Defrocked Akurdid wants Ayom barred from going to Bor
The defrocked Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province (JIP), Reuben Akurdid Ngong, has urged the government of Jonglei State not to allow his successor, Archbishop Moses Anur Ayom, to set foot there.
He petitioned the state leadership on Tuesday, warning of ‘dire consequences’ should Anur and his accompanying delegation of bishops step into Bor.
He said any visit would be allowed only after the case with the ECSS is resolved.
On his arrival in Bor after the dismissal of the case, Akurdid said he would only retire after the dioceses he established were approved.
“With divine powers, the leadership of the Church in Bor is informing the Jonglei government that Bishop Moses Anur Ayom and his team are not welcomed to Bor by the five dioceses until our crisis before the court of law is settled,” he wrote to the Governor, Denay Chagor.
“There is no reassessment for the five dioceses of Bor, Malek, Anyidi, Makuach, and Chueikeer. This is to make the people of Bor (safe) from the confusion sent to us by Archbishop and Primate Justin Badi Arama. Our people are not happy to hear about Moses Anur Ayom coming to Bor. Any violation of this document and its repercussions will not be our responsibility. “
David Khor Majok, the deputy coordinator for information in Jonglei Internal Province under Reuben Akurdid, said they wrote the letter after learning that Archbishop Moses Anur and his delegation were expected to come and assess the three dioceses and plan for the enthronement of their bishops.
He said the people were not happy about the statement and that the planned visit to Jonglei Internal Province had been suspended due to the looming tension.
“He has not come. He heard of the reports that they would come for assessment in the five dioceses of Bor Anyidi, Chueikeer, Makuach, and Malek. We say that since they are already assessed and working, there is no need to assess them again. “They say, after assessing and finding the dioceses qualified; new bishops will be nominated,” he explained.
“This is total confusion. Those who are already in the dioceses are the ones already nominated by the people as their bishops, and there is no need for assessment again and for new bishops to be nominated again. We have rejected it [and] that is why we have written a letter to the governor saying that we did not accept that committee led by Moses Anur.”
He said they only expected peace between ECSS and Primate Justin Badi and Reuben Akurdid.
However, the ECSS communication officer, Manyang Gabriel, said they are no longer interested in Akurdid’s work.
He said Ayom is the legitimate archbishop of the area because he has the letter from the Archbishop concerning the dioceses approved.
Manyang said the governor previously said neither Akurdid Ngong nor Moses Anur should go to Jonglei without a letter from the judiciary and the ECSS Primate.
He added that Anur has already acquired the permit to go and assume his duties.
He further revealed that Akurdid was called two months ago to be pardoned but did not turn up and that he was already at retirement age and, thus, was prevented from attending the synod.
“That letter is not our concern whether Akurdid has written or not, because I told you last time that Akurdid is no longer a bishop in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. If he does something, we are not in a position to respond to that. We respond to what is under our administration, ” he said.
“The bishops we are going to send are supposed to work within Jonglei because that is their base. So, they are free to go at any time there. We delayed them because of tension because we care about our people, and the governor wrote that Moses Anur and Akurdid should stay in Juba until the case is solved. If one of them is to come, he must come carrying two letters: one from the Primate or the Judiciary. “
He said regarding the assessment of the dioceses, the South Sudanese constitution has allowed freedom of worship.
“It is in article 16 of the ECSS constitution that only the synod approves dioceses and this came to pass at the synod, not only the three dioceses of Chueikeer, Anyidi, and Makuach were approved, but all the over 21 dioceses in South Sudan. Anur is now the one carrying the papers of the approved dioceses. “
The diocese of Malek joined Reuben Akurdid last week immediately after the synod was concluded in Juba, raising the number of the dioceses under Akurdid to five.
Philip Maluak Deng, who serves as the information coordinator for the defrocked Archbishop Reuben Akurdid, disclosed that they had no problem with approving the dioceses of Chueikeer, Anyidi, and Makuach but were only waiting for the defrocking to be lifted.
Akurdid approved the three dioceses of Anyidi, Makuac, and Chueikeer last year without the permission of the office of the Primate and the house of bishops of the ECSS.
This triggered the defrocking of Reuben Akurdid from his office as the Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province and led to the division of Christians and the obstruction of bishops from entering Bor Diocese.
Reuben Akurdid later sued the church, which the high court turned down to rule over the case and referred it to the church tribunal.
However, the house of bishops demanded an apology from Reuben Akurdid for the case to be tabled before the synod, which was concluded last week.