Rev. Archimandrite Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos was born in Vasilitsi, Messenia, Greece in 1900 into a devout Christian home, and from childhood he devoted his life to Christ. Although he had not had very much education in his early life, Father Chrysostomos became a monk and a priest.
During the years 1920-1929 Archimandrite Chrysostomos stayed at the Holy Monastery of Gardikiou (Moni Gardikiou), in Messenia.
After many years of faithful service in his native country, he experienced a strong leading, a true "Macedonian Call,"[note 1] to go as a missionary to Africa. Troubled by his lack of education, and believing he would be of greater value to the Lord as a missionary with a degree, Father Chrysostomos went to University at the age of 55, graduating when he was 60 (i.e. in 1960).
He then came to Kenya. Learning a new language at that age was not easy, but within a year of arriving in Kenya, Father Chrysostomos could preach in Swahili. Although no longer young, Father Chrysostomos displayed an energy, which a man half his age might have envied. He launched himself into a continual round of evangelizing, teaching and preaching. He had the qualities, which should be the hallmark of every priest: zeal, dedication, self-sacrifice, devotion to duty and, above all, holiness.
For 10 years, Father Chrysostomos laboured in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, but all the time his spiritual vision was fixed on another territory, where the flag of Orthodoxy had not at that time been raised: the country which is today called the Democratic Republic of Congo.[note 2] In 1970 Father Chrysostomos went to live in Congo to begin a new mission there, staying there for two years, that is, for the remainder of his life.
Today, much progress has been made in evangelizing Congo, and there is a Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Kinshasa. Father Chrysostomos was the pioneer, who laid the foundations, on which the superstructure of Orthodoxy in Congo was raised up. Kenya is not a small country, but Congo is more than four times the size of Kenya. Father Chrysostomos was always on the move, travelling widely in that huge country. His life was a continuous round of travelling, preaching, baptizing, planting churches and celebrating the Divine Liturgy. The greatest desire of his heart was to spread Orthodoxy to Congo, and in this, he was marvellously successful. He was a perfectly humble man, full of the Holy Spirit.
- ↑ Acts 16:6-10.
- ↑ Previously called Zaire.
- ↑ A very close co-worker with Father Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos in East Africa had been a Greek Archimandrite named Athanasios Anthidis, who offeried his mission work there for many years. On Christmas 1980, Father Athanasios traveled to India to begin a systematic Orthodox Mission in the rural area of Arambah, in West Bengal. After he passed away in 1990, he was suceeded a year later by priest-monk Fr. Ignatios Sennis, who came to Calcutta to continue the mission. (Censer, Dec. 1998)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya. Sermon at a Memorial Service for the Pioneer Missionary Rev. Archimandrite Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos, at the Church of St. Paul, Kagira, 29 December, 1993. Adventures in the Unseen, Volume 1. Orthodox Research Institute, 2004. pp.115-119.
- ↑ Holy Metropolis of Messenia. Holy Monastery of Gardikiou.
- Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya. Sermon at a Memorial Service for the Pioneer Missionary Rev. Archimandrite Chrysostomos Papasarantopoulos, at the Church of St. Paul, Kagira, 29 December, 1993. Adventures in the Unseen, Volume 1. Orthodox Research Institute, 2004. pp.115-119. ISBN 9780974561851
- Holy Metropolis of Messenia. Holy Monastery of Gardikiou.
- Stephen Hayes. Orthodox Mission in Tropical Africa. Missionalia (Journal of the Southern African Missiological Society).