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UGANDA: Anglican Church calls off Martyrs Day Celebrations due to COVID-19

UGANDA: Anglican Church calls off Martyrs Day Celebrations due to COVID-19

By Godfrey Olukya
Special to Virtueonline
May 10, 2020

The annual Anglican Church Martyrs Day celebrations has been called off due to Coronavirus.

This is the first time in over 45 years that Anglicans from Uganda and the rest of the world will not celebrate the Uganda Martyrs Day because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year on June 3rd one of the biggest events for Anglicans in the world is held at Namugongo Shrine in central Uganda where 23 Anglican martyrs were brutally killed in 1888 alongside 22 Catholic martyrs by a local brutal king called Kabaka Mwanga over fears that they had become more royal to their new religions than to him.

Over 700,000 believers have attended the mass conducted by dozens of Bishops and hundreds of priests from all over the world. Some pilgrims walk on foot from their home parishes in Uganda and neighboring countries to the shrine as a sign of solidarity.

One of those who has been on the committee to organize this year's celebrations, the Rev. James Okurut said that the function had to be called owing to fears that the virus would spread.

''We will not celebrate Martyrs Day due to COVID19 pandemic. We cannot risk to be with big numbers of Christians because of fear of the spreading of Corona virus.," said Okurut.

He requested that all believers should celebrate Martyrs Day from their homes. ''You should celebrate Martyrs Day while in your homes because you all know we are in a lockdown."

He said the Catholic church had also suspended this year's celebrations for the same reason.

Communications director, Ronald Mayanja said in an interview, "Due to COVID-19 the Namugongo celebrations would have to be called off. "Although at first, we thought that by now the lockdown could have been lifted, but the situation is not yet back to normal. We have decided to call off the celebrations."


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