First Orthodox Priest in Mauritania

On 4 July, with the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and all Africa, Metropolitan Alexis of Carthage ordained Deacon Labro Kefallino to the priesthood, four days after he had been ordained deacon. Fr Labro, who is 32 years old, is married and will serve in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Most of Mauritania’s territory is in the Sahara, but it has over a population of some three million people. The official religion is Islam and it was until recently the last North African country where the Orthodox Church had neither a church nor a parish. Fr Labro is the first Orthodox priest to serve there.

After the ordination, Metropolitan Alexis mentioned that the North African State is in a difficult situation because of religious fundamentalism, Islamic extremism, political instability, severe weather conditions and extreme poverty. He asked all to pray for Fr Labro, who since 2004 has prepared the ground for a permanent presence and witness to Orthodoxy in Mauritania.


Please keep Father Labro, his family, and his mission in your prayers. I’ll see if I can track down some pictures of him or anything else related to his mission and Orthodoxy in Mauritania; if anyone else is able to do so, please pass them my way! Until then, a few snaps of life in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania:

Humanists do not run leprosariums

Malcolm Muggeridge, the supremely secular British curmudgeon, who cast a cold eye over so many contemporary efforts and enterprises, was brought up short while visiting an Indian leprosarium run by the Missionaries of Charity, the sisters founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He had always imagined secular humanism to be the ideal worldview but realized, while strolling through this facility, built with love for those whom no one wanted, that no merely humanist vision can take account of lepers, let alone take care of them. To offer humane treatment to humanity’s outcasts, to overcome their lifetime experience of petty human cruelties, requires more than mere humanity. Humanists, he realized with the force of sudden insight, do not run leprosariums. (Thomas Cahill, Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus, pg. 305)