Namirembe Cathedral

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Namirembe Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe 20160605.jpg
AffiliationAnglican Communion
DistrictKampala, Uganda
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusMajor cathedral
LeadershipDean – The Very Rev. Cannon Benon Kityo Vicar - Rev. George Wilson Kakooza
Year consecrated1919
LocationNamirembe, Kampala, Uganda
Geographic coordinates0°18′54″N 32°33′35″E / 0.31500°N 32.55972°E / 0.31500; 32.55972Coordinates: 0°18′54″N 32°33′35″E / 0.31500°N 32.55972°E / 0.31500; 32.55972

Saint Paul's Cathedral Namirembe, commonly referred to as Namirembe Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral in Uganda. It serves as the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda and the diocesan cathedral for Namirembe Diocese, the first diocese to be founded in the Church of Uganda province, in 1890.[1] Between 1919 and 1967, the Cathedral served as the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda, Anglican Communion. In the 1960s, the headquarters of the Church of Uganda moved to All Saints Church in Nakasero then moved back to Namirembe later.[2]


Namirembe church, 2005

The cathedral is located on Namirembe Hill, in Lubaga Division, in Kampala, the capital and largest city in Uganda. Namirembe is located approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi), by road, west of Kampala's central business district.[3] The coordinates of Namirembe Cathedral are:0°18'54.0"N, 32°33'35.0"E (Latitude:0.315000; Longitude:32.559710).[4]


Namirembe Hill has been the location of the main Anglican place of worship in Buganda since Bishop Alfred Tucker established the offices of the Diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa in 1890. Tragedy befell the first four church structures:

  1. The first church building, constructed in 1890, with a capacity of 800 people, was abandoned in 1891 because it was located in a swampy area at the base of Namirembe Hill. Also, a bigger building was needed to accommodate the ever-growing congregation.
  2. The second church building was constructed between July 1891 and July 1892, with a seating capacity of more than 3,000. In October 1894, strong winds during a thunderstorm blew the roof off the church and it was ruined.
  3. Former church building, probably the fourth church (1904-1910)
    The third church building was built between 1894 and 1895. It had a seating capacity of about 4,000 worshippers. That building, constructed with traditional African materials, was abandoned in the early 1900s due to fear that termites would destroy it.
  4. The fourth church building was constructed with earthen brick walls and a thatched roof, between 1900 and 1904. At the opening ceremony, on Tuesday 21 June 1904, an estimated 10,000 people were in attendance. The congregation included Kabaka Daudi Chwa II, then aged seven years. On the afternoon of Friday 23 September 1910, the roof was gutted by a fire which started when lightning struck the building. Within less than thirty minutes, the entire roof was destroyed and the church was ruined.
  5. The current St. Paul's Cathedral was constructed between 1915 and 1919 using earthen bricks and earthen roof tiles. The cathedral is still standing, but needs repairs from time to time.


The organ in St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe, the oldest cathedral in the Church of Uganda, Anglican Communion, was built in 1931 by The Positive Organ Company (1922) Limited. In 1952, after twenty years of service the organ was in need of an overhaul and this work was entrusted to Alfred E. Davis of Northampton, England. The organ gave a further twenty years of service, but after Idi Amin seized power in 1971 it deteriorated seriously during the years of unrest. Eventually in 1998, Peter Wells from the United Kingdom was sent to inspect what remained and advise on the rehabilitation. Several schemes were considered and the organ today operates to a specification drawn up with Michael Sozi, then chairman of the Organ Committee, in 1999.

Due to limited funds, it was decided to stagger the work of restoration. The first phase commenced after Easter 1999 when Peter and Ann Wells travelled to Uganda to install new manual keyboards and action to the manual soundboards. The full scheme was realized in 2006 and 2007 with the installation of the Great Mixture and Pedal Trombone.[citation needed]

Recent events[edit]

On 16 December 2012, the cathedral hosted the enthronement of the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali, as the 8th archbishop of the Church of Uganda. The ceremony was attended by an estimated 3,000 people, including several other luminaries from the Anglican Communion, including The Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, and The Most Reverend John Sentamu the Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom. Other attendees included Archbishops from Burundi, England, the Indian Ocean, Kenya, the Middle East, Nigeria, Rwanda, Scotland and Sudan. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of Uganda, was also in attendance.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ KCG, . "Namirembe Cathedral Is Uganda's Oldest Cathedral". (KCG). Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  2. ^ COU, . "The Provincial Secretariat of the Church of Uganda Is Housed On Namirembe Hill". (COU). Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Map Showing Central Kampala And Namirembe With Distance Marker". Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  4. ^ Google, . "Location of Namirembe Cathedral At Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  5. ^ Living Church, . (18 December 2012). "Uganda Enthrones Archbishop". Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  6. ^ Kasozi, Ephraim (17 December 2012). "Ntagali Enthroned As Museveni Preaches Against Homosexuality". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 14 July 2014.

External links[edit]