FAQ on Archbishops and the Church of Uganda

Who elects an Archbishop?

  1. The House of Bishops elects the Archbishop. The House of Bishops is comprised of all active Diocesan and Assistant Bishops. At the time of Archbishop Stanley Ntagali’s election, there are 34 Bishops in the House of Bishops.
  2. The Provincial Chancellor presides over the election.

What are the constitutional requirements regarding Archbishops of the Church of Uganda?

  1. An Archbishop can serve only for ten years and no more.
  2. They can only serve until their 65th birthday. At the age of 65 an Archbishop must retire, even if he has served less than his ten-year term
  3. To be elected an Archbishop, you must be a Bishop in the Church of Uganda and at least 50 years old.
  4. All Dioceses must have Bishops. There can be no vacant dioceses.

Who have been the previous Archbishops?

  1. Archbishop Leslie Brown, a British missionary, was the first Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire (1961-1966)
  2. Archbishop Erica Sabiti (1966 – 1974)
  3. Archbishop Janani Luwum (1974 – 1977). Martyred in 1977.
  4. Archbishop Silvanus Wani (1977 – 1983). In 1980, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire became a separate, Francophone Province, and Uganda became its own Province.
  5. Archbishop Yona Okoth (1983 – 1995)
  6. Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo (1995 – 2004)
  7. Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi (2004 – 2012)

What is an “enthronement”?

When a Bishop or an Archbishop is installed and vested with the spiritual authority over a particular jurisdiction, it is called an “enthronement.” So, the enthronement service is the ceremony in which the outgoing Archbishop transfers spiritual authority to the incoming Archbishop by handing over the pastoral staff, and the Bishops of the Church guide the new Archbishop to his Provincial Chair.  Every Bishop has a special chair, which in Latin is called a cathedra. A cathedra literally means is a chair with armrests. In the Church this special chair or cathedra is a symbol of the teaching authority of the Bishop. The church building in which the cathedra resides is called the Cathedral. Often times, the cathedra is a large chair, slightly elevated above other chairs, and has thus been sometimes described as a “throne.” Thus, when a Bishop is installed in a Diocese and vested with spiritual authority over that jurisdiction, it is sometimes described as an “enthronement.”

Where is the Archbishop’s Cathedral?

The Archbishop has two cathedrals. He is the Bishop of Kampala Diocese and his Diocesan Cathedral is All Saints’ Cathedral, Nakasero. He also has a Provincial Cathedral, which is St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe. St. Paul’s Cathedral is also the Diocesan Cathedral for Namirembe Diocese, who has its own Bishop.

Why is an Enthronement of an Archbishop significant?

The Church of Uganda is an independent province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is the world’s third largest family of churches, after the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It has 85 million members spread throughout 165 countries. The Church of Uganda is the second largest Province among the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion, with more than 11 million members, which is a little more than one-third the population of Uganda. The Archbishop is the senior leader of the entire Church of Uganda and the chief spokesman for the Church.  As Archbishop, he participates in global leadership meetings.

What happens at the enthronement of an Archbishop?

The service of enthronement is a regular worship service with readings from the Bible, a sermon, and Holy Communion. In addition to that, the outgoing Archbishop hands over the Provincial Staff – a symbol of the Archbishop’s spiritual authority – to the new, incoming Archbishop. The new Archbishop renews his vows, and the Bishops also pledge canonical obedience to him. The Dean of the Province (the most tenured Bishop in the House of Bishops) guides the new Archbishop to his Provincial Chair and places him on the Chair, symbolizing that the Bishops elected him to lead them and the entire Church of Uganda. The new Archbishop reads his Charge – a kind of manifesto and vision for his ministry, leadership, and strategic direction.