Tsizehena, John

Tsizehena, John
(c. 1840-1911)
   early Protestant convert and evangelist on Madagascar
   John Tsizehena had his first exposure to Christianity through missionaries sent by the Church Missionary Society. While seriously ill, Tsizehena had a deathbed vision of Christ followed swiftly by his recovery. The event solidified his commitment to the growing Anglican community.
   At a later date, Tsizehena moved to the northern region of Madagascar, which was not connected to the Anglican community at the time. He began evangelizing in the region, without any formal commissioning. As he gathered converts into a congregation at Namakia, he instituted Anglican liturgical formats following the order of the Book of Common Prayer. As the work grew, he identified himself as the Rt. Rev. Lord Bishop of the North and made some clerical and even episcopal clothing to identify his role in the community. He also recruited other evangelists to expand the work, and as the "bishop" took it upon himself to baptize believers and ordain ministers. For services not included in the prayer book, he composed his own liturgies.
   Shortly after the turn of the century, Tsizehena began negotiations with Anglican officials concerning the integration of his "diocese" into the larger Anglican community in Madagascar. Those negotiations were successfully consummated, and Tsizehena's church now forms one of the three dioceses on the island, all of which belong to the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.
   See also Africa, sub-Saharan.
   Further reading:
   ■ B. A. Bow, "John Tsizehena: A Self-ordained Malagasy Bishop," Journal of Religious History (Australia) (December 1976): 158-72
   ■ A. Scott Moreau, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 2000).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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