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TORIT - 14 Apr 2021

ECSS Torit internal province gets new Archbishop

New Torit Archdiocese Internal Province in Eastern Equatoria State Archbishop Charles Ogeno. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]
New Torit Archdiocese Internal Province in Eastern Equatoria State Archbishop Charles Ogeno. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) has nominated a new Archbishop to lead Torit Archdiocese Internal Province in Eastern Equatoria State.

This comes after Archbishop Bernard Oringa retired in January in adherence to the church’s constitution which bars an incumbent who has attained 65 years of age from continuing in office. 

Taban Joseph Roman, the Councillor of the ECSS Torit Internal Province, who presided over the nomination and election confirmed that the ceremony was attended by the congregations from all chapels in the region including the Archbishop of Juba.

“In our electoral body, we have the Archbishop and the Primate, the Archbishop of Central Equatoria State, all the diocesan bishops of the internal province of Eastern Equatoria State,” Taban said. “So, we carried out the elections successfully, much appreciated. There was much respect observed during that time. I am the Councillor, I preceded over the elections from there we nominated our new Archbishop of the Internal Province of Eastern Equatoria Episcopal Church of South Sudan. That is none other than the Most Reverend Charles Ogeno who is now the new Archbishop.”

According to Taban, the new Archbishop Rev. Charles Ogeno was officially installed on Sunday after the nomination on Saturday.

Rev. Orem Solomon Abalang, the provincial secretary of the ECSS in Eastern Equatoria State explained that the process of installing a new Archbishop was fair and followed the laid down procedure. 

“The elections were fair and they agreed within themselves, but even if they agree the nominees nominate and someone seconds. As for this case, everybody nominated Rev. Ogeno,” Orem said. “More than three people seconded and automatically he became unopposed. So that was their agreement because the two already stepped down saying, ‘brother you lead us’ that is why it was free and fair.”  

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday, retired Archbishop Rt. Rev Benard Oringa welcomed the nomination despite not having been invited to attend the function.

“Sure, according to our constitution when you attain the age limit you leave room for young people to run the church. You know the work of an Archbishop is not easy work," he said. “It requires a lot of movement, thinking, planning and patience so it has been my pleasure that my successor has been successfully installed.”

“I could have been there but the unfortunate thing is that they did not invite me, I was not invited and I was not even informed I was in Uganda and I came intentionally to wait for their invitation. I should have come there,” he added. 

The retired Archbishop however urged the faithful to work with the new leader to serve God and his people. 

“I would like to encourage the people of Eastern Equatoria State to welcome the incoming Archbishop. Let them welcome him wholeheartedly and my appeal to the people is to make the work of God proceed. I will continue to pray for him so that he is not pressured down, to carry on with his duty with love and peace of mind,” the retired prelate said. 

Rt. Rev. Benard Oringa was elected as Diocesan Bishop of Torit in 2007 and was to retire in 2017 according to the term limit of 10 years but Eastern Equatoria qualified to become an internal province and he was nominated as Archbishop till he reached retirement age early this year. 

The retired bishop vows to support the new administration upon invitation and when given a chance. 

The former archbishop, during his tenure, constructed ECSS Cathedral in Torit and increased the number of parishes to six from the two and also endorsed Magwi, Nimule, and Kapoeta to become dioceses qualifying Torit as an internal province.