Tsizehena, John

1840-1912
Mission Lord Church , Anglican Communion
Madagascar

Malagasy Christian leader.

Tsizehena came from the vicinity of Vohémar, on the east coast of Madagascar, where there was an Anglican mission. When he was twenty-five, he had a severe illness and was thought to be dead. In that condition he received a vision in which he was told to go back to earth, for there was much work for him to do. He revived and was baptized in 1865. In 1884 French troops went to Vohémar, but then withdrew to Diego Suarez, in the far north of the island. Tsizehena and most of the other Christians of Vohémar went with them because of the good treatment the French had given. They settled in a village near Diego Suarez, in the wildest part of the island. They were far removed from the Anglican Church and so Tsizehena, an untrained layman, agreed to be their bishop. He began to spread the gospel through the district and established a number of churches, ordaining priests where needed. Thus evolved a strong church known as the Mission Lord Church, or the Diocese of the North, or the Northern Church of Madagscar. It followed the Anglican liturgy and hoped for Anglican help. A year before his death, Tsizehena received a visit from an Anglican bishop and put his church under Anglican control. In 1967 the Diego Suarez church had 4,000 members.

Charles W. Forman


Bibliography

G. L. King, A Self-Made Bishop: The Story of John Tsizehena, “Bishop of the North, D.D.” (1933).


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.