The Church and the marriage rite in Awka Town, Nigeria: The okuku-onye-uwa controversy

Christopher Chetuya Adunchezor, Fordham University


This is a humanistic study of the socio-cultural and religious conflict between the Roman Catholic Church in Awka, Nigeria, and the Awka people regarding the okuku-onye-uwa rite in their marriage ceremony. The ceremony has an underlying belief in reincarnation. The Awka people believe in reincarnation and ritualize it in their marriage rite celebration. The Roman Catholic Church rejects reincarnation and condemns the use of the rite in the marriage ceremony involving Catholic members. The Awka people did not adhere to the Church's instructions and crisis ensued. This study contends that the Roman Catholic Church in Awka needs to develop a deeper pastoral and theological evaluation of okuku-onye-uwa and a program for educating its people on the fundamentals of the Christian beliefs and practices. The study is interdisciplinary and qualitative. The study utilizes a historical methodology in exploring the historical, socio-cultural, and religious contexts. The theoretical/philosophical/theological methodologies are employed as the primary methodology in examining concepts and arguments. An educational methodology is utilized for structuring the educational response in the study. The research thesis postulates that religious education as an academic discipline is vital in resolving this socio-cultural and religious controversy between the Roman Catholic Church and the Awka people.

Subject Area

Religion|Religion|Philosophy|African history

Recommended Citation

Adunchezor, Christopher Chetuya, "The Church and the marriage rite in Awka Town, Nigeria: The okuku-onye-uwa controversy" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3356895.