Orthodox Church Archbishop Jonah Lwanga dead. 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, says 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.
Adding 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.
Zacchy Mberaze Mawula, the Mayor of Lubaga Division, which hosts the headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Uganda, said the death of Metropolitan Lwanga is very saddening and bad news to all Ugandans.
Who was Archbishop Jonah Lwanga?
Lwanga was born on July 18, 1945, in the village Ddegeya, just one year before the religion was recognized by the government despite having been established in the early 1900s.
His see was in Kampala, with jurisdiction over all Uganda. His bishopric, about 60,000 people, was founded in the 1930s.
Lwanga’s grandfather, Obadiah Basajjakitalo, was one of the two initial leaders of the Orthodox Church in Uganda, along with Ruben Spartas Mukasa.
He completed his general education in Bulemezi and Kyaddondo, Uganda (1952-1964).
In 1964-1968 he studied at the Ecclesiastical School of Crete. In 1968-1978 he earned a degree in Theology and Philosophy from the University of Athens. In 1979−1981 he served as Secretary of the Orthodox Mission in Uganda.
On May 1, 1981, he has ordained a Deacon, in 1982 he has ordained a priest.
On January 27, 1992, he was ordained vicar Bishop of Bukoba. On May 12, 1997, he was elected by the Holy Synod as Metropolitan of Kampala and All Uganda.