Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | His Eminence Metropolitan Leronymos Muzeeyi has been elected the new Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Uganda replacing Archbishop Yona Lwanga who passed on in September last year.
Metropolitan Muzeeyi was elected at the end of the three days of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria between January 10 to 12. The synod meeting held in Egypt was chaired by His Beatitude Pope Theodoros II, according to Fr John Kibuuka Bbossa, the chairperson of the board of trustees of the Metropolis of Kampala.
“The Church has been eagerly waiting for the election of the new Metropolitan. The process according to laws and norms of the church was not expected to go beyond February,” the joyful priest told Uganda Radio Network moments after the news of the election was received from Alexandria.
The elected Metropolitan is a Ugandan National and has been the Metropolitan of Mwanza and Exarch of Western Tanzania, which is part of the Church of Alexandria since 1999. Archimandrite Constantine Mbonabingi, the vicar of the Holy Metropolis of Kampala describes Metropolitan Muzeeyi as a dedicated, developmental and humble leader who puts all his life to serve his faith and those in need.
“…above all, he is not strange to the metropolis of Kampala and all Uganda. He grew in faith from here and served here for years. He understands this jurisdiction very well,” Archimandrite Mbonabingi who served with metropolitan Muzeeyi for several years in Tanzania said.
Muzeeyi’s election makes him the third Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis of Kampala and Uganda which was established in 1995 after the division of the Holy Metropolis of East Africa into three metropolia in1995. The first Archbishop Metropolitan Theodoros Nankyama passed on in 1997.
Earlier, His Beatitude Theodorus II had appointed, the Archbishop of Nairobi Metropolitan Makarios II as the Caretaker for the Holy Metropolis of Kampala. According to the norms of the Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod which comprises all bishops from the Patriarchate is the body responsible for electing a Metropolitan. The vote is conducted through a secret ballot and the one with majority votes takes this high office.
Priests with knowledge on the process say that while electing, suitable candidates from the entire orthodox Church world over at the level of Archimandrite, Bishop or Metropolitan can be nominated for election. Available information indicates that the newly elected Muzeeyi had contested with Archbishop Lwanga, who was the then bishop of Bukoba, in 1997 but the latter won the race.
Meanwhile, the Holy Synod has also created a Holy Diocese of Jinja and All Eastern Uganda and elected His Grace Bishop Silvester Kisitu to lead it transferring him from Diocese of Gulu and All Northern Uganda. In the same development, Archimandrite Nectarios Kabuye has been elected to replace Bishop Kisitu.
Metropolitan Leronymos Muzeeyi’s Biography
Information obtained from the official website of the metropolis of Mwanza indicates that Muzeeyi was born in an Orthodox family on March 18, 1962, in Bulopa which is found in the present-day Luuka district Busoga region.
He attended Kasaka Primary School, Chwa II Memorial College and Kololo Senior Secondary School. While growing up, the metropolitan is said to have been very close to Metropolitan Theodoros Nankyama the then metropolitan of Kampala and stayed at the Mission Center in Namungoona for seven years where he learned the Orthodox way of life as a teenager.
Due to his demeanour and spiritual depth, Muzeeyi was sent to study at the School of Theology of the University of Athens in Greece by Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos, who is the current Archbishop of Albania. In 1995, Muzeeyi was ordained to the diaconate by His Grace, Bishop Theodoros Kyrineos, who is the current Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa. Subsequently, he became a priest the following year.
The then newly ordained priest returned to Uganda where he served as the Vicar General of Kampala for a year and then was assigned to serve as Vicar General of the Diocese of Bukoba in Tanzania, an office he held from 1997 to 1999.
The following year, he was elevated to the office of Bishop of the same See. Through hard work and commitment, Muzeeyi grew the Orthodox Church in Tanzania by the construction of new churches, the establishment of seminaries to prepare future priests and holding regular youth and women’s seminars to enrich the faith of the new believers.
In recognition of his pastoral and missionary work, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria elevated Bishop Leronymos to the rank of Metropolitan of Mwanza on November 23, 2007.