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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Preparing to build a new Cathedral.
Photo No. : P060110-1
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Making space for Cathedral foundations
Photo No. : P060110-2
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The young people who helped clear the land.
Photo No. : P060110-3
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Youth Clear Land for New Cathedral
January 10, 2006

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] Building work to replace the old Antsiranana Cathedral began at Epiphany.

The young people of St Matthew's Cathedral decided to put aside one day of their New Year festivities to clear the land to clear the way for the foundations of the new Cathedral. The Boy Scouts and Girl Guides will also give a helping hand whenever needed.

The building project was initiated by Bishop Gabriel Josoa, the first Bishop of Antsiranana, when he bought a plot of land for the diocese in 1978. He was not able to build on it due to lack of funds.

Bishop Keith Benzies, the last bishop of the Diocese, raised funds for a new cathedral and prepared plans in 2001. Unfortunately he fell ill and passed away in 2002, just before he could start the building work. The funds sadly disappeared when that happened.

As this new year, 2006 starts, the vision of the Diocese of Antsiranana is to activate our Mission and Evangelism goals by offering venues for prayer and raising the quality of worship, welcome and witness in the Anglican Church in Madagascar.

The past two years have seen the completion and extension of churches in Sambava and in Ambilobe, events which have brought a fresh wave of renewed faith and growth in the Diocese.

So this year the Rt Rev Roger Chung Po Chuen is committing the Diocese to building the new Cathedral with new plans. It will hold some 600 people and will be one-and-a-half times bigger than the former one. The current cathedral is sandwiched between busy noisy hardware shops and so not very welcoming on Sundays.

“This building venture is a faith project,” said Bishop Chung. “We appeal for generous donations, as the expected total costs will be about 25 thousand UK pounds.

“By God’s grace we will see the finished building in one-and-a-half years from now,” he added. “It will be a welcoming and prayerful place for God's people in northern Madagascar.”

Like the Prophet Nehemiah, Bishop Chung will personally supervise the building process. The Revd Canon David Oliver from the Diocese of Montreal is proposing to send pews from a former parish in Canada. The new Cathedral will be in the Diocesan compound adjacent to the Canterbury Educational Center, the Boys Kilasimandry Hostel and the Cathedral Hall.

“Please pray that all will be favourable for this project, and that we will soon see the fulfilling of this vision of the new Cathedral,” said Bishop Chung. “Without the Lord's powerful protection, all this building work will be in vain. Pray for us so that our Mission and Evangelisation work may bear a fragrant witness, drawing people to Christ to the greater glory of God.”

Psalm 127:1
Unless the Lord builds the house the workers labour in vain.