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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Nono Edouard's painting of Jesus in the Diego Suarez bay
Photo No. : P070606-12
Click for enlarged photo

The second painting depicts Mary and her baby in Madagascan surroundings
Photo No. : P070606-13
Click for enlarged photo

The children gathered to welcome the new paintings
Photo No. : P070606-14
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Two new paintings celebrate the new cathedral in Antsiranana Diocese
By Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza
June 6, 2007

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] The new St Matthew's Cathedral in the Diocese of Antsiranana is to be inaugurated on Sunday 17 June 2007. A well-known artist of Ambilobe, Mr Nono Edouard, has created two new paintings measuring 2 x 2 metres to celebrate the inauguration.

The special guests will be the Rt Revd Graham Cray, Bishop of Maidstone, and six people from the Diocese of Canterbury. This team will also lead a training for the clergy and clergy spouses at the Canterbury Educational Centre. Bishop Cray will co-inaugurate the new cathedral with the Bishop of Antsiranana, the Rt Revd Roger Chung Jaomalaza.

It has been a rare initiative to have Malagasy painter portray the contextual Jesus Christ inculturated in the life of the people of North Madagascar. This theological exercise has proved to be quite a challenge for the paradigm shift of a multi-cultural Jesus Christ.

The first painting is called Mankanesa aty amiko ? "Come and follow me ... ". Jesus, with his arms outstretched, is portrayed as the one who takes the initiative in calling his followers. Matthew the tax collector is pictured at the left bottom receiving the Ariary notes of Malagasy currency from a young man. Peter the Apostle is pictured with the catch of the day. The background is a magnificent view of the Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Diego Suarez natural bay. The rising sun expresses the hope of the people contemplating the Son of Righteousness.

The second picture is that of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus, titled "A saviour is born unto us". The setting is that of a Sakalava-styled hut of northern Madagascar. Mary wears the blue dress of the Mothers? Union, and her fuchsia top is that of the Ruth Women Empowerment movement in the diocese.

In the far background, the sun rises over the famous Tsingy Tsingy limestone rock formation, which is unique to Madagascar. Closer by, a woman is bending with her sickle, reaping the golden rice, which is the staple food of Madagascar.

On the right are the vanilla pods and cocoa fruits that are produced in this northern region of Madagascar. Above them, a pair of the exotic lemurs gaze at the mother and child from the branches of a tree.

Special prayers for the inauguration of the Cathedral will be held on the coming Fridays, so that God's glory may reveal his love and favour for all his people.