51 years after, members celebrate new church building
The Resurrection of the Lord Orthodox Cathedral Church yesterday opened a new Cathedral in Lagos. Members and non-members, including those that God used to achieve the feat attended the event.
The Archbishop of Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria, Alexander Gianniris, presided over the service tagged: “The solemn opening and first Divine Liturgy of the New Cathedral Church of the Resurrection of the Lord in Lagos.”
The Guardian learnt that the first church building in the premises of AG. Leventis in Ebute Metta, which then served the Greek community, was built in 1966.
Gianniris told The Guardian shortly after the service that he was “Grateful to God and those who contributed to make the project a reality. It is a sanctuary and the heartbeat of the Orthodox Church in Nigeria, Benin and Togo.
“I really thank everybody that there were many people with a lot of zeal and passion starting from the Leventis Foundation to the least of the workers; they contributed their time and energy to bring this to completion.”
The Archbishop narrated that: “The first church was built in this place in 1966 for the needs of the Greek community and from there mission work started in the country gradually. From there too, the old building was demolished because of the damages from the rising horizon of the lagoon and the waters. Finally, by the Grace of God, we have this one today.”
The church also used the occasion to honour those who contributed to the building project. Those honoured are ITB Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gabi Massoud, Group Managing Director; Druckfarben Nigeria Limited, Mr. Marios Fitzos, General Manager; HPZ-PZ Cussons Nigeria Limited, Mr. Dimitris Kostiannis, Managing Director; SMG Constructions Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jihad Andrawos on behalf of the company; Debbas Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ziad Salameh, Managing Director; A.G. Leventis Nigeria Plc, Mr. Michael Economakis, Executive Managing Director; Engineer Farid Khalaf, Project Manager; Real Estate Division, A.G. Leventis, General Manager and staff of Real Estate Division, Mr. Pantazis Tsoussis; Mr. Ayobami Ojewale; Mr. Ranti Ogunsanya; Mr. Rasak Adebiyi; Mr. Tunji Obidahunsi; Mr. Augustine Agbomile; Mr. Michael Olawale and Mr. Abdurahman Kazeem.
Expressing his joy for the honour, the Chairman of A.G Leventis, Ahmed Matey , said he had “known the bishop for so many years, he is really a man of God and I have very high respect for him and it is also the same with the other people who had contributed towards the church building. I can only wish the congregation the best of everything.
“I’m sure that many more things will be added to the beautiful church. Our engineers and real estate division were all given special recognition because of their contribution. But for a thing like this, you don’t claim any glory, it’s God that made the person, so all glory goes to Him.”
Another man who was honoured was Mr. Farid Khalaf, who built and designed the structure of the church, said he was “grateful to God, the community and everybody.”
The service also witnessed the presence of important dignitaries such as the Publisher of The Guardian, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Dr. Alexander Thomopulos, the Chairman, Board of Trustees A.G. Leventis Foundation, A.P. Leventis and his wife, Myriam, Mr. Farid Khalaf and Monsignor Bernard Okodua, who represented the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins.