Body of fallen Orthodox church leader yet to be returned

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Archbishop Jonah Lwanga when he was still alive (web photo)

The Orthodox community in Uganda still awaits the return of the body of their fallen Archbishop Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga from Athens in Greece. 

 Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, who has led the Orthodox church in Uganda since 1997 died on Sunday in Athens Greece where he went for missionary work more than a month ago.  

Rev. Father John Kibuuka Bbossa, the chairperson of the Orthodox Property Custodian Board of Trustees, said that the Archbishop’s condition worsened while in Greece where he was admitted and was expected to leave the hospital only to receive bad news of his passing on Sunday evening.    

He explained that the death of Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga is a trying moment for the Orthodox community but said they have to soldier on.

 “When a soldier falls another take on the battle. Therefore arrangements for his replacement are being made by the holy synod for Africa in Alexandria in Egypt. The synod comprises all Archbishops of the orthodox churches in Africa.  

It will soon seat under the leadership of our Patriarch Theodore II to decide who takes on from the fallen Archbishop. It can be anyone within or outside Uganda or even Africa because the church is international though we pray hard to choose from Uganda as it has been from Bishop Theodorus Nankyama, whom Bishop Jonah Lwanga replaced,” said Father Kibuuka.  

He added  that, “We have suitable candidates like Bishop Silvesto Kisitu who is now serving in Gulu. We have other two Ugandans who have been fully prepared to take on this responsibility to the rank of Archimandrites like Rev. Father Archimandrite Constantino Mbonbingi who now heads the leadership committee of the Uganda Joint Christian Council [UJCC] and Archimandrite Mectarios Kabuye. We trust the patriarchate will choose from these but whichever the choice we welcome it.”  

Joshua Kitakule, the Secretary-General of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda described the death of Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga as a shock. 

He revealed that despite the fact that they were fully aware of his ill health, they expected him to recover.

He said the death of Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, one of the founding members of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda is a big blow to the council because he has been a voice for the vulnerable.  

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