The Orthodox Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Metropolitan Seraphim (Kykkotis), has been transferred to Zimbabwe, and the new Archbishop will be Bishop Damaskinos of Ghana.
Archbishop Seraphim has been appointed as ecumenical representative of the Patriarchate of Alexandria on various bodies, including the World Council of Churches (WCC), All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations. Because these duties will require him to travel a great deal, he has been transferred to the smaller Archdiocese of Zimbabwe.
Bishop Damaskinos, who has been transferred to the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria to replace Archbishop Seraphim, is no stranger to South Africa, as he also served as parish priest in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal, where he opened new mission congregations in various parts of the province.
The Archbishopric of Zimbabwe is also being reduced in size by the creation of new dioceses in Mocambique and Botswana. Father Ioannis, the parish priest in Germiston, has been appointed as the new Bishop of Mocambique.
Archbishop Seraphim became Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria in 2001, following the death of the previous Archbishop, Ioannis. The Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria consists of the old Transvaal province. It has several Greek-speaking parishes, and also Russian, Serbian and Romanian-speaking parishes, as well as parishes that use English, Afrikaans and other local languages.
Orthodox Churches in Africa fall under the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, which is the oldest Christian church in Africa, tracing its origins to the first century, when St Mark is traditionally regarded as the founder. In the sixth century theological disagreements led to a split, and since then there have been two popes in Alexandria, one Greek and one Coptic, but both trace their common roots back to the first century.