The Pope, who arrived at Iddo Road, Ebute Metta, venue of the events at about 9.19 a.m. was received by senior clergy of the church, including the Very Rev. Fr. Panteleimon Arathymos, Very Rev. Fr. Timothy Dewedi, Very Rev. Fr. Maximos Nnachette, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Osuji, Archdeacon Nefon Hule, Deacon Anastasios Dominic and Deacon Pierve Posset.
Assisted by co-celebrants Hierarchs, His Eminence, Archbishop Gregory of Cameroun and His Eminence, Archbishop Alexander of Nigeria, the Pope presided over the elaborate liturgy and a Patriachal Blessing to the accompaniment of songs by the Cathedral Choir.
The solemn service drew a capacity congregation that filled the cathedral, leaving many worshippers listening to the proceeds outside the church premises.
The church service also featured the presentation of an icon of the Resurrection to the Pope by Archbishop Alexander.
Speaking through an interpreter, the Pope described his visit to the Orthodox Diocese of Nigeria as a historical moment.
He expressed joy at the multi-racial nature of the diocese, saying it exemplified the unity of worship under one God.
The Pope enjoined members of the diocese not to relent in their services to God and man, urging them to cooperate with Archbishop Alexander towards taking the diocese to greater heights.
He also commended the Leventis family for donating towards the new cathedral, describing the gesture as “incense unto God.”
In recognition of his service to humanity, the Pope honoured Chief Executive Officer, Leventis Group, Dr. Anastasios Leventis with the Cross of Saint Mark.
Equally honoured were Mr. Chidozie Udeze, his wife, Amaka, and Chief Koullis Kyriakos Schizas.
Also at the event, the Patriarch of Alexandria extended his hands of friendship to the Dominican seminarians of Ibadan Archdiocese and promised them excellent hospitality should they visit his seat of throne in Egypt.
Source: The Guardian