Biography of His Eminence, Exarch +Macfonse Mar Anthony
His Eminence, +Macfonse Mar Anthony, Archbishop of Lagos and Exarch of the Byzantine Orthodox Church, Civil Name Akinnugba Macfonse Osmond was born into the family of a Catechist and was raised by the devout Roman Catholic Parents in Ondo Kingdom of Nigeria. He attended St Paul Roman Catholic Mission Primary School Ondo from 1981 to 1987. At the conclusion of his primary education, he was admitted into Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, Akure in 1987 as part of discerning his vocation, he completed his Secondary Education at St Joseph College, Ondo, Ondo State in 1993. Between 1993 and 1996, he devout his life to teaching catechism and evangelism through legionary work at St Patrick Catholic Church, Ondo and Saint John Bosco Parish of the Salesians in, Oke Odunwo, Ondo, Ondo State of Nigeria.
He joined the religious life of the Brothers of the Christian Schools also known as the De La Salle Brothers in discerning his vocation in 1996 and soon became a religious educator having taught Catechism and Christian Religion in schools and Roman Catholic Churches.
As part of his apostolate, he had had to minister to the people living in abject poverty, those living with HIV/AIDS, those struggling to survive financial constraints, and those whose case were considered hopeless. He had worked at Kuwinda and Kibera Slums in Kenya. As part of the integral mission of the International Organization, The Signum Fidei Apostolate which was founded in 2004 by His Eminence Mar +Anthony to provide education, to alleviate the plight of the impoverished and win hearts for God while inculcating human values and dignities in those whose life and heart are touched by the lives and the teachings of the members.
This mission, coupled with his work as a Journalist in the midst of the ministry which again brought him into close proximity with the sufferings of people, made so deep impression on His Eminence Mar +Anthony that it soon became his lifework, edging out the ministry of religious life. But does His Eminence Mar +Anthony agree that secular life has replaced religious calling?
Not at all! Rather he insists. “I am a wholistic Minister. I cast out the demons from their spirit in prayer, feed their soul with a positive mental attitude – with a burning desire to live a just life with teachings and writings, to thrive and to win. Then I put food in their mouth to give them strength and support them as they face the world. Towards becoming self reliant I empower them with skills that enable them to make money and be financially stable. The glory of God is a person fully alive.” Prayer, Knowledge and Wealth as the key to successful living. Because this takes care of the total being, the spirit, the soul and the body.
His Eminence Mar +Anthony worked as a Religious Counsellor, a foster father to the orphans at the Nyumbani Children of God Relief Institute, home for the HIV/AIDS Orphans in Nairobi –Kenya, the largest of its kind in East Africa.
He also worked with Africa Peace Point (a Non Governmental Organisation for children’s right) in Kenya and also in Tanzania for another two years before coming to Nigeria to continue his charity and evangelical work and to established a Non Profit Making Organisation that cater for the needy and those living with the scourge of HIV/AIDS pandemonium while spreading the gospel.
His Eminence Mar +Anthony was converted to Orthodoxy having learned about the undivided church through church history and meetings with Orthodox Clergies around the world. He was admitted to study Orthodox Theology in September 2007 at Apostolic Confraternity Seminary, in Los Angeles, California and trained by Archbishop David Leon Cooper, He graduated with Honors. In January 2010, and was ordained a Priest By Archbishop Peter Tang in Yaounde. He later acquired Masters in Pastoral Counseling and subsequently Doctorate Degree in Divinity, both from California International University of Theology, Los Angeles. He was entrusted with the mission to establish the Byzantine Orthodox Church in Nigeria and coordinate the evangelistic activities across the continent of African and beyond.
His Eminence Metropolitan Mar +Anthony was consecrated on April 18, 2011 to the Episcopacy of the Byzantine Orthodox Church by Archbishop Peter Tang and were Co-consecrated by Archbishop Jean Ndjewel of the Old Catholic Church. He joined the Oriental Orthodox Church in 2012 and His Consecration was ractified into Orthodoxy through cheirothesia on February 9, 2014 by Metropolitan Stephen Thomas and Archbishop Timothy Kjera of the Syriac Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church, Sharon Pennsylvanian, USA. He was issued a bull of Cheirothesia tou presbyteriou, thus his entrance into the Oriental Orthodoxy through the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.
Currently, His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop +Macfonse Mar Anthony is the Exarch of the Byzantine Orthodox Church of Antioch Exarchate; an autonomous Jurisdiction of the the Syriac Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church. He is the Primate Legate to Africa for the Syriac Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church, an autonomous Jurisdiction of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.