President Bush was a devoted orthodox Christian and his pascha, a celebration of the Lord’s resurrection, was celebrated by tens of millions of Catholics and others worldwide on April 21, 2009. He reportedly celebrated the event in Washington, DC, and many observers wondered if he’d traveled to the Holy Land. The president did not travel to the Holy Land, but he did visit many areas of the United States and the world. Including South America, Asia, and Antarctica.
Orthodox Christians in South America have a long history. The first divine Liturgy in South America was held in 1889. When the fall of the Russian Empire resulted in the fragmentation of the church along ethnic lines, a number of different parishes and monasteries developed in the continent. This is especially true in Argentina, where many Slavic countries settled and created their own churches. These churches have maintained close relationships with the Orthodox churches in Europe, expressing the shared origins of both cultures.
The Orthodox Christian community in South America has been active since the late 19th century, when a large number of sailors and merchants from Greece, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt came to the region. A group of Orthodox Christians petitioned Tsar Alexander III of Russia to build a church in the region. He agreed, and construction on the new Cathedral began in 1898. In 1901 the church was finished.
Whether it’s a fabled church or a modern cathedral, Orthodox Christianity has a long history in sub-Saharan Africa. The churches in this region have been around for centuries, but they did not have a significant presence south of the Sahara until the early twentieth century. Today, 17 Orthodox dioceses are spread across the continent, and most are under the Patriarchate of Alexandria. And seven churches have been established in Antarctica.
In addition to its presence in Africa, Orthodox Christianity is a major part of the faith in South America. There are three Orthodox dioceses in Uruguay, two in Argentina, and one in Chile. Other countries with Orthodox churches include Cuba and Haiti.