Anglican Diocese of Seychelles to celebrate golden jubilee on March 26
Services will be celebrated at St. Paul’s Cathedral Parish in Victoria. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
The Anglican Diocese of Seychelles will celebrate its golden jubilee on March 26 and a series of activities are being organised to commemorate the event.
For the pinnacle of the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the Diocese’s establishment, Reverend Christine Benoit told SNA that “the Anglican family in Seychelles will meet together for worship at 9.30 a.m. and we will conclude the day with a Gospel Show of Thanksgiving.”
Bishop James Wong, who is also Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean and fourth Bishop of Seychelles, will celebrate the services at the St. Paul’s Cathedral Parish in the capital of the Victoria.
“All other churches will be closed, and all the clergy and we hope some visiting clergy will also join us in celebration,” said Benoit.
In addition to the special services, Benoit said that “at each parish, there will be some activities organised during that particular week from Sunday to Saturday, before moving to the other parish. We will also be holding an exhibition at each parish and a main one at the Cathedral on 26 March.”
The organisers revealed among the activities that day will be the sale of souvenirs, and games.
“We will conclude the day with a Praise Thanksgiving Show, with the participation of members from our different churches,” said Benoit.
This year the community is celebrating two-fold as it is also during this month that it became part of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean.
Even before the Roman Catholic Church established its prefecture in 1852 and then a diocese in 1880 in the western Indian Ocean archipelago, its Anglican counterpart was already present since 1813.
“At that time, we had missionaries and the church in Seychelles was part of the Diocese of Mauritius, where the Bishop resided,” Benoit told SNA.
The Diocese of Seychelles was set up on March 25 in 1973 and its first bishop was Reverend Canon George Cardell Briggs, consecrated at St. James Cathedral in Mauritius.
Father French Chang-Him was the first Seychellois priest to be consecrated on July 25 in 1979 and became the second Bishop of Seychelles.
Chang-Him spent 25 years as the head of the Diocese and was also Archbishop of the Indian Ocean for a certain time. He then retired and was replaced by Bishop Santosh Marray on April 10, 2004. He in turn was succeeded by Archbishop James Wong Yin Song, on April 19, 2009, who serves to this day.
There are four parishes that cater to the Anglican faithful in the country: the Cathedral in Victoria, St. Matthew’s Parish on Praslin, Holy Saviour’s Parish at Anse Royale and St. Luke’s Parish at Bel Ombre.
According to the census 2010, 6.1 percent of the Seychelles’ population is Anglican.
Furthermore, the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, is an Anglican priest who won in the national elections of October 2020. He had been an opposition politician since 1991. While he does not have active parish duties within the church, he still participates in church activities from time to time.