On the 24th of January 2010, after the Divine liturgy, a special prayer was done in the Russian Orthodox Church of St Sergius of Radonezh in Johannesburg dedicated to the beginning of the new academic year, which starts at the beginning of January in South Africa and not in September as in Russia.
At the end of the service, the congregation was introduced to their new Rector, Father Daniel Lugovoy, whose appointment was decided by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on the 10th of October 2009.
Archpriest Ioann Lapidus, who is currently setting off to a new pastoral position in Switzerland, heartily welcomed the new Rector, wishing him all God’s help and strength in fulfilling his pastoral responsibilities of the spiritual care of his new South African flock. Fr Daniel was also welcomed by H. E. Mr A.A. Makarov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in South Africa, as well as by H. E. Mr. V.N. Hrebeniuk, the Ambassador of the Ukraine. They noted the significant role of the St Sergius Parish in consolidating the Russian-speaking diaspora living in Southern Africa and assisting their return to their spiritual roots.
In his answering speech, the new Rector thanked Father Ioann, H. E. Mr. A. Makarov and H. E. Mr V. Hrebeniuk for their warm words of welcome. He emphasized Father Ioann’s outstanding contribution to the growth of Parish life and internal decoration of the Church, expressing his firm intention to build on and develop all the good works begun by his predecessors.
Earlier in the week, on the 22nd of January, Archpriest Ioann and Father Daniel took part in a meeting of clergy of the Johannesburg and Pretoria diocese. His Eminence Seraphim, the Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria, in commemorating the departure of Fr Ioann to pastoral duties in Switzerland, presented him with an honorary certificate on behalf of His Beatitude Theodorus, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, as acknowledgement of his many years of fruitful service in South Africa and his role in the building of brotherly relations between the Johannesburg and Pretoria eparchy and the only Russian Orthodox Parish in subequatorial Africa. At the end of the meeting, Bishop Seraphim also gave his blessing to Father Daniel as he starts his period of service.