Moria: The Largest Christian Gathering In SA Over Easter

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EXPLAINER

The N1 north highway to Limpopo is a nightmare over the Easter weekend. This is because Zion City Moria in the province hosts the largest Christian gathering in the country during Easter (and again for the September festival). Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims congregate in at the foothills of the Moria Mountain during Easter weekend for worship. The Daily Vox explains.

What’s in Moria?

Zion City Moria in Limpopo is the home of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), also known as Boyne. The ZCC is the largest African-initiated church operating across Southern Africa.

What is the ZCC?

The ZCC is a church indigenous to Africa: one of the only churches not established by missionaries from abroad. It was formed in 1910 by Engenas Lekganyane after he is said to have received revelation from God on the top of Mount Thabakgone.

The characteristics of the ZCC

African values and traditions fuse with the Chritian faith in the ZCC. Prophecy, the power of healing and spiritual counseling are all beliefs that the ZCC holds. The apartheid government rejected the church and it’s beliefs, and called it a sect, which has meant that the ZCC reject most of the writing about it as inaccurate. The church preaches a message of peace, respect and love of God. Worshippers often greet each other with “kgotsong” or “kgotso a e be le lena/kgotso e be le lena” which means “peace be unto you.”

The church colours are green and yellow, but church uniforms differ according to the state and gender of ZCC members and the occasions they congregate for. Men often wear khakis and green suits while young women wear blue for services and khaki for choir practices. Older women wear the green and yellow regalia for church services.

How many people belong to the ZCC?

The ZCC draws a staggering crowd for the annual Easter pilgrimage. Rough calculations estimate that between three and five million pilgrims visit Moria for the Easter pilgrimage. It’s difficult to tell the size of the entire congregation because there are ZCC congregations Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi, the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and other countries. However, South Africa has the largest number of members.

You may have identified a member of the ZCC by the badge or lapel pins, consisting of a piece of green fabric and a badge indicating their church branch, they adorn their everyday clothing with.

What do pilgrims do in Moria?

They do what many Christians do over Easter, they worship. Worshippers pray, sing and dance and rejoice in the Lord. Worshippers flock to Moria seeking spiritual nirvana. Some have said they leave Moria feeling blessed, refreshed, and even rebirthed. Many travel to Moria to meet with Papa Lekganyane, or Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane, the leader of the ZCC.

Who is Papa Lekganyane?

Papa Lekganyane is considered holy, and a special emissary from God by ZCC worshippers, and very few have ever laid eyes on him. Another mysterious thing about Lekganyane is that despite his extreme wealth, he prefers to live a humble and frugal life in Moria. This is in contrast to other Christian church leaders who embrace the gaudy trappings of wealth and success.

There you have it. If you’re traveling to Moria this Easter weekend, travel safely.

Have you ever been on pilgrimage to Moria? What’s it like? Tweet us @thedailyvox

Featured image by Ivan Muller

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