Orthodox Roots of African Americans

By Victor Beshir

“According to revisionist historians and their ilk, Islam was and is the great liberator of Africa, and Christianity was and is the great enslaver. In fact, quite the opposite is the Truth.” – John Sanidopoulos

February is Black History Month. Many organizations celebrate the event, especially universities and other educational institutes. It is a good opportunity to evangelize. Some African Americans are converting from Christianity because of the waged war against Christianity. Some tell African Americans that Christianity is the white man religion who enslaved you. To make them hate Christ they told them that Christ was a European white man and Christianity is a product of the white man. We can tell the truth about these lies by telling the real history. Here is an article that you can use to share in Black History month that reveals some facts:

Everybody knows that African Americans came originally from Africa; however, not many people know what it means to be born and live in Africa at the time of the ancestors of African Americans. To fully understand those ancestors, we need to reveal some historical facts. Influence of the prophets who either stayed or lived in Egypt, Africa, touched the hearts and minds of Africans, such as Abraham, Israel, Jeremiah, Joseph and Moses.

Jesus and his family fled to Egypt, Africa, and lived there for four years. In fact, Jesus was born and raised in the Middle East and not Europe. In addition, all his disciples were from the Middle East, which includes many African countries. St. Mark, the writer of the second Gospel was born in Libya, Africa, and Simon the Cyrenian who bore the Cross for Jesus (Mark 15:21) was from Tunisia, Africa.

In fact, Christian churches started in Africa before a church started in Rome, Europe. In Egypt, the first theological school started in Alexandria, attracting students from all over the world. Theology, biblical studies, and Bible interpretations started in this school. Monasticism started in Egypt. The impact of Africa and Africans on Christianity is so evident.

This history left behind the names of thousands of great Africans theologians, martyrs, monks, saints, and teachers, such as Cyprian, St. Antony, Moses the hermit, Takla Haimanout, Origen, Tertullian the first of Latin theological writers, and Augustine the bishop of Hippo, North Africa.

The Christian faith mingled into every aspect of daily life of Africans. They absorbed the great pure Christian values of respect, love, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, service of the sick and the needy. It is needless to say that the first hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the needy in the world started by those African Christians. The Africans followed the Orthodox churches, enjoying a living faith and worship that were delivered by the apostles of Christ and were handed down from one generation to the next without a change.

Arriving to America, many of the ancestors of African Americans secretly met to pray their Orthodox Christian prayers in so-called “hush harbors”. Their masters prevented them from attending these meetings, fearing that the Christian teaching of equality and freedom of all men could start a revolt among the slaves against them. However, the ancestors continued to meet and to pray. As a result, many ancestors of African Americans were severely tortured, and even some died as martyrs. Silas Ezekiel and Charlotte Martin are among those who were martyred.

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