1878? to 1933
Cherubim and Seraphim Society (Aladura)
Evangelist involved in founding Cherubim and Seraphim independent churches in Nigeria.
After his conversion in the 1890s, Orimolade underwent various spiritual experiences associated with his permanent lameness. Although illiterate all his life, he acquired considerable ability to quote the Bible and became a wandering evangelist in his Ondo State and then ranged widely, stressing healing, visions, and the power of prayer. He settled in Lagos about 1924; in 1925 he was called upon to bring Victoria Akinsowon, a young educated Anglican woman out of a trance. Their continuing association as evangelists led to forming the Seraphim Society, another form of the Aladura movement then developing. Initially supplementary to the churches, it soon became the independent Cherubim and Seraphim Society, which split between the co-founders in 1929, after which Orimolade was rather neglected. However, the many later divisions agree in recognizing him as their spiritual father, and a cult has developed with relics and annual services at his tomb. He remains an example of an unsophisticated but charismatic, ascetic, and meditative response to early Christianity in Nigeria.
Harold W. Turner
J. Akinyele Omoyajowo, Cherubim and Seraphim: The History of an African Independent Church (1982); J. D. Y. Peel, Aladura: A Religious Movement among the Yoruba (1968).
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (complete article): Aladura