Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has elected as the new bishop of the diocese of Hong Kong the archimandrite Nektarios, formerly the secretary general of the diocese of the Greek islands of Samos and Ikaria, under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.\AsiaNews asked the new bishop what role the Orthodox Church can play in the Chinese region. "Orthodoxy", he replied, "as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has said, is not anxious about expanding its numerical and geographical extension, but it wants to make man, with his passions and limitations, understand his true worth. Its power is spiritual, and its purpose is the diakonia [service] of man, in order to realise the divine within man. There is great need for this in our little world, which looks only at material realities".
The new bishop - who will replace the bishop Nikitas, who is going to the Orthodox archdiocese of the United States - was born in Epirus in 1969. He has a degree in theology, with special focus on anti-religious questions and European issues. He was ordained a deacon in 1990. and a priest in 1995.
The Orthodox Church of Hong Kong was founded in the early 1990's by the bishop Atenagoras, the current metropolitan of Mexico and Central America, to meet the religious needs of the little Orthodox community, made up of people of various nationalities. There are a few hundred of these persons, mostly of Greek and American origin, and most of them work in the business and shipping sectors. Hong Kong was made a diocese in 1996, at the initiative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, shortly before Hong Kong's annexation by China, and its status was recognised by the city's parliament. The diocese was inaugurated during Bartholomew's visit in 1996. (NT)