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Biography of Peter AKINOLA

Nigeria > Social : Peter AKINOLA

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Born on 27/01/1944 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Peter Jasper Akinola (b. January 27,1944), is the Archbishop of Nigeria. Peter Akinola, leads 37 million Anglicans as chair of the Anglican Church in Africa.  His church was a prominent example of the growth of Christianity in the “Global South” made up of Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia.
As head of the fastest growing part of the Anglican communion, he is becoming an increasingly important figure.
His growing influence is largely due to his conservative stance on gay marriage, a position that appeals to his African congregation.

Few months ago ,two of the oldest and largest church congregations in the US voted to bring themselves under his authority.

A father of six, he describes himself as "an ordinary pastor in the church of God" but chosen by God to protect the scriptures.
Never the one to shy away from controversy, Bishop Akinola's strong views and public criticism of government policies quickly made him popular among Nigerian Christians and led to his election as head of the powerful Christian Association of Nigeria, an umbrella organisation for all Nigerian christian groups.

Born in Abeaokuta in south-western Nigeria in 1944, Mr Akinola is popular for his unique understanding of African cultures which he always related with parallels from the Bible's Old Testament.

Akinola was four years old when his father died, and he was sent to live with an uncle. He attended school from the ages of 10 to 16; his uncle then told him to leave school and learn a trade. After an apprenticeship in Lagos, Akinola became a successful furniture maker and patent-medicine seller, but he gave up the business to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a deacon in 1978 and a priest in 1979; he traveled to the United States, graduating in 1981 from the Virginia Theological Seminary with a master’s degree. Upon his return to Nigeria, he served in the Abuja diocese, being consecrated as bishop in 1989. In 1998 he became archbishop in Islam-dominated northern Nigeria, and in 2000 he was elected primate of all Nigeria.

Akinola drew international attention after V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003 became the first openly gay Anglican bishop. The Nigerian primate said that the U.S. Episcopal Church had “chosen the path of deviation from the historic faith” and called homosexuality “an aberration unknown even in animal relationships.” Under Akinola’s leadership the Nigerian church established the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) to provide a way for congregations that were alienated by the actions of the Episcopal Church to retain fellowship with the Anglican Communion. CANA’s first missionary bishop, Martyn Minns of Virginia, was installed in May 2007 against the wishes of the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Akinola also made news in 2006 when, as president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, he issued a statement in response to Muslim riots ignited by the printing in Danish newspapers of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. “May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation,” the archbishop said. Archbishop Williams argued that the Nigerian meant to issue a warning, not a threat. In 2004, however, Akinola had refused to condemn the retaliatory killings of 700 Muslims following the deaths of 75 Christians in sectarian violence.

Last update : 02/26/2008

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