First women priests ordained in Antsiranana diocese


The Diocese of Antsiranana made history November 30 when it ordained its first three women priests during a joyful ceremony at St. Joseph’s Church in Nosy Be, Madagascar.

The Rev. Marie Jeanne Befeno, the Rev. Vitasolo Roline and the Rev. Nivondrazana were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza of the Diocese of Antsiranana, part of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean. Three other priests and eight deacons — including three women deacons — were also ordained during the service.

The three new women priests were ordained as deacons in June 2007 at the inauguration of the new Cathedral of St Matthew in Diego Suarez.

Led by Church of England Bishop Graham Cray of Maidstone, a delegation of women priests and other dignitaries from the Diocese of Canterbury attended the November 30 service.

The Diocese of Mauritius became the latest diocese in the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean to accept women’s ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood during its synod in November.

The Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean is led by Archbishop Ian Ernest and includes seven dioceses throughout Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

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