> Commemoration: Janani Luwum

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Thursday February 17, 2022 All Day
Annually on February 17

Janani Luwum,

Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr

16 February 1977


Prayers:

O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed Of the Church: Grant that we who remember before you blessed Janani, Archbishop and Martyr in Uganda, may, like him, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom he gave obedience, even to death, and by his sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Janani Luwum and his Companions boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Maximilian Kolbe (left), Manche Masemola (center) and Luwum (right) statues – Westminster Abbey


From Holy Women, Holy Men:

Janani Luwum was born in 1922 at Acholi in Uganda, near the Sudanese border. After his early years as a teacher and lay reader in Gulu, he was sent to St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury. He was ordained priest in 1956 and returned to Uganda to assume responsibility for twenty-four congregations. After several years of service that included work at a local theological college, Luwum returned to England on scholarship for further study at the London College of Divinity.

In 1969 Luwum became Bishop of Northern Uganda, where he was a faithful visitor to his parishes as well as a growing influence at international gatherings of the Anglican Communion. In 1974 he was elected Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire.

Luwum’s new position brought him into direct contact and eventual confrontation with the Ugandan military dictator, Idi Amin, as the Archbishop sought to protect his people from the brutality of Amin’s regime. In August of 1976 Makerere University was sacked by government troops. With Archbishop Luwum as their chair, the Christian leaders of the country drafted a strong memorandum of protest against officially sanctioned rape and murder.

In early February 1977 the Archbishop’s residence was searched for arms by government security forces. On February 16 President Amin summoned Luwum to his palace. He went there, accompanied by the other Anglican bishops and by the Roman Catholic cardinal archbishop and a senior leader of the Muslim community. After being accused of complicity in a plot to murder the President, most of the clerics were allowed to leave. However, Archbishop Luwum was ordered to remain behind. As his companions departed, Luwum said, “They are going to kill me. I am not afraid.” He was never seen alive again. The following day the government announced that he had been killed in an automobile accident while resisting arrest. Only after some weeks had passed was his bullet-riddled body released to his family for burial.

Early in his confrontation with the Ugandan government, Archbishop Luwum answered one of his critics by saying, “I do not know how long I shall occupy this chair. I live as though there will be no tomorrow ... While the opportunity is there, I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God.


Church of Uganda holds 500km pilgrimage to commemorate Archbishop Janani Luwum


Source: Holy Women, Holy Men (p. 228): https://diobeth.typepad.com/files/holy-women-holy-men.pdf


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