Fellowship and food
We have had several visitors recently, and on Saturday I took two of them, Fr Ciprian Burlacioiu and Macrina Walker, to visit two of our monastery sites.
First we went to see Father Frumentius Taubata and Matushka Evgenia, who run an orphanage at Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, and Fr Frumentius came with us to the monastery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Gerardville, where they saw the tomb of Fr Nazarius (Pribojan), who founded the monastery with Fr Elias about 10 years ago. Though there are no monastics there now, the monastery and grounds are kept in good condition by the caretaker Nikhon.
We went on to visit the Monastery of St Nektarius and St Nicholas at Leeuwenkloof, which also no longer has any resident monastics since Deacon Nektarius (in the world Les Ritson) went to England for health reasons recently.
Macrina Walker, who had become Orthodox a month earlier, was formerly a Cistercian nun in the Netherlands and has recently returned to South Africa to explore the possibility of getting a job in Cape Town. While there she visited Fr Zacharius (van Wyk) at Robertson, and we had quite a surprise when we met him at Vespers later in the evening at St Nicholas Church in Brixton, Johannesburg. We sang “Many Years” to Fr Ciprian, as it was his name day (St Cyprian of Carthage).
After Vespers Fr Athanasius, the parish priest of St Nicholas, joined us for dinner at a restaurant in Norwood, where he had a chance to get to know Fr Ciprian and Macrina better. Fr Athanasius, Fr Ciprian and I have research interests in common, and Fr Ciprian’s research project on Daniel William Alexander and the African Orthodox Church is likely to fill some important gaps in our knowledge of the history of Orthodoxy in Africa. The archival records of Daniel William Alexander are split between the USA and South Africa, and Fr Ciprian is one of the very few researchers who have been able to consult both sets. He is also hoping, on his way home to Germany, where he is based, to be able to consult additional sources in the Patriarchal Library in Alexandria.