Ver Angola


Court notifies IURD dissidents to abandon temples

The court notified dissidents of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) in the country to leave the temples, after the new leadership of the church now known as IRDA was officially recognized.

: Ampe Rogério/Lusa
Ampe Rogério/Lusa  

Speaking to Lusa, Alberto Segundo, bishop who leads the Church of the Kingdom of God in Angola (IRDA), said that around 30 of the more than a hundred temples of this religious confession in the country are at stake, marked in recent years by dissent, conflicts and legal cases.

The new name was formalized in March by the Government, in an executive decree signed by the Minister of Culture, Filipe Zau, which also determines the transfer of all assets to IRDA.

The document was contested by dissidents for alleged defects in favor of Alberto Segunda, who was recognized by the State as official leader in Angola, after being elected in the General Assembly.

"We are in the final phase of resolving this process (...) based on this assembly and the recognition of the State, it was determined that all the assets of the former IURD are now part of the IRDA", Alberto Segunda told Lusa, on the sidelines of a forum on problems linked to the religious phenomenon in Angola, taking place in Luanda.

"What is happening is that the dissidents who were part of the IURD are being notified to return all of the IRDA's assets," he said, stressing that he believes the conflict is ending.

Alberto Segunda said that notifications were sent to pastors of 33 to 34 cathedrals to abandon these buildings.

IRDA has more than 100 temples nationwide.

The religious man added that he has not spoken to the dissidents as the issue is being dealt with at the judicial level.

"It is the court that notified them, it is the court that will resolve this issue. What is happening now is a process that should have already been done when the sentence became final in 2022, but today as things are clearer, based on the general assembly that was held, and the State recognizing the leadership, the court feels more comfortable and knows who it should hand over the Church's assets to. It is the court that is resolving everything", he highlighted.

The temples of the former IURD were closed for a few years due to internal disputes that, since 2019, pitted Angolan bishops and pastors against the Brazilian leadership of the church, accusing Brazilian managers of various crimes, namely money laundering, currency evasion, obligation to have a vasectomy and racism.

Several temples were seized and closed by order of the Attorney General's Office, which opened a case that resulted in the conviction of Brazilian bishop Honorilton Gonçalves, to three years in prison, with a suspended sentence, for crimes of physical and psychological violence.

In April 2022, the Luanda court ordered the "unblocking of the IURD's movable and immovable assets in Angola", but the temples closed again a few days later to be handed over to management "legitimized by the Angolan Government".

Two wings emerged from the conflict – the one of Brazilian origin, now led by the Angolan Alberto Segunda, and legitimized by the Government, and the dissident wing, also Angolan, led by Bizerra Luís, who claims to be the legitimate representative of the Church founded by the Brazilian Edir Macedo.


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