The head of the global Anglican church, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, has declared Muslim-majority Sudan as the 39th province of the church.
The 61-year-old spiritual leader of the Church of England (C of E), said he believed that the declaration will mark “a new beginning” for Christians in this predominantly Muslim country.
Welby was on an official visit to Sudan over the weekend where he met with the faithful exhorting them to make sure the province worked.
Christians in Sudan have a responsibility to make this province work and to make it loved by their brothers from abroad who must support it and pray for it.
He also inaugurated the new leader and first Anglican Archbishop for the country in the person of Ezekiel Kondo Kumir Kuku. “We welcome him with glee,” Welby said during the ceremony at the All Saints’ Cathedral in Khartoum.
Congratulations to my dear brother His Grace Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo, the first Archbishop and Primate of the new province of Sudan! pic.twitter.com/4dmS0ly6nc— Justin Welby ن (@JustinWelby) July 30, 2017
“Christians in Sudan have a responsibility to make this province work and to make it loved by their brothers from abroad who must support it and pray for it,” he added.
Since mostly Christian, South Sudan, became independent in 2011, the Anglican Church in Sudan has been administered from Juba.
Sudan’s Christian-minority, concentrated mainly in the south of the country, in the region of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, have been long seen as persecuted with some priests having been arrested and charged among others with undermining the state and espionage.
After the secession of the South in 2011, human rights organizations and Christian groups accused the Sudanese authorities of persecuting Christians and even destroying churches in the capital.
The Anglican faith unites an estimated 85 million faithful across the world. Anglicanism was born out of a split with the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century after the then Pope’s refusal to grant King Henry VIII of England the annulment of his marriage.
Structured like the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church is often seen as halfway between Catholicism and Calvinist Protestantism.