Sunday 18th January South African President Jacob Zuma met with the Pope and Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa: Theodoris II in Pretoria. The Patriarch bestowed on Zuma  the highest honor the church can give to a foreign national- the Order of Saint Mark.

Zuma, and various officials welcomed Theodoris II to his official residence in Pretoria where the President and the Patriarch both expressed their thanks for the meeting. Zuma introduced his delegation ahead of the meeting and Theodoris II, speaking through an interpreter then bestowed a blessing on Zuma and thanked him for his leadership.

The cleric said he wanted to discuss countries with Zuma and had brought the ambassadors from the countries with him. The media was then asked to leave so the official meeting could continue.

It is unclear why the Patriarch should see fit to praise and bless the ANC leader.  Zuma has openly admitted to practicing witchcraft, is facing a raft of corruption charges (including using £17.5 million of money donated by the UK to help fight poverty to upgrade his rural family home) and has this month been charged by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) with using hate speech against whites.

Zuma’s unfortunate personal history also includes the 2000 suicide of his first wife, who left a note describing ‘24 years of hell’ with him, rape charges brought against him in 2005 by a family friend, fathering 21 children with six different women, money-laundering and racketeering.