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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886.

Africa boasts the world's oldest Christian kingdom extant, Ethiopia, and also some of the newest Christian countries. Uganda in East Africa is one. A former British protectorate, it is now an independent republic and a part of the British Commonwealth.

Christianity was introduced to Uganda by Anglican and Roman Catholic missionaries in the nineteenth century. They were well-received by the powerful king of Buganda, Mutesa. However, he was not converted, and he was succeeded by King Mwanga, a degenerate and perverse individual who sought a return to primitive animism. He expelled missionaries and began systematically terrorizing the native Christians. Many were flogged and mutilated. In 1884 three youths were burned to death for their faith. They were said to have approached martyrdom singing the favorite Swahili hymn, "Daily, daily sing the praises." We do not know how many Christians died in this persecution but, between May 25 and June 3, 1886, at least thirty-two were martyred, most of them on a great pyre at Namugongo.

Out of these afflictions, however, grew a strong indigenous church, a symbol of resurgent Christianity in Africa and of successful cooperation between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

Grant us, O God, so to cherish the blessed Martyrs of Uganda that we may share their steadfast faith. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God, by your providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before you the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience, even to death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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