St. George’s guest speaker on Sunday, April 2nd is Simon Menya, a Master of Divinity student at St Vladimirās Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY. He is from Gulu, Northern Uganda, where he attends St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church.
Simon will be speaking to raise awareness of the challenges that Orthodox Christians in his country are facing and he asks for our prayers.Ā In particular, he asks that we pray for his Metropolitan Jonah (Lwanga), who oversees all of Uganda, under the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria.
Northern Uganda recently emerged from civil war.Ā Largely forsaken by the world, the people were terrorized over the course of more than two decades by the cult leader Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).Ā The Ugandan people thank God that peace has returned to their land, but their needs are great.Ā The people need help healing from the scars and trauma of civil war as well as the typical services offered by priests.Ā A growing Orthodox population exists in Northern Uganda and there are currently far more parishes than there are priestsĀ (fourteen parishes and six priests).
Before beginning as a seminarian in August of 2015, Simon served as Headmaster of the Archangel Michael Orthodox Secondary School. Funded by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in 2010 for its first three years, the school grew under Simon’s leadership from 105 to 558 students, many of whom are orphans.Ā Orthodox parishes in America have also sponsored a health center. Ā Working alongside American missionaries, Simon demonstrated his love for and desire to serve the people. These missionaries helped bring him to America to study at St. Vladimirās.
He is scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2018, although he would also like to learn Greek language and Liturgical practices before returning home. Simonās hope is to do ecclesiastical work in Northern Uganda after he completes his studies, and ordination could be in his future āif it is Godās will.ā
More information aboutĀ Simon can be found at http://www.svots.edu/voices/seminarians/gulu-uganda-yonkers-new-york-seminarian-simon-menyas-report