Defrocked Archbishop Akurdit returns to Bor

Defrocked Archbishop Akurdit returns to Bor
Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province, Rev. Ruben Akurdit Ngong,being received in Leudiet Church [Bolice Mayar, The City Review]

Thousands of Christians in Bor defied the bad weather, Saturday to welcome the defrocked archbishop, Ruben Akurdit Ngong of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECS).

Akurdit ecclesiastical status was taken away in 2021 by the primate and archbishop of ECS Justin Badi.

However, on Friday, the Office of the President granted permission to Akurdit to return to Bor following his expulsion by the government of Jonglei State.

Akurdit said the president called him together with Justin Badi to solve the differences in the church.

He said the president had asked him to write an apology to Justin Badi, and he obliged.

“The requirement which was given to Badi was to accept the appointed bishops to three dioceses and unfrock Akurdit as the archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province for three months to resolve the matters of the church before I resign from positions,” Akurdit explained.

“I have spent a long time in Juba but my family matters needed me in Bor,’’ he revealed, adding, ‘‘during my time in Juba, my wife got sick and without my care, she is still not feeling well after now.’’

The archbishop urged the faithful not to engage in issues that cause divisions but emphasised that everyone has the right to follow whoever they choose.

The Press Secretary of the Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Gabriel Manyang, said the office of the primate was never informed of Akurdit’s return to Bor and he is still defrocked according to the administration of ECSS.

“We haven’t received the letter from the office of presidential affairs even though we saw the letter circulating on social media.” We don’t have a response to the letter,” Gabriel said.

He added that the office of presidential affairs does not have the power to allow Akurdit back Akurdit because the cleric was appointed by the office of primate.

“Our legitimate archbishop, Moses Anur is now in London representing Jonglei internal province.”

On  July 27, 2022, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs wrote a permission letter to allow the Rev. Ruben Akurdit Ngong to travel to Bor since the solution pertaining to the ongoing mediation within the episcopal church of South Sudan are yet to be met.

In January, a conflict broke out in Bor among the faithful with one group supporting the defrocking of Akurdit while others opposed it.