Pastoral Trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
and to the Republic of Uganda
June - July 2007

Dibelenge Territory

Preparing to depart for the Dibelenge territory.
Preparing to depart for the Dibelenge territory.
Preparing to depart for the Dibelenge territory. The truck broke down before we even were able to leave.
“Ma-bako! Ma-bako!” This is Cheluba for “Give me a hand,” or “Push!” We heard this a lot this trip. This became a very familiar scene for the next two days.
The two main hazards or characteristics of the road to the Dibelenge tereritory were very deep, loose sand; and washed out clay with very deep ruts. Sometimes we found both of these qualities in the same location. We would have a washed out area, where one tire would be very high up on solid clay, while the other tire would be down in very loose deep sand. This picture does not do a very good job of showing it, but the left side of this area is raised up pretty high, and the right is very loose sand. Although this section of the road does not look that bad, it took us over twenty minutes to traverse this area beyond the two logs on the right.
Father Chrysostom the Younger, Father Chrysostom the Elder, Father Peter, and Father Theophile in the jungle waiting for the mechanics to fix the truck.
Archpriest Chrysostom and Archbishop Gregory in the jungle waiting for the mechanics to fix the truck.
This picture should give you a better idea of some of the ruts that we encountered. The road was actually worse where Vladika was standing to take this picture.
A beautiful scene in the jungle as we waited for the mechanics to fix the truck on another occasion.
We saw some stunningly beautiful scenery on this trip!
We saw some stunningly beautiful scenery on this trip!
We saw some stunningly beautiful scenery on this trip!
About 5:15 in the afternoon we came to a fairly large village that had drinking water. We rested here briefly (while the mechanics worked on the truck again).
At 7:15 p.m. - in the dark of night - suddenly in our headlights appeared a crowd of over two hundred faithful being held back by Congolese police. We came to a screeching halt, jumped out of the truck, exceedingly happy to have arrived at our destination in the Dibelenge tereritory. The faithful chanted joyous hymns as we walked the rest of the way into the village.
At 7:15 p.m. - in the dark of night - suddenly in our headlights appeared a crowd of over two hundred faithful being held back by Congolese police. We came to a screeching halt, jumped out of the truck, exceedingly happy to have arrived at our destination in the Dibelenge tereritory. The faithful chanted joyous hymns as we walked the rest of the way into the village.
At 7:15 p.m. - in the dark of night - suddenly in our headlights appeared a crowd of over two hundred faithful being held back by Congolese police. We came to a screeching halt, jumped out of the truck, exceedingly happy to have arrived at our destination in the Dibelenge tereritory. The faithful chanted joyous hymns as we walked the rest of the way into the village.
At 7:15 p.m. - in the dark of night - suddenly in our headlights appeared a crowd of over two hundred faithful being held back by Congolese police. We came to a screeching halt, jumped out of the truck, exceedingly happy to have arrived at our destination in the Dibelenge tereritory. The faithful chanted joyous hymns as we walked the rest of the way into the village.
At 7:15 p.m. - in the dark of night - suddenly in our headlights appeared a crowd of over two hundred faithful being held back by Congolese police. We came to a screeching halt, jumped out of the truck, exceedingly happy to have arrived at our destination in the Dibelenge tereritory. The faithful chanted joyous hymns as we walked the rest of the way into the village.
At 7:15 p.m. - in the dark of night - suddenly in our headlights appeared a crowd of over two hundred faithful being held back by Congolese police. We came to a screeching halt, jumped out of the truck, exceedingly happy to have arrived at our destination in the Dibelenge tereritory. The faithful chanted joyous hymns as we walked the rest of the way into the village.
Congolese police take their crowd control very seriously. This particular policeman was very consciencious with his work. He was one of two policemen with AK-47’s stationed on guard outside the adobe hut we spent the night in. He made sure that he always positioned himself where he could see us at all times no matter where we went, and was immediately available should we require his assistance. We never did find out just what they were guarding us from.
Some of our clergy, with some of our faithful singing hymns in the background.
The next morning we saw the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory.
This is the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory.
This is part of the village near the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory.
Archbishop Gregory tonsured six readers in the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory. They are, from left to right, top to bottom: Celestine, Martin, Richard, John, Placide, and Elias.
We estimated that the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory was attended by over a thousand faithful.
We estimated that the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory was attended by over a thousand faithful.
We estimated that the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Saint John the Theologian in the Dibelenge tereritory was attended by over a thousand faithful.
Father Chrysostom the Younger raises the Gospel at the Small Entrance of the Divine Liturgy.
Archbishop Gregory censing the altar after the Small Entrance of the Divine Liturgy.
Our chanters for the Divine Liturgy.
Another photo of the many faithful attending the Divine Liturgy.
Archbishop Gregory censing the iconostasis after the Small Entrance of the Divine Liturgy.
Archbishop Gregory and the clergy at the High Place.
The Great Entrance.
The Great Entrance.
Subdeacon David bows to Archbishop Gregory and kisses his hand at his ordination to the diaconate.
Archbishop Gregory performs the Laying on of Hands to Subdeacon David at his ordination to the diaconate.
Archbishop Gregory presents Deacon David the holy cuffs. Axios!
Archbishop Gregory with the clergy who celebrated the Divine Liturgy with him.
Following the Divine Liturgy, we made a procession around the church, chanting hymns to our beloved Saviour.
Following the Divine Liturgy, we made a procession around the church, chanting hymns to our beloved Saviour.
Following the Divine Liturgy, we made a procession around the church, chanting hymns to our beloved Saviour.
The faithful coming up to kiss the cross and receive antidoron. This took quite some time, as there were many, many people there!
These children wanted me to take their picture. They looked so adorable, who could say no?
Following the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Gregory was asked to meet with the tribal leaders of the area. He was presented with a gift of water buffalo horns, and a jar of local honey.
Archbishop Gregory was also given a goat, which he soon named Mohamed.
Since Father Chrysostom the Younger had served that area and was much loved by the people there, they gave him a goat, too.
They also gave him some chickens, horns, rabbits, and other agricultural products.
They have a root in the Congo that they pound into a flour-like substance. It is not as nutricious as wheat, but it is what God has provided for them. We awoke to this lady pounding these roots.
They have a root in the Congo that they pound into a flour-like substance. It is not as nutricious as wheat, but it is what God has provided for them. We awoke to this lady pounding these roots.
On the way back, we stopped by a lake which had very pure water. For some unknown reason, several people wanted their picture taken with Father Peter there. This is just one of many photos taken with him there.
At approximately midnight, the truck broke down and had to undergo major repairs. Father Peter had the only flashlight - a 2 AAA mini-mag light. After those batteries died, thank God he had a spare set. We went through those, too, before the night was over. The repairs took 1 1/2 - 2 hours. They completely rebuilt / jury-rigged the right rear shock and leaf springs. It sounded terrible after that, but it got us going a little further. Here, people rested on the road as the mechanics worked. It got cold, so people started burning the grass by the road to keep warm.

 

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