The Head of the Greek Orthodox Church, His Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa: Theodoris II has this afternoon, 18 January 2015, paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Jacob Zuma at his residence Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria.
President Zuma expressed his gratitude for the meeting. He expressed his deep appreciation for the positive contribution of the Greek South African community in the development of the country. The President cited leading citizens of Greek origin such as Advocate George Bizos and Mr Stavros Nicolaou, the President of the Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese Alliance who serves in the BRICS Business Council and also as a member of the Brand SA Trust.
The Patriarch also expressed his gratitude for the meeting with the President and assured him that South Africans of Greek origin are fully committed to South Africa, and thanked the President for his leadership.
The Patriarch appraised the President of some of the development initiatives that the Greek Orthodox Church was supporting in Africa, including building 3000 schools and 2000 clinics. He indicated as well that the church had built 4000 water boreholes across the continent and that they would be keen to support South Africa’s infrastructure development through developing the boreholes in this country as well.
The highlight of the warm and cordial meeting was the bestowal by His Beatitude Theodoris II on President Zuma, of the Order of the lion of St Mark, which is one of the highest honours of the Greek Orthodox Church.
“I am very humbled by this highest honour. I accept it on behalf of all the people of South Africa”, said the President. He said building the country was a collective effort, and said he also accepted the award on behalf of the Greek South African community in particular, given their positive contribution to building a new South Africa.
The Pope blessed the President and the country and wished South Africa growth and strength.
President Zuma accepted an invitation to visit the Headquarters of the Church in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Pope was accompanied by;
1. Mr Stavros Nicolaou, President of the Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese, (HIP), Alliance.
2. Ms Maria Diamantopolou, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to South Africa.
3. Mr Petros Nacouzis, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus to South Africa.
4. Mr Sherf Naguib, Ambassador of the Republic of Egypt to South Africa
5. Rev Ethos Pappas, Envoy of the Pope and Patriarch in Cyprus
6. Mr John Balladakis, Chairman of the Hellenic Section of the HIP Alliance.
President Zuma’s delegation included the Minister in the Presidency for Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Jeff Radebe and the Deputy Minister of International Relations, Mr Llewelyn Landers.
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SOURCE: South African Official News