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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Members of the Mothersí Union line the road as three bishops lead the procession to the new Cathedral of St Matthew
Photo No. : P070619-5
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Bishops Graham Cray and Roger Chung Jaomalaza with Nono Edouardís painting of the Madonna and Child
Photo No. : P070619-6
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The bishops and clergy leave the new cathedral after the service
Photo No. : P070619-7
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Festive inauguration of St Matthew's Cathedral, Antsiranana
By Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza
 
ANTSIRANANA 070619-2
June 19, 2007

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] On Sunday 17th June 2007, the new Cathedral of Antsiranana was inaugurated jointly by the Rt Rev Graham Cray, Bishop of Maidstone, and The Rt Rev Roger Chung Jaomalaza, Bishop of Antsiranana Diocese.

The theme of the inauguration service was taken from Matthew 11 verse 28: Come to me, all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. A songwriting contest on the theme was won by the Choir of Ambilobe.

A plaque in commemoration of Jaona Ratsizehena was unveiled at the beginning of the service. He was the first Bishop of Northern Madagascar to be elected by the people.

The building of a new cathedral was first planned in 1972 by the late Bishop Gabriel Josoa. His successor, Bishop Keith Benzies, also tried to realise these plans, but there were always obstacles to the building of the new place of worship.
Finally, in 2006, the Diocese of Antsiranana called for help and received it, especially from the Canterbury Diocese. From then on, the new Cathedral took one year to be completed.

Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza used the example of the Prophet Nehemiah in his desire to build the new Cathedral. Some people who were opposed to the building of the Cathedral planned to cause havoc, but their efforts were countered by increased security measures as the work proceeded.

Instead of windows, the Cathedral has ventilation holes in the bricks. Three fattened zebus were slaughtered for the festivities.