METROPOLITAN JONAH OF KAMPALA AND ALL UGANDA

 

Hierarchical Sees:

Metropolitan of Kampala and All Uganda (1997-)

Bishop of Bukoba (1992-1997)

Date of Elevation to Metropolitan:

May 12, 1997

Date of Consecration:

January 27, 1992

Date of Ordination to the Priesthood:

1982

Date of Ordination to the Diaconate:

1981

Date of Birth:

1945

 

BIOGRAPHY:

If a picture can say a thousand words, then His Eminence Jonah Lwanga, Metropolitan of Kampala and All Uganda spoke in volumes.

Metropolitan Jonah was sponsored by the OCMC to travel throughout the United States on a three-week lecture tour in September. Not only did he carry a display of photos, but also clearly drew pictures with words as he described the great needs and the faith of our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Uganda.

His Eminence Jonah arrived in Pittsburgh, PA, on September 11, 1999 and began his lecture tour with the Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Orthodox Church. He visited over 18 different parishes, from New York to California, where he shared his experiences and struggles in Uganda. The lecture tour concluded with the Divine Liturgy in Boca Raton, FL and from there His Eminence Jonah returned to Kampala.

Born into an Orthodox family, Metropolitan Jonah is the grandson of Fr. Obadiah Kabanda Basajakitalo. After high school he traveled to Crete to attend an Orthodox seminary. He then studied at the University of Athens where he graduated in 1978 and soon after was ordained to the priesthood and then elevated to Archimandrite. For ten years he served under Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos in Kenya, where he was the Dean of the Makarios III Patriarchal Seminary. On July 26th, 1992 he was elevated as the first Orthodox Bishop of Bukoba, Tanzania by PETROS VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. Five years later, in 1997, he was enthroned to succeed the late Metropolitan Theodoros Nankyamas as Metropolitan of Kampala and All Uganda.

Uganda is a country that, comparatively, is fairly new to the Orthodox world. In 1946, the Patriarch of Alexandria, Christopherous II, received the Orthodox Church of Uganda into the fold of Orthodoxy. But during the previous twenty years, the foundation for a vibrant and living Orthodox Church had been laid by two Ugandan men, Rueben Mukasa Ssebbanja Spartas and Obadiah Kabanda Basajakitalo, who were studying about Orthodoxy and trying to live full Orthodox lives. After acceptance into a full canonical relationship, Orthodoxy in Uganda grew with great strides. Churches were established, priests ordained, many were baptized and the Church made a powerful attempt to serve the social needs of Her people by opening both schools and medical centers.

All came to a tragic halt with a 20-year bloody conflict, when the dictator, Idi Amin, ruled the country. The Church in Uganda is still recovering from this lengthy civil war that left the 'Pearl of Africa' a place where violence, death and suffering had existed. Yet, almost fifteen years later, inroads are being made to areas where communities were isolated and without a priest or lay leader for years on end.

Presently the Orthodox Church in Uganda numbers 200,000 faithful with 23 priests and 70 communities and includes two minor seminaries, schools, medical clinics and a hospital. Under His Eminence Jonah, Orthodoxy continues to move forward with the ordination of new clergy, the training of catechists; through seminars, conferences for the young and through many prayers and financial support.

Biography from OCMC Magazine
Vol. 15, No. 2 (1999)

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