All Saints of Africa
Today we commemorated all the saints of Africa, and one of the things that stuck me is that there are so very few recent ones.
In the Orthodox Church the Sunday after Pentecost is All Saints day (that makes the Saturday after Pentecost Hallowe’en) and the following Sunday (ie today) all the saints of a particular coutnry or region are commemorated.
And one of the sad things about it is that there are so few saints in Africa after the 4th century.
There are lots of saints who died in the 3rd and 4th century persecutions, and some notable 4th century saints: theologians like St Athanasius, who was mainly responsible for eht Nicene Creed, which forms the first part of the Symbol of Faith. Monastic pioneers like St Anthony and St Pachomius. Missionaries like St Frumentius.
But after that, very few and none that I know of in Southern Africa. They’re all north of the equator.
One of the better-known recent ones is St Nektarius of Pentapolis. But guess what — we kicked him out.
He was bishop of Pentapolis, and some of his colleagues denounced him to the Patriarch, and he was deposed. He was actually declaried a saint by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Perhaps that is why there are so few — the ones that the Lord does send us we treat so badly that he is perhaps reluctant to send any more.