Metropolitan Leonid of Klin has arrived in Africa for his first visit in his capacity as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s new African Exarchate.
Having arrived to the canonical territory of the Ugandan Church of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Russian hierarch is facing resistance from local Ugandan hierarchs.
“I am glad to finally be on African soil, in a different status and with other powers,” the Metropolitan told RIA-Novosti, referring to his previous service as representative of the Patriarch of Moscow to the Patriarch of Alexandria from December 2004 to May 2013.
“We have come with good goals, bringing peace and development to the continent. But the main thing is to give the clergy and flock an opportunity to remain faithful to ecumenical Orthodoxy and avoid the schism caused by the Patriarchate of Alexandria,” he explained.
Several priests of the Russian Church have already been active in Africa since the creation of the Russian Exarchate in December, including Archpriests George Maximov and Andrei Novikov, who were declared defrocked by the Alexandrian Patriarchal Ecclesiastical Court, though the Russian Church does not recognize this decision.
Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria has also threatened to defrock Met. Leonid.
Met. Leonid’s visit is the first of a Russian hierarch to the territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria since the creation of the Exarchate. As of February, the Russian Exarchate was reported to have 10 clerics in Uganda.
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