New archbishop for Burundi
THE Bishop of Makamba, the Rt Revd Martin Blaise Nyaboho, has been elected as the next Archbishop of Burundi, and will succeed the present Archbishop, the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, in August. Bishop Makamba has been in his current position since 1997, and has also served on the Anglican Consultative Council from 2005 to 2009. Before becoming a bishop, he worked as a theological teacher and a Bible translator for the Scripture Union and the Bible Society.
Syrian Patriarch narrowly escapes bomb blast
THE Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Ignatius Aphrem II, has survived a suicide bombing that killed three and injured five. A terrorist disguised as a priest attempted to slip into a commemoration service for the mass killings of Syrian Christians by the Ottoman Empire’s army in 1915. The Patriarch was leading a service in the north-eastern Syrian town of Qamishli, but security guards stopped the attacker from entering the hall where Patriarch Ignatius was. Instead, the attacker blew himself up outside, killing three of the guards and injuring five others. In a statement, the Patriarch offered prayers of thanks for surviving the bombing, and condolences to the families of the victims. “This terroristic act is planned and executed by people who want to spread hatred and create division. . . Such acts cause great suffering to the people and aim at destroying the unity of our beloved country, Syria,” he said.
Anglican school demolished in Sudanese fighting
A SCHOOL built by the Sudanese diocese of Kadugli in the troubled Nuba Mountains in Sudan, has been destroyed during battles between government soldiers and rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The school, which was built in 2008, was the only such school in its county. The conflict in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan has been raging since 2011, when its people stayed within Sudan while neighbouring states broke off to become the independent nation of South Sudan (News, 1 April, 14 January 2011). The Bishop of Kadugli, the Rt Revd Andudu Adam Elnail, wrote in a diocesan newsletter that people in the Nuba Mountains were suffering from relentless aerial bombardment by the Sudanese government, and were caught in the midst of constant battle between the SPLA and Sudanese troops, who were burning villages and crops to the ground.
Japanese Church apologises for treatment of leprosy sufferers
THE Anglican Church in Japan has issued an apology through its synod for its part in a decades-long campaign of isolation and suppression of people who have leprosy. The Japanese government forcibly detained those with the disease inside closed institutions, sterilising women, and forcing those who became pregnant to have abortions, in the mistaken belief that the disease was highly contagious. Despite a cure being discovered in the 1940s, the repressive anti-leprosy laws were only repealed in 1996. The Church’s synod has now issued a formal apology for not supporting a campaign before 1996 by some leprosy-sufferers for their release, and for collaborating with the authorities during the decades of isolation.