By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
The diocese of Antsiranana in Madagascar has successfully elected a new Coadjutor bishop to help in the administration of the vast diocese and to take over when the current bishop retires next year.
The Bishop of Antsiranana, the Rt Revd Dr Oliver Simon, announced this to friends and supporters around the world on Sunday, May 3 when he wrote: “This morning Canon Botomazava Théophile was elected Coadjutor Bishop with the right of succession by the Electoral College of the Diocese of Antsiranana.”
He added: “There was a very good atmosphere throughout. The election had been very well prepared for with an initial conference held late last year to think about the diocese’s needs and the characteristics we were looking for in each candidate.”
In the tightly contested election held May 3 in the Madagascar town of Ambilobe, a centrally placed town in the vast diocese of Antsiranana, Canon Botomazava Théophile, a respected and experienced leader in the Madagascar district of Mahavavy was the successful candidate.
“The Electoral College was intentionally large and consisted of 42 clergy and 42 lay people representing each of the 19 parishes in the diocese,” said Bishop Simon. “The Chancellor of the diocese was also present along with the Archbishop and myself.”
The other candidates were the Ven. Leonard Argal and Canon Samitiana Jhonson. Canon Samitiana Jhonson is the current Provincial Secretary with wide experience outside and within the church.
The Ven. Argal is an equally respected leader and parish priest in the region of Sambava on the east coast. He is also the Archdeacon in the city of SAVA and comes from an evangelism background.
Earlier, Bishop Simon had asked for prayers that the will of God be done in the elections. “I encourage you to pray that God’s will be done. I fully trust and believe that will be the case.”
He concluded: “We are in what anthropologists call a liminal stage in the life of the diocese. It’s an important stage in the transitional process within the diocese and Province.”