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Eritreans to help Uganda build its Orthodox Cathedral

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 09 May 2022

Eritreans to help Uganda build its Orthodox Cathedral

Monday, May 09, 2022


What you need to know:

  • Building a Cathedral is viewed as a stepping stone in fostering unity among the Orthodox faithful.

The Ugandan Orthodox Church has described the newly commissioned Eritrean Orthodox Cathedral in Uganda as a big boost to the faith.

Speaking at the commissioning of the St Gabrielle Cathedral in Kansanga on Sunday, on the Lukuli-Nsambya Road in Makindye Division, Rev Archimandrite Constantine Mbonabingi, the vicar of the Holy Metropolis of Kampala, said the Ugandan Orthodox community is working together with the Eritrean Orthodox community in development projects.

“This [Cathedral] is a big boost to the Orthodox Church because the population has increased. The Eritrean Orthodox community is going to help us also build our own Cathedral in Uganda,” he said.

Mr Mohammed Sulieman Ahmed, the Eritrean ambassador, said the commissioning of the Church in Kampala is an indication that Eritreans feel at home.

“Eritreans came to Uganda in 2006, you do not see this kind of church in the rest of Africa, it is very unique. Wherever Eritreans go, the first thing they do is to build a Cathedral. We do have in Juba, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, US, and Europe. The church is a gathering place for all Eritreans world wide,” he said. 

Mr Tesfalem Gmerantu, the liaison officer for the Eritrean community in Kampala, said the idea of constructing the Church started in 2006 when the Eritrean population in the country was still very low.

He said when they approached the late Archbishop Yona Lwanga of the Orthodox Church and requested to pray together,  they were given a primary school classroom.

“After one month, we were given another classroom for praying. After six months, we were given land at Lubya Hill and we have been using that land since then without paying a single coin. Today with this Church, we bought our own land and built this Church which has a sitting capacity of between two and three thousand people,” he said.

He added that they also plan to build schools near the Cathedral and they will be using the Ugandan curriculum. They also intend to intensify the preaching of the Orthodox faith in the country using youth. 

Building more Orthodox Churches

In February, the Orthodox Church indicated that more places of worship will be opened in the country under the leadership of Archbishop Jeronymos Muzeeyi.

Bishop Nektarios Lubega, the Orthodox Vicar of Africa and Bishop of Kampala, announced the countrywide opening of more Orthodx churches while opening a new church in Jinja.

The newly-opened Nativity Orthodox Church is on Kyabazinga 

Road, 11 kilometres off Jinja-Kamuli, highway.  The new head of the Orthodox Church, Archbishop Muzeeyi, was consecrated at St Nicholas Church, Namungoona, near Kampala. 

He became the third Orthodox leader in Uganda after his immediate predecessor, Jona Lwanga, who died last September, and Theodros Nankyama who died in 1997. About 500,000 Ugandans claim Orthodox baptism.

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