Uganda: Museveni pledges support for Orthodox Church as he welcomes new archbishop

President Museveni reiterated his commitment to support the development and humanitarian efforts of the Orthodox Church in Uganda.

Museveni was meeting a delegation of 22 Ugandan Orthodox Church members Friday afternoon at State House Entebbe where he welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Jeronimos Muzeeyi, the new Archbishop of Metropolitan Kampala.

Metropolitan Muzeeyi was recently appointed to replace the late Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga who passed away in September 2021.

Metropolitan Jeronimos was introduced by His Eminence Metropolitan Tillyrides Andreas Makarios, Archbishop of Nairobi and representative of the Patriarch of Alexandria, who urged the President to support him as he graciously supported his predecessor, the late Metropolitan Yonah Lwanga.

“Your Excellency, today I have the joy, on behalf of our Pope and Patriarch, to introduce to you the new Metropolitan of Kampala and All Uganda, His Eminence Jeronymos Muzeeyi. He is an outstanding theologian and a accomplished canonist of the Church. I am confident that with your support and that of the Orthodox Brotherhood of Uganda, His Eminence Jeronimos has the potential to lead his Church to greater spiritual heights,” Metropolitan Makarios said.

Makarios expressed his gratitude for the welcome and assistance extended to him when he was sent as custodian of the Archdiocese of Kampala after the rest of his co-celebrant Metropolitan Jonas Lwanga and the generous hospitality during the visit of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II which made them feel at home and greatly cemented the relationship between the State and the Orthodox Church in Uganda.

On his part, the new Archbishop of Metropolitan Kampala, Metropolitan Jeronymos Muzeeyi, thanked the President for his support for the Orthodox Church and its former leaders and pledged to work with his government.

“As we assume leadership of the Ugandan Orthodox Church, we pledge to support you and work with you and your government to improve the quality of life for all Ugandans and to support you in all your development programs for the “improvement of our Uganda as a country. We will continue to pray for your good health and long life so that as a country we will continue to reap the fruits of your good leadership,” said Jeronymos Muzeeyi.

President Museveni welcomed the new bishop and pledged his full support.

“I am very happy to meet you and we will certainly support you,” Museveni said.

The President promised to mobilize more resources from his Orthodox friends in countries like Russia and Egypt, to boost ongoing projects like the construction of the Ugandan Orthodox Cathedral at Lubya Hill, Rubaga Division in Kampala.

In May 2019, President Museveni donated 300 million Ugandan shillings for the same project.

He also asked the Orthodox Church to identify founded Orthodox educational institutions such as primary schools, secondary and technical schools, especially in areas where the government has no schools, so that they can be supported as requested by the head of the development commission and the leader of the laity in Uganda Orthodox Church Theodore Ssekikubo.

“If the school is in an area where there is no public school, we will take it over to become a public school but a Church founded as a foundation body. We normally have this formula” , said Museveni.

Government policy is to have one public primary school per parish, one secondary school per sub-county and one technical school per ward.

The meeting was also attended by Metropolitan Innocentios Byakatonda, the Archbishop of Burundi and Rwanda, His Grace Bishop Silvestros Kisitu of the new Diocese of Jinja and His Grace Bishop Nektarios Kabuye new Bishop of Gulu, among others.

The installation ceremony of the newly elected Metropolitan of the Holy Metropolis of Kampala and All Uganda, Bishop Jeronymos Muzeeyi, is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, Namungoona, Rubaga Division.

Martha J. Finley