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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Mothers' Union members carrying their banner in the procession
Photo No. : P070619-8
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The new deacons prostrate themselves at their ordination
Photo No. : P070619-9
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The bishops present the three newly robed women deacons and the newly commissioned priest and evangelists to the congregation
Photo No. : P070619-10
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First Ordination of Women in Madagascar
By Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza
June 19, 2007

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] The first ever ordination of three women deacons in Madagascar Eklesia Episkopaly Malagasy took place in the new Cathedral of St Matthew in Antsiranana. Mrs Niva, Mrs Rolline and Mrs Marie Jeanne Befeno were made deacons by Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza in the immaculate new Cathedral. In addition, two evangelists and one priest, the Revd Modeste, were commissioned.

Bishop Graham Cray of Canterbury Diocese and Bishop Jean Claude of Mahanjanga were present at this special occasion attended by nearly 2300 people.

The service lasted six hours, beginning at 8.30 a.m. and ending at 2.30 p.m. The packed church overflowed with people who came from all the corners of the Diocese - from Antalaha, Sambava, Vohemar, Nosy Be and Ambilobe - to attended this service.

The Revd Eileen Routh preached after Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza. She retraced the story of the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion, the Revd Li Ting Oi of Hong Kong in the Second World War, and encouraged the people to move according to our time in the grace of God.

The presence of three women priests from the Canterbury Diocese, the Revds Eileen Routh, Hilary Jones and Ali Duguid, gave great hope to the newly ordained deacons as the Diocese of Antsiranana launches on a new vision of women being active in the ordained ministry.