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THE PLANTING OF CHRISTIANITY IN NIGERIA BY THE CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM MOVEMENT; Orimolade's struggle

By the end of this unit, you should be able to:
• narrate the call of Moses Orimolade • identify the contributions of Orimolade to the growth of Christianity in Nigeria.
• enumerate the mission journeys made by Orimolade. 
• discuss the persecution of Orimolade.
 

3.1 The Birth and Childhood of Moses Orimolade

Moses Orimolade Okejebu Tounlase was a son to Pa Tounlase who hailed from the royal family in Ikare in the present Ondo State, Nigeria. 
He was born in 1879.
However, before he was born, the mother suffered a prolonged labour to the extent that a native doctor was consulted by his parents on what they should do that would make his birth. They were told by the Ifa Oracle that the would -be child would be a great man. They instructed that the mother put on the chieftaincy beads of the family on her neck, and the baby would come out easily. This was done and Orimolade was born, he stood up and began to walk. This made the midwife to force him to sit down twice. However, Orimolade stood up the third time and he 
egan to walk. At that moment, the midwife left him and sent for his father to come and see his miracle child. When his father saw him, he ran into his room and brought out some objects and made incantation to 
invoke powerful spirits to come to his aid since he was a medicine man in the town. He tied some objects on the legs of the baby in order to stop him from walking. The onlookers viewed the actions of Tounlase as trying to disturb the child. However, some neighbours went to remove all objects which his father tied on him. The child was then left undisturbed again by the parents. Many people within and outside the town who heard about this event began to pay visits to Ikare to see the miracle child. The king, named Ajiboye, also paid a visit to the child greeted him in the traditional way of the Ikare people. For this strange behaviour of the baby, the King marvelled and went back to his palace. 
Among the people who visited the boy were old women who paid him obeisance. In addition to this, some of them used the opportunity to make requests, such as fruitfulness of the womb for the barren women in the town, prosperity, peace and good harvests, while some brought him 
gifts. However, as these events were taking place in the presence of both 
parents, the father was mystified. He became embarrassed by the constant visit of the people to see the child. At a point, he wanted to leave the town but he was dissuaded from leaving. People begged him to bear with the baby and stay in the town. He took their advice and stayed. 
On the eighth day of the baby, his parents named him Orimolade, Tounlase Okejebu. When the father could no longer bear with the strange things that kept on happening through Orimolade, he summoned his family for a meeting to take his last decision concerning the child. 
The family agreed with him to allow the mother to take the child to her own parent’s house and take care of him there. 
At the age of eight, Orimolade went into Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church, Ikare, in the night. Inside the Church there was a heavenly light shining within the Church and Heavenly invisible Beings singing 
melodious songs. The Pastor of the Church who lived in the vicarage heard the song, he woke up and walked towards the Church. He saw the door of the Church that was shut opened. The Pastor took courage and entered the Church, there he saw the lame Orimolade sitting in one 
corner in the Church. The Vicar asked him who he was and the voices that were singing in the Church. Orimolade answered him that ‘they’ were the ones. The Vicar further where the other voices were and Orimolade replied, “Here we are.” According to Olu Famodimu, while 
oth were still dialoguing the voices started singing the same song thus; 
On the Mount above Jordan I am called, I am called
By my favourites that had gone, that had gone
I like to enter eternity with them
Where there will be no more parting forever.
Come home, Come to the home of Love
The book of Jesus said to me 
That Angels carried me Home I’ll rejoice
Jesus carries me home.
After the above song was over, the Vicar, having recognized the boy as the son of Tounlase, decided to let things be. 
 

3.2 The Beginning of Orimolade’s Ministry

In other for you to understand this unit, we intend to explain what probably made Orimolade lame in his boyhood. It is assumed that the charm used by his father to force him sit down when the midwife invited him to come and see the boy standing up on the very day that he was 
orn caused this. The Vicar said that he was surprised to see Orimolade who was lame inside the Church alone without seeing anyone with him, and added to this was the mystery of unseen voices singing with him inside the Church. Concerning the time when he started his ministry we 
were not informed by scholars. However, we were told that Orimolade began his ministry at his home town Ikare /Akoko in the present Ondo State. One-day, people just saw Orimolade walking on the street 
singing. Christians in the town were pleased when they saw him and they rejoiced with him for this miracle. Orimolade began to preach the Gospel to people who came out to see him as he walked on the street in the town. He also prayed for those who were ill. 
Immediately he prayed for them, they received their healing. Many people who were healed began to spread the activities of Orimolade outside Ikare town. 
 Orimolade enjoined his hearers to confess their sins and turned away from them.
He taught about the existence of heaven and hell. He taught them that the righteous people would go to heaven after death, while the wicked people would go to hell. Those who believed were loosed from bondages. In addition to this, women who were barren gave birth to children as a result of his prayers. He converted many people including his mother Abigail, one of his sisters Mary, and two of his brothers, 
namely, Peter and Samuel ( Famodimu 1990). Many people from other towns and villages visited Orimolade to listen to his preachings. 
Besides, many people also confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The population of Christians increased within and outside Ikare town. However, as the Christians were glad with the activities of 
Orimolade, the unrepented herbalists were sad and they began to persecute him. Orimolade also encouraged Christians to shun the worship of the ancestors in Ikare town. Male Christians who wanted to 
get married to females who were unbelievers were told by the parents 
of these women to forget the idea, unless they renounce the new religion.The preaching of Orimolade encouraged many Christians to buy the Holy Bible, for they wanted to be reading the Word of God for
spiritual growth. The lessons learnt from the Bible helped them to grow spiritually. b The adherents of the traditional religion appealed to Orimolade to stop converting people into Christianity for it affected 
their livelihood. This is because people stopped consulting them over their problems after giving their lives to God. Orimolade was warned to stop converting people into Christianity or risk his life and the lives of his followers. He informed the Christians about this but encouraged 
them not to fear the traditionalists and that the Lord Jesus Christ would glorify Himself. The traditionalists tried to carry out their evil plan against the Christians while Orimolade was preaching at Okorun street Ikare-Akoko. They went to confront the Christians at the preaching ground. The traditional priests used charms and cutlasses to harass the Christians. But Orimolade called upon the Lord Jesus Christ, to fight for them. He then stretched his staff towards the evil people and they 
egan to fight themselves, while the Christians stood watching as they fight themselves. Many of them were wounded with their weapons and charms which they were suppose to use on the Christians. Some of them however, having seen the power of God as superior to their gods, 
joined the Church. The remainingtraditionalists went to tell the king of Ikare that Christians were killing people in the town. The king sent for 
police men to arrest them. They were arrested and they were taken to Kabba prison in Kogi State. But Orimolade was excluded. However, as he got to know about the incident, left Ikare for Kaba town. When he got there, Orimolade began to spread the Good News at Kabba town. 
Orimolade also told the people to release the Ikare Christians who were locked up in their prison. However, as the District Officer learnt about what Orimolade preached, he ordered the release of Christians that were brought from Ikare. After letting out the Christians, the Officer told them to go to their home town. All the released prisoners went to their various homes unhurt. On the arrival of detained Christians in the town people rejoiced and they continued in their journey of faith.

3.4 The Spread of the Movement in the Western Nigeria

Orimolade began his missionary journey in the year 1916. He left Ikare for Irun Akoko in 1916. In the town, he was confronted by witches, wizards and traditional worshipers. He was confronted because the Word of God was against their practices. In his preaching, he appealed 
to whoever belonged to such societies to repent, forsake them and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Orimolade was also said to have destroyed one of the temples of the traditional worshipers in the town, after which he left the place for Ogbagi. There he preached the Good News to the 
people of the town. Many people who listened to his preachings accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Orimolade further spread the Gospel to Akungba, Oka, Ikiran, Merri, Ifon, and Owo. He moved from 
these towns to Benin-City in the present Edo State, Nigeria. He observed that some of the traditional worshippers used human beings for sacrifices to their gods. Orimolade preached the Good News to them and many of them repented and joined the Church. He moved from there to Itshekiri Kingdom to preach. Orimolade left Ishekiri land to Lokoja, in Kogi State, Nigeria. He spread the Gospel from there to Idah. At both towns, he preached the Gospel, and preached many miracles that people saw and they joined the church. Orimolade moved from Lokoja to 
Onitsha to plant a Mission Station. He left the place for Sapele in Delta State to spread the Good News. He further left Sapele for the following towns: Ogori, Akunnu, Ikaramu, Daja, Iga, Uromi, Igasi Omuo, Kabba and Ogidi where he planted Mission Stations. Orimolade was the only 
Missionary who voluntarily spread the Gospel to Ogori land without being invited by the indigenes as they did for the Church Missionary Society. Although they were invited to teach them how to read and 
write and not for the purpose of planting the Gospel nor to aid them fight their enemies as other Yoruba people, such as the Badagry and the Egba people did.

3.5 The spread of the Movement in Northern Nigeria and Lagos 

Orimolade spread the Good News to the following towns: Bida ,Zaria, Kano, Ilorin, and Ofa. Orimolade left the Northern parts of the country back to the Western parts of Nigeria to plant his Mission Stations: 
Ikirun, Osogbo, Ede, Ogbomoso, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Lagos. The movement was established in Kaduna by Mrs. Adebiyi in 1927. In Lagos, Orimolade met a young girl called Abiodun Akinsowon. 
Abiodun joined Orimolade in the spreading of the Gospel when she was seventeen and a half years. In 1925, she went into a trance from 18b to the 25th June Orimolade adopted her as his own daughter. While she was with Orimolade, she contributed to the spread of the Gospel. Many Mission Stations were opened by both of them. Orimolade later stayed put in Lagos Mission Station, while commissioned Abiodun to continue 
spreading the faith to other towns and villages. In Lagos, Orimolade 
preached the Gospel and performed many miracles. Many converts spread the Good News to their own people in various towns and villages. Orimolade further commissioned other members in Lagos, 
made the sign of the cross on their palms and sent them out to spread the Good News, to set the oppressed free from the devil and afflictions and to heal the sick. He warned them not to shake hands with people as they carried out their missions, many people they touched were healed of 
diseases. In Lagos Orimolade healed Albert Ishola Cole of poison. 
Accounting to Famodimu (1990), Orimolade made a sign of the cross on 
the man’s chest three times and he vomited out an object in form of red 
parrot feather. Immediately, Ishola became whole. It was also said that Orimolade raised up Matthew ‘’Eku Ojo’ from the dead. The news of the two events spread in Lagos and people joined Orimolade’s Mission in large numbers. Orimolade then named the Movement as the ‘Seraphim’ .on the 9b September, 1925. On the 26b March, 1926, he then added the name ‘Cherubim’. Since then, the Movement became known as Cherubim and Seraphim. In addition to this, the Movement is later transformed into a Church with many branches all over the country. 

3.6 The Persecution of the Movement

In 1925, the Cherubim and Seraphim adherents were persecuted by other 
Missions in Nigeria. In Lagos, Archdeacon Ogunbiyi of the Breadfruit Anglican Church, kicked against the angels’ names that the movement gave to their mission. In addition to this, he was also against people calling Orimolade the name ‘Alufaa’ meaning, ‘Reverend’ since he was 
not ordained by any Mission. Also a newspaper, Nigeria pioneer wrote critical articles against the practices of the Movement in July, 1927 Further more, some people also accused the adherents of preaching against the use of traditional drugs. The preaching of the Movement 
against traditional gods, customs, witches, herbalists and wizards made members of such societies hate the adherents. Besides the above mentioned reasons, people persecuted members of the Mission because of one of their songs which went thus:
‘’ Sword of the Lord, sword of Holy Michael would destroyed the wicked people of the land unless theyrepent and accept the Good News they brought to them; Egungun worshipers were labouring in vain. 
Holy Michael would destroy them. 
The adherents of the Church Missionary Society [Anglican] and the traditional worshippers wrote a letter to the Governor at Lokoja to help them stop Seraphim and Cherubim Faith in Nigeria. The Governor 
ordered Orimolade to stop spreading his faith in Nigeria. However, Orimolade quoted the Word of God in his letter to the Governors thus:
 
‘’If this counsel is of men, it will come to nothing, but, if it is of God, ye cannot overthrow it [Acts5, vs. 38-39] 
However, the Governor ordered all District Officers to stop the spread of the Mission in their areas. For example, on the 22b June, 1931, the District Officer at Ogbomoso sent away one of the prophets named Adeyemi from Ogbomoso town. In Oyo town, Mr. Ross sent messages 
to all the Districts Officers under him to send away all evangelists of the Movement in Oyo Kingdom. Other methods that were used to curtail 
the spread of the Mission in the country were the use of Kings, Chiefs and the Nobles to stop giving them land to establish Mission Stations. 
However, it was reported that the King of England during this period was ill and he sent to the Governor in Nigeria to look for people to pray for his recovery. The governor in turn sent to all District Officers in Nigeria to look for people to pray for his recovery the king. The Governor finally sent to Prophet Orimolade to pray for the King of England to recover. Prophet Orimolade prayed for the recovery of the 
King. The Governor sent message to the King that he had been prayed for by the Prophet in question in the country at a particular hour of a certain day. The King discovered that it was the very period that he was prayed for by Orimolade who was in Nigeria that he recovered from his 
illness in England. He sent 400 pounds sterling to Moses Orimolade in Nigeria as token of his appreciation for his effective prayer that he believed had healed him from a far distance. For this reason, the 
Movement was freed from the persecution of the Government. As a result of this the Movement became free to establish Mission Stations in every State in Nigeria. Since then, the Movement has built many 
schools, colleges and a university named ‘Cherubim and Seraphim University of Nigeria,Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria.’ The Institution is located at Omu-Aran town.

3.7 The Successor of Orimolade

 
Famodimu (1990), stated that Orimolade called some elders of the Movement to advise him on who to take the leadership after him. He was advised by the elders to take elder Onanuga. Orimolade then put on him one of his white prayer gowns, blessed him, anointed him and handed the Mission over to him. On the 18b October, 1933, the unseen guests of Orimolade who visited him when he was young inside Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church, Ikare, Akoko, came to him and they sang 
songs of victory. Prophets Agbebi and Peter who were with him heard 
the songs but they could not see the singers. Famodimu further said that 
it was at about 3.am on the day in question that Moses Orimolade joined 
other faithfuls in the Kingdom of God.

SELF ASSIGNMENT EXERCISE 
Discuss the name ‘Cherubim and Seraphim’.

4.0 CONCLUSION

The Cherubim and Seraphim Church began as a Movement with Orimolade, a native of Ikare, in the present Ondo State. He was 
persecuted by Government agents and other people who were opposed to his Movement. He prayed for the King of England and God answered his prayer for the King recovered from his illness. Orimolade planted his 
Mission in the Western, Eastern, Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria. He healed many people, raised the dead and performed many miracles. Orimolade appointed many evangelists and commissioned them to spread the Good News in Nigeria. He handed over the Mission to Onanuga to lead the adherents of the faith. The voices that were heard 
y the Vicar of the Anglican Church, in the Ikare Mission Station before his call by God, also song again on the last day of his life. Indeed his was a fulfilled life.

5.0 SUMMARY

You should have noted in the course of this study the following points as major roles played by the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement in Nigeria. These are:
a The Movement was an indigenous one.
Moses Orimolade began its spread in Nigeria.
c. The Movement was persecuted by the Government of the land, traditional adherents, chiefs, and other Missions in Nigeria.
d. The Orimolade Mission was the only one that volunteered to spread the Good News to Ogori land without the people inviting him to do so unlike the Anglican Mission that were invited by them to the town. The Mission also used Abiodun to spread its faith to Nigerians.
f. The Mission had appointed Evangelists to spread its faith in Nigeria.
g. The Movement has spread to the Northern Nigeria, such as Kaduna, Kano, Bida and Zaria, Hausa and Fulani speaking areas which Lord Lugard prohibited the planting of Christianity without taken permission from the Emirs before preaching the Good News.
As for the Mission in question, it was not said by any body in Nigeria that they took permission from any of the Emirs before planting their faith in the area.

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
1) Discuss the Call of Moses Orimolade.
2) The adoption of Abiodun as Orimolade’s daughter was a blessing or a curse, Discuss.
3) State the factors that led to the rapid spread of the Movement in Nigeria.

7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS

Famodimu, O. 1990. Moses Orimolade Tunolase Supreme Founder Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide, Kaduna: AbiBcom Nigeria Ltd. 
Ogunbiyi, O. O 1996. ‘Religion and Cultural Identity; The Experience of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Nigeria’’in 
the jars Journal of Arabic and religious Studies, The Department of Religions, University of Ilorin, Nigeria, vol.13 December.
Owolabi, J. A. 2005. The Growth of the Anglican Church in Akoko�Kabba District, 1920-1996. The Department of Religions Studies, Ilorin: University of Ilorin, Nigeria, Ph.D. Thesis, Unpublished.

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