This article presents an overview of Orthodox mission in Central and Western Africa, examining key issues of modern missionary activity, with a self-critical approach. It gives a broad historical outline, examines the relation of the Greek diaspora communities in Africa with the local people, describes the geographical context and the cultural diversity within the region, discusses the theme of inculturation. Furthermore, it critically examines issues of missiological methodology, pointing to inner shortcomings of the Orthodox, and sets priorities for the future from the perspective of the author’s pastoral experience. The article concludes with the prospects and the potential for Orthodoxy in Africa, keeping an eye on the future and also taking into consideration the position and the claims of the African community within the Ecumene.
Ιt is difficult to cover every aspect of the Orthodox Church’s missionary work in sub-Saharan Africa within the limits of this short article. The missionary task is, of course, constantly evolving without anybody being able to determine what its final form will be. It can be described as a large-scale work, not only because of the sheer volume of the work, but also because of the vast numbers of people involved and the numerous tribes spread over a vast geographical area and also across nations.
In practice, the missionary efforts are an impossible feat even for the very organised individual missions.