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Official commemoration for Archbishop Luwum

20 February 2015


Judgment: Chief Justice  Stephen Kavuma delivers the verdict at Uganda''s Constitutional court, on Friday of last week 

Judgment: Chief Justice  Stephen Kavuma delivers the verdict at Uganda''s Constitutional court, on Friday of last week&...

A DAY of commemoration for the martyred Archbishop of Uganda, Janani Luwum, has been held this week, 38 years after he was assassinated under the regime of President Idi Amin.

Archbishop Luwum was a leading voice in criticising the human-rights abuses of Amin's regime. Accused of treason, he was arrested on 16 February 1977, and shot - some reports say by Amin personally.

The day of his death is a lesser festival in Common Worship, and his statue is one of those of 20th-century martyrs on the front of Westminster Abbey.

This week's celebration was the first official event to be held to mark his death. The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, announced that there would be a national holiday on 16 February each year to commemorate Archbishop Luwum.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, preached at the memorial service in the town where Archbishop Luwum was born, in northern Uganda.

Dr Sentamu, who was himself imprisoned, tortured, and later forced to leave Uganda in 1974, said: "Archbishop Luwum was a great friend, a determined shepherd, and a remarkable leader. When I finished my degree in theology, it was he who propelled me into the Church. Martyrs like Janani show us that following Christ and his teaching to love and serve others is costly. Janani's love of Christ should inspire all of us to live out the gospel in our lives."

The service was led by the current Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali. He told members of the martyred Archbishop's family: "Your father has always held a special place in our heart as the Church of Uganda. He has been remembered in many dioceses and local congregations since his death. Today, in the fullness of God's time, his memory and significance is being embraced by the entire country."

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