President Museveni has congratulated the Orthodox Church in Uganda upon the attainment of 100 years since the faith was started in the country.
The President was speaking today Sunday during the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of Aghia Sophia Orthodox Cathedral that also marked the launching of 100 years’ festivities of Orthodox Christianity in Uganda.
The programme of constructing the 2,500-seater cathedral is projected to cost US$4.5 million (Shs.17 billion) to which President Museveni pledged Shs.300 million out of which he paid Shs.30 million.
Mr. Museveni also made a further pledge of Shs.80 million towards the Orthodox Church Development Commission and Shs.20 million for the priests.
The ceremony of the Divine Liturgy that took place on Lubya hill in Kampala was presided over by the Archbishop of Kampala Metropolitan, His Eminence Yona Lwanga.
During the auction phase today, the President’s portrait raised Shs.152 million after its auctioning by Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, the Eritrean community contributed Shs.81 million.
President Museveni, who expressed happiness about the brotherhood among the Orthodox community in Uganda, said that he will mobilize resources to ensure that the cathedral construction project is fulfilled.
“I will use diplomatic channels to mobilize resources for this Church from the brotherhoods of the same Church especially from Serbia, Russia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt. As I did with the Muslim community, I was able to mobilize finance from the Arab countries that enabled the construction of the Islamic University in Uganda in Mbale and the King Fahd Plaza in Kampala City. Under a similar arrangement I will call upon them to help in building the projected Lubya Cathedral,” he said.
The President, who noted with pleasure that the Orthodox Church has 1.4 million members in Uganda, urged its leaders to mobilize their members towards poverty eradication adding that it was now time for them to sensitise wananchi into commercial activities, like modern agriculture, services, industries and ICT.
He observed that when wananchi have got good income, it will be easy for them to build their houses of worship.
He informed them that he has always supported the construction of houses of worship citing the Shs.85 million that he contributed to the development of Namugongo Martyrs’ shrines, as an example.
The Minister for Kampala City, Hon. Betty Kamya thanked God for the gift of President Museveni.
She revealed that plans are well underway to launch the construction of 5 roads in Kampala’s Rubaga Division in which the Lubya Cathedral project is located.
First Deputy Katiikiro of Buganda, Twaha Kaawaase, who represented Katiikiro Peter Mayiga, while congratulating the Orthodox Church on its centennial occasion, said Buganda means unity in diversity.
Archbishop Yona Lwanga said that the wisdom of God forms the background of constructing Aghia Sophia Cathedral.