antonis Mandritis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to South Africa

25 November 2021

“It is a great honor to welcome you today, since the Throne of Saint Marcus represents the Orthodox Christian faith in Africa. Furthermore, it is well known that you support every effort to promote the peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures in the Middle East and Africa. Your Beatitude has always been a beacon of reconciliation and peace for the faithful in the Orthodox world and beyond.” It is with these words that Mr Antonis Mandritis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to South Africa welcomed His Beatitude, Theodoros ll, Pope and Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All of Africa to a luncheon held in his honour in Sandton, Johannesburg. This is the first event hosted by the newly accredited High Commissioner of Cyprus since his arrival in South Africa.

“We are one Humanity”, said Pope Theodoros II in his remarks at the luncheon for representatives of the Diplomatic Corps in South Africa and included Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells, head of The Apostolic Nunciature diplomatic mission of the Holy See to South Africa. “We should practice reciprocal understanding and even love without objectification,” continued His Beatitude. This is message he shares as he continues his tour through Africa. He spoke of Cyprus and its strategic location between Europe, the Middle East and Africa and blessed that “peace may be upon us”.

“As a purely spiritual institution, the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa embraces a truly global apostolate that strives to raise and broaden the consciousness of the human family – to bring understanding that we are all dwelling in the same house.

“Today, when we have the technological means to transcend the horizon of our own cultural self-awareness, we nevertheless continue to witness the terrible effects of human fragmentation. Tribalism, fundamentalism and phyletism – which is extreme nationalism without regard to the rights of the other – all these contribute to the ongoing list of atrocities that give pause to our claims of being civilized in the first place.

“For 20 centuries – through the Pax Romana, the Pax Christiana, the Pax Islamica, the Pax Ottomanica (all epochs marked by intellectual struggle, conflict and outright war) – the Patriarchate of Alexandria has continued as a lighthouse for the human family and the Christian Church. You offer to the contemporary world a timeless message of perennial human value. Your massage is Christal clear: ‘Dialogue is necessary first and foremost because it is inherent in the nature of human person’.

“This is the principal message that you propose for our consideration today: that intellectual dialogue is at the very root of what it means to be a human being, for no one culture of the human family encompasses every human person. Without such dialogue, the differences in the human family are reduced to objectifications of the “other” and lead to abuse, conflict, persecution – a grand-scale human suicide, for we are all ultimately one humanity. But where the differences between us move us to encounter one another, and where that encounter is based in dialogue, there is reciprocal understanding and appreciation – even love,” concluded Mandritis in his welcoming remarks.

TDS