Jonglei ECSS: defiant Archbishop banishes appointed successor

By James Atem Kuir

The defrocked Archbishop Rueben Akurdid Ngong Akurdidof Jonglei Internal Province and Diocese of Borof the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS), has banished his appointed successor Bishop Moses Anur Ayom from Bor Town in the latest escalation of tension among the ECSS clerics in the state.

Bishop Moses Anur Ayom was installed late last month as Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province and Bishop of the Diocese of Bor replacing Bishop Reuben Akurdid Ngong Akuirdid in both positions following his appointment last year.

The renegade Bishop Akurdid was fired last year by Justin Badi Arama the Archbishop and Primate of the ECSSafter he accused the latter of “canonical disobedience, violation of church constitution and misleading and dividing Christians” in the state.

But Bishop Akurdid nullified his dismissal terming it unconstitutional and immediately fired Bishop Anur from theEpiscopal Church of South Sudan in Jonglei State, and subsequentlydeclaredJonglei Internal Province independent from Bishop Justin Badi leadership until the end of his tenure.

Unconfirmed sources asserted that the two clerics (Akurdid and Badi) had fallen out over establishment of three additional dioceses within Jonglei State which Bishop Akurdid effected anyway despite warning from Bishop Badi to halt the process.

The ECSS faithful in Jonglei State had since been divided along Akurdid supporters who called themselves “the independent” and those siding with Moses Anur, and ran parallel administrations, with their divided followersoften slidinginto confrontations.

In a letter written on June 2, two days after Bishop Moses Anur was enthroned by Rev. Dr. Justin Badi Rama the Arcbishop and Primate of the ECSS in Panyagor, Twic East County, the Jonglei Internal province under Bishop Akurdid rejected his consecration and once again accused Archbishop Badi of causing more confusionin the Jonglei Internal Provinceand violating the ECSS constitution.

The letter signed by Rev. Samuel Majok Deng Mathiang bluntly warned the newly enthroned Bishop Moses Anur Ayom and his allies “not to step into the territory of Bor.”

“…he (Archbishop Justin Badi Arama) had done illegal enthronement to Bishop Moses Anur Ayom in Panyagor which will bring more confusion to the entire congregation of Jonglei Internal Province.

“In conclusion, Bishop Moses Anur Ayom is warned with allies, not to step into the territory of Bor,” warned the letter written by Rev. Mathiang who referred to himself as the bishop commissary of Bor Diocese.

The document also faulted Archbishop Badi for dishonoring an injunction order issued last year by a Juba High Court, halting replacement of Bishop Akurdid until the case was out of the court. This was after Akurdid launched a legal action againsthis former boss, Badi in a Juba court arguing that his removal did not follow due procedures according to the church constitution.

However, Bishop Badi told Juba Monitor last year that a civil does not have authority to adjudicate a religious dispute, and vowed not to abide by whatever judgement the court would pass.

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