Sombre mood as Archbishop Lwanga starts final journey

Sunday September 19 2021
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Young Orthodox faithful wait to receive the remains of Archbishop Jonah Lwanga at St Nicholas Cathedral in Namungoona on the outskirts of Kampala, yesterday. PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By JAMES KABENGWA

Worshippers from all walks of life thronged Namungoona Hill, the home of St Nicholas Cathedral, to pay homage to Orthodox Archbishop Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, a fearless prelate, who died on September 5. 

After waiting for two weeks, with the help of President Museveni, the body finally arrived from Athens, Greece, where the archbishop succumbed to prostate cancer. 

It was tears as the casket containing the remains of Archbishop Lwanga landed at Entebbe International Airport slightly after 3am aboard Egypt Air.

The casket was received by high ranking figures in government and the Orthodox Church,  who had been driven to the airport in a convoy.  

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The remains of Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, Jonah Lwanga, arrives at Entebbe International Airport on Friday night. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

Bishop of Gulu and Eastern Uganda Silvestros Kisitu led brief prayers on the tarmac before police took the body to the mortuary.  

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The deceased Archbishop will be remembered as a consummate man of God who shepherded the flock with justice, utmost faith and devotion. He spoke truth to power and despised injustice and corruption. He died at 76.  

Archbishop Lwanga wished to be buried in Degeya, Luweero District. However, after consulting the family, this wish  was changed. 

He will now be buried at St Nicholas Cathedral in Namungoona on Monday. 

Final journey

The Kampala Metropolitan caretaker Orthodox Archbishop Makarios of Nairobi; Bishops from Gulu, Nyeri, Burundi/Rwanda, Mwanza, international philanthropic partners, representative of the Laity, government officials and other religious leaders under Interreligious Council of Uganda took part in the Holy Mass and Memorial Service yesterday.  

On Friday, President Museveni tasked Vice President Jessica Alupo to oversee preparations for the burial.   

“We are set as a government, in support of the Orthodox Church and family, to say farewell to Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga. I will represent President Museveni at the burial. May the Lord strengthen the family and Church,” Ms Alupo yesterday wrote on her twitter handle.

Last week, the minister of Information and National Guidance,  Dr Chris Baryomunsi, announced that government had accorded Lwanga an official burial. 

During a council meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura also tabled proposals from her executive that  Masiro to Nakibinge  road be named after Archbishop Lwanga. 

The authorities also resolved that a road in Kampala be named after his predecessor, the first Orthodox Archbishop Theodros Nankyama, who died in 1997, in memory of his distinguished service to humanity and country.

Programme

Sunday, September 19

-Orthoros and Holy Liturgy

-Signing of the condolence book

-Lunch and public viewing

-Evening prayers

Monday, September 20

-Orthoros and Holy Liturgy

-Official burial ceremony

-Buganda government

-Religious Leaders

-Government officials/ chief mourner

-Lunch

-Departure

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