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Diocese of Antsiranana
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The five bishops of Madagascar
Photo No. : P060607-1
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The “Ruth” crafts and embroidered materials were sold.
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Bishop Roger Chung planted a Ylang Ylang tree.
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Malagasy Church Celebrates Martyr Abela Boto
June 7, 2006

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] The National Ecclesia Episkopaly Malagasy Church has celebrated the 110th anniversary of the martyrdom of Abela Boto, who was martyred in Mahanoro village in the Diocese of Toamasina.

All the five dioceses with their bishops from Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga and Toamasina gathered in Mahanoro for the special occasion. Archbishop Ian Ernest also came from Mauritius to be with the Malagasy Church in the Church of the Virgin Mary in Mahanoro .

The celebration started on Saturday morning with the planting of trees from the different regions of Madagascar. Each diocesan bishop planted a special tree from their area and Bishop Roger Chung Po Chuen from Antsiranana Diocese planted a Ylang Ylang tree from the Island of Nosy Be. Ylang Ylang is the scented oil widely used in the production of perfume in Europe.

Products from the Mothers’ Union were also displayed and sold. The “Ruth” crafts and embroidered materials from Antsiranana Diocese were exposed for the first time in Madagascar. Mrs Ernest, wife of the archbishop, was delighted to buy these newly produced articles which empower women in self-help projects in the Church.

The Sunday 28th May Malagasy-language service was attended by some 7000 people in a colourful celebration. After a one-hour procession, former Archbishop Remi Rabenirina presided over the service. In his sermon, the emphasised the importance of forgiveness in our Christian life.

Abela Martyr was a follower of Jesus Christ and he is now a symbol of unity in Madagascar, which is still fraught with issues of tribalism. The choir of Toamasina Cathedral performed wonderfully during the service. Archbishop Ernest gave the final blessing.

The government also inaugurated and officially named the coastal road leading to the grave of Abela Boto as the Abela Martyr Road.

This event was followed by a two-day training seminar on the 29-30 May for the national clergy of the Episcopal Church in Madagascar. Canon B Atwood , the Rev and Mrs J Kramer and Mr D Culp from the USA led the seminar and used the Equipping Series “Finding Personal Wholeness And Victory In Christ” by Terry Moore. These were very well appreciated and the Malagasy clergy were much encouraged in their ministries.