Praises Uganda as mother of Orthodox mission in Africa
Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros II, concluded his tour of Uganda on Oct.18 following a week-long stay in the country.
The pope who was in Uganda for the sixth time arrived in the country on Oct.11on a tour that was intended to honour the memory of the Late Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga who died on Sept. 05, this year.
Theodoros II began his pastoral visit in Uganda on Oct.12 at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Kampala—the headquarters of Orthodox Christianity in Uganda. He was welcomed by Archbishop Makarios of Nairobi, who is currently the Caretaker of the Uganda Orthodox Church. His Beatitude wasted no time in offering his condolence to the church in Uganda for the loss of the Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga whom he said was “a strong pillar in the Alexandrian throne.”
Orthodox Christianity was established in Uganda in the early 1900s by Lwanga’s grandfather, Obadiah Basajjakitalo together with Ruben Spartas Mukasa. While celebrating the Orthodox Church’s centenary in 2019, Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga proudly noted “how his church in central Africa, under the Eastern Orthodox Church of Alexandria had since grown.”
“Starting in 1919 and with God’s help, we managed to convince many native Ugandans that there is a different faith called Orthodoxy,” the Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga said in a 2019 documentary.
Under Archbishop Lwanga, the Greek Orthodox Church in Uganda grew exponentially. Today, there are about 500,000 Greek Orthodox Christians living in the country. The clergy of the Orthodox Church now consists of about 80 priests, 105 Orthodox communities, schools and a hospital. It also boasts of a strong Orthodox Mother’s Union.
Throughout his leadership, Lwanga sought to address issues of spiritual growth but also socio-economic development across the country. This is a fact that was not lost on Theodoros II while presiding over the “40 days after repose Memorial Service” at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Namungoona on Oct.17.
The service at which Jessica Alupo, the Vice President of Uganda, was the Chief Guest, was co-celebrated by Archbishop Makarios of Nairobi, Metropolitan Innocent of Burundi and Rwanda, Bishop Neofitos of Nyeri and Bishop Silvester of Gulu and eastern Uganda.
“One great person who inspired us was our first Bishop Obadiah, who was the grandfather of the late Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga. Uganda is considered the mother of the Orthodox Mission in Africa,” he said.
The Patriarch commended the good work done by the late Metropolitan during his time as Archbishop of Kampala and urged the faithful to continue carrying on with the vision that the late hoped for the mother church in Uganda.