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

Posted on: February 18, 2020 12:51 PM
Pilgrims arrive in Kitgum, the burial site of Archbishop Janani Luwum, who was martyred by Idi Amin in 1977.

[ACNS, by Staff Writer] A group of 76 pilgrims have walked the final journey of Archbishop Janani Luwum to commemorate his martyrdom. The pilgrimage began at the place of Archbishop Janani’s arrest, Namirembe, on 29 January and ended in Mucwini in Kitgum, where he is buried, on 14 February. The journey was 500km long (approximately 310 miles).

The pilgrimage was organised by the Church of Uganda, but was open to all Christians who wanted to join. The former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Children and Armed conflict, Ambassador Olara Otunnu led the pilgrims to Kitgum.

Janani Luwum was the third Archbishop of what was then the Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bogo-Zaire. He was the Primate from 1974 to 1977. On 16 February 1977, he was arrested on false charges by former President Idi Amin and was shot and killed later that day in an attempt to silence religious leaders who challenged Amin on a number of issues.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, the Primate of the Church of Uganda, said during the launch of the Pilgrimage on 18 December 2019, that “the main purpose and importance of this foot pilgrimage is to evoke the spiritual and historical milestones of this searing martyrdom; grateful remembrance and thanksgiving for the extraordinary life, martyrdom and example of Archbishop Janani Luwum; an opportunity for renewal and deepening of our faith; coming together of Christians from various denominations in unity, humility and fellowship; emulating the witness and example of Archbishop Janani as a role model for our world today.”

He also thanked the Government of the Republic of Uganda for declaring 16 February as a public holiday to commemorate the life and martyrdom of Archbishop Janani, and for always supporting preparations ahead of the day.