Church of Uganda to mark 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of Janan Luwun

Archbishop murdered on the orders of Idi Amin

Fellow Ugandans and all people of God, on 16th February 1977, the Most Rev. Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga Zaire was murdered and martyred by then Idi Amini, the President of Uganda. This year, on 16th February 2017 we are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of his martyrdom at Mucwini in Kitgum District where the body of Late Janan Luwum was hurriedly buried by the Amin’s soldiers.

The Church of Uganda appreciates His Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President and the government of the Republic of Uganda, for declaring and gazetting 16th February as a Public Holiday to enable Ugandans and the whole world to make a pilgrimage to Mucwini for celebrations.  We also appreciate the Pledge made by the President to improve the infrastructure at the burial site of Janan Luwum at Mucwini. This is going to bring about the spiritual, socio-economic growth and transformation in the Acholi sub-region.      

We are here to launch and inform all Ugandans about the plans for this year’s celebrations.

An event has been organized to take place here in Kampala before the main one.  On Sunday 5th February 2017, all roads will be leading to St. Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe where the Archbishop Janani Luwum was supposed to have been buried.  Some of you may have already been informed about Wednesday 8th February, but we now inform you that the confirmed date for Kampala event will be on Sunday 5th February 2017 beginning at 10:30 am.

Five Centres have been identified from which people will gather and walk to Namirembe Hill being led by the Brass Bands. The Centres are: All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero; Mengo Archdeaconry Center; St. Francis Chapel Makerere; Zana Church of Uganda; and McKay Church of Uganda. People who may plan to walk to Namirembe from these centres are requested to gather in these areas by 8:00 am so that they may start off. People who are interested in walking from any other places may plan to do so.

We are glad to have the Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda who will be the Chief Guest for Kampala event. The preacher will be the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. Before the preaching, we shall be blessed to have two testimonials about the life and ministry of Archbishop Janani Luwum. We also expect to have good choirs to lead the singing. 

The purpose of the Kampala event of 5th February 2017 is to create public awareness about the martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum as we plan for the main event of 16th February 2017 in Mucwini, but also to enable and allow those who cannot make it to Mucwini to celebrate it in Kampala.  We expect and invite all people, regardless of denomination,  ethnicity, social status, age, colour and sex, to attend the celebrations, especially those from the Central Region and other parts of the country who cannot make it to Mucwini to come in big numbers. We appeal to our development partners, the media houses, to inform the public accordingly. We also request the Bishops, Archdeacons, the parish priests and Lay Readers to announce in all Church structures and invite people to attend the Kampala celebrations.

The preparations for the main celebrations at Mucwini in Kitgum District on Thursday 16th February 2017 are also in full gear. The guest of Honour will be His Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda. The Guest Preacher will be the Rt. Rev. Mike Hill, the Bishop of Bristol Diocese, UK, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Guest Intercessor will be the Most Rev. Dr. John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu Catholic Arch-diocese. The service will begin at 9:00 am.  One of other great highlights of celebrations in Mucwini will be the presentation of the Design Master Plan for the whole site at Mucwini.  

The Archbishop Janani Luwum was the Archbishop of the Church in four countries, namely, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire.  We expect pilgrims to come from these countries and other countries in Africa and other continents. We invite ALL UGANDANS to make a pilgrimage to Mucwini in Kitgum on 16th February 2017 and be part of this great 40th Anniversary celebrations.

We appreciate the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity for spearheading the planning process.  We also appreciate the government for the financial support towards the events.

We appreciate the Leadership of Co-Chairs Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda (PM), Justice Canon James Ogoola, Ambassador Olara Otunu and the work of the National Organizing Committee (NOC).

We appreciate the efforts of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for their work on the ground in Mucwini under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Charles Odurkami, Caretaker Bishop  of Kitgum and Mr. Ochan the Chairman LOC.

We appreciate the guidance and participation of the Luwum family members in the preparations.

Lastly, we appreciate the leadership of our Country Uganda and the commitment of the government for promoting religious tourism.

We are praying with hope that the 40th Anniversary commemoration celebrations will be special in the history of Uganda as a nation and the world at large.

Indeed “The Blood of the Martyrs became the Seed of the Church”


The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali


19th January, 2017


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