This marked a truly historic moment not only for the church but for the nation of Sierra Leone. It was the first time in it’s history that a Patriarch of Alexandria set foot in this West African state. Sierra Leoneans and visitors were invited to come and witness this momentous occasion at the Holy Orthodox Diocese of Sierra Leone, in Freetown.
The Pope was welcomed by the Government in the manner of a State Visit generally set only for foreign heads of state of another nation, at the invitation of that nation’s head of state. A State visit is the highest form of diplomatic contact between two nations, and is marked by ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol.