St. Cyprian’s Cathedral Church, the seat of the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Kumasi was established as the seat of the Archdeacon of Kumasi in the Diocese of Accra. In 1973 when the Diocese of Kumasi came into existence the Parish Church of St. Cyprian’s became the Cathedral Church of St. Cyprian. The current Dean of the Cathedral is the Very Revered Isaac Kojo Anokye, a former tutor at the St. Nicholas Theological Seminary, the Parish Church of St. Cyprian that was built in 1913 has been converted into a school and a new cathedral church built to serve the large congregation that worships in the Cathedral each Sunday.
The Diocese at its inception in June 1973 was made up of one Archdeaconry that of Kumasi. Currently there are seven Archdeaconries working in co-operation with the Cathedral of St. Cyprian the Martyr, Kumasi. It is the hope of the Bishop, the Clergy and the Laity that the number of Archdeaconries will further increase in due course in consonance with the expected growth of the diocese in number of parishes and membership.
HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL - ST. CYPRIANS PARISH
The Parish Church of St. Cyprian, now the Cathedral and see of the Anglican Diocese of Kumasi dates its origin from October 1913, when the Rt. Rev. Mowbray Stephen O’rocke, the 2nd Bishop of the then Diocese of Accra, appointed the Venerable Gresham Wynter Morrison MA Ph.D., a missionary sponsored by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G), as the first Parish Priest and Archdeacon of Kumasi.
Sources, both oral and written, confirm that the members of the initial congregation consisted of men and women mainly Fantes, Ga’s and Nzimas from the then Gold Coast Colony, who had been exposed to the doctrine of the Church of England in their native towns and had travelled to Kumasi in pursuit of various occupations. Among the early worshippers were also immigrants from Sierra Leone and Nigeria who arrived here to pursue business and other gainful ventures.
There were also expatriates mainly Europeans; army and Police Officers, Civil Servants and Merchants. The place of worship was a Court room. In the absence of an organized Choir the regimental band of the royal West African Frontier Force in Kumasi was often in attendance to provide music to lead the singing; later the venue of worship was moved to a place located near the present premises of Barclays Bank, Adum, the nucleus of Kumasi.
The Parish Church was named after St. Cyprian the Martyr, Bishop of Carthage, North Africa. The name was chosen by the Pioneer Parish Priest as a mark of his peculiar love for the African. From 1913 to 1922 the Parish Church was run by Secular Priests of the S.P.G consisting of the Parish Priest and Archdeacon Venerable G.W.Morrison, Rev.Fr. A. H. Candler as curate and Rev. Fr. Robert Fisher, a visiting Priest from Cape Coast. Also assisting were some early native Priests including Rev. Fr. E. D. Martinson and J. R. Cobbayalley.
It was Archdeacon Morrison who negotiated for the acquisition of a parcel of land located upon the hill on the Eastern side of the Subin River now known as Fante New Town for the construction of the Church and Mission House with financial assistance from British trading firms such as Commonwealth Trust Limited in Kumasi supports by the Archdeacon’s own resources. By 1915 the Church and the Mission had been dedicated for use.
The Church served dual purpose as a place for worship and school which was to produce the future membership of the Church. Venerable Morrison did not only manage the school but in addition to his pastoral duties assisted in teaching in the school. The Lower School was under the headship of Mr. Thomas Aubyn from Sekondi. He had earlier served as Catechist/Teacher at Bibiani English Church patronized by the European Mining Community. The upper school was under Mr. Hugh Hare M. A. an expatriate layman.
The Mission House provided accommodations for the Teaching Staff to enable them participate in conducting Mattins in the morning. Soon all the teachers were to be identified as Lay Readers and Servers of the Sanctuary. It is worthy to note the role played by teachers of the then Government Schools in Kumasi who were members of the Church as Lay Readers, Servers and Choristers. Archdeacon Morrison reached out to outstations. Accompanying him for the inauguration at jachie the first station in 1915, among others was Mr. Clements Henry Elliot, a teacher in the school, later to be ordained to Priesthood. The mission of Archdeacon Morrison ended in 1919 when he made his exit. Rev. Fr. Candler continued to 1922 when he also accepted appointed as Superintendent of Education to the Northern Territories, thus bringing to a close the era of secular expatriate priests for the time being in the interim Mr. C. H. Elliot steered the affairs of the Parish until the advent of the Benedictine Monks from Nashdom Abbey, Penshore, England.
In march, 1923, following the successful negotiations, between Bishop O’rorke and the Lord Abbot of the Abbey, Dom Peter Haris O. S. B. (Priest) and Dom Dominic Carter O. S. B. (Layman) arrived in Kumasi to continue and build on the foundation so well and truly laid by Venerable G. W. Morrison, Rev. Fr. A. H. Candler and the team of dedicated Africans teachers many of whom later had the Divine call to the vocation of sacred ministry. The establishment of St. Augustine’s Theological College in Kumasi under the direction of the Benedictine Monks with Dom Martin Collet O. S. B as the Rector saw the introduction of the High Church Order of Service in the Parish Church. The training if Ordinands started in 1925 with first batch.
By April 1928 the College had moved from St. Cyprian’s Compound to its own premises near Amakom. The influence of this institution on the growth and quality of worship at St. Cyprian’s Parish cannot be over-emphasized. Another significant event was the return of Nana Prempeh I from exile in Seychelles in 1924. Having gone into exile a heathen and illiterate, Nana returned a Christian of the Anglican Faith and a scholar in English and French Languages.
In fact Nana became the first Ashanti Anglican and appreciation of this he offered his eldest son, John to be Ordained as a Priest. Undoubtedly this was a further boost for the growth of the Parish Church and Anglicanism in Ashanti as the King’s Church. As a further illustration Nana Edward Prempeh, the then Chief Commissioner of Ashanti John Maxwell C. M. G., and the Queen Mother Nana Konadu Yiadom jointly laid the foundation stone of the new Junior and Senior School Building at Asem on 22nd June 1929 to advance the cause of education and enhance the prestige of the Parish Church.
The formative period under the Monks was short-lived. However, the Priest produced by St. Augustine’s Theological College assisted the expatriate Priests who returned to the scene at St. Cyprian’s immensely.
The Parish Church was administered by Venerable F. L. Suggest (1927-1929) Rev. Fr. T. H. Horsefield (1939-1935) Rev. Fr. M. W. Hickins (1936-1939 )remembered for his flair for Gregorian Chants, Venerable St. John Evans (1939-1941) noted for his keen interest in the school with health inspection for the pupils and as a rural Dean with outreach programmes to remote areas in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo with the assistance of Rev. Fr. I.S. M. Le Maire, Rev. Fr. A. M. Asare (1941-1942) followed by Rev. Fr. O. M. Renner M.A. A. C. P (1943-1947) with Rev. I. F. Baidoe as curate. In 1945 St. Augustine’s Theological College was opened under the Rector ship of Rev. Fr. G.E.F. Laing.
This was indeed a boon for St. Cyprian’s and another golden age in the annals of the Parish Church with respect to the respect to the Liturgy and rites appointed for observance on festive days. Venerable John Brewer (1948-1951) witnessed the political upsurge of the country nonetheless with Rev. Fr. W. J. Ben. Acquah as curate evangelization was extended to the Northern Territories. Canon J. F. Appiah (1952-1956) was assisted by Rev. R. Amos B. Agordepe, Rev. Fr. G. C. Cates (1956-1960) as Parish Priest with Rev. D. O. Adeloye, Rev. Edmund Yeboah as curates ended the string of expatriates as Parish Priests.
In January 1961 Venerable K. P. Sakyiama took charge as Parish Priest and Archdeacon until March1965. During this period the Assistant Priest included Rev. Fr. A. C. Agyeman, Rev. Fr. A. A. Okine and Rev. Fr. Gerald Awuma. Venerable J. B. Arthur was appointed to office in April 1965. Under him were Rev. Fr. Albert W. Y Mensah, Rev. Fr. A. G. Opoku and Rev. Fr. T. S. A. Annobil. This was the period of preparation for the creation of the Diocese and elevation of the Parish to Cathedral status. The foundation of the new church building befitting the elevation for which the sod was in 1937 by the visiting s. p. g. secretary Canon Stacy Waddy but could be built was revisited.
This time round under the patronage of Otumfuo Nana Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, K. B. E. Ashantehene supported by Mr. B. M. Kuffour (later Nana Kuffor, Nkawiehene)the sod was cut for the commencement of the construction in 1968. The period following was given to negotiations for the creation of the Diocese of Kumasi. On 10th June 1973 the Parish Church was raised to the status of the Cathedral Church Of St. Cyprian’s, the Martyr, after it has been so proclaimed “for ministration of the Services and Mysteries of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and hallowed in the Name of the Father ,and Son and the Holy Spirit”
Venerable John Benjamin Arthur who consecrated Assistant Bishop Accra in 1966 became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Kumasi in 1973 with the Cathedral Church of St. Cyprian, the Martyr as his see. Thus after 60years of existence St. Cyprian’s attained fully a new stature as the hub of Diocesan Administration in Ashanti.