Breakaway Brazilian bishop and wife murdered

February 27, 2012

[Ecumenical News International] Conservative Brazilian bishop Robinson Cavalcanti, who broke away from the established Anglican church, and his wife Miriam were killed on 26 February at their home in Olinda in northeastern Brazil, according to his diocese.

The diocese, known as the Anglican Church – Diocese of Recife, said they died at about 10 p.m., local time. Reports on conservative Anglican media said Cavalcanti was returning from a parish visit and that the couple’s adopted son, Eduardo, is a suspect in the stabbing deaths.

According to a 2006 story on Episcopal News Service, after the U.S.-based Episcopal Church in 2003 approved the election of a gay bishop, Gene Robinson, by the diocese of New Hampshire, Cavalcanti asked the House of Bishops in Brazil to express its opposition.

Brazil’s bishops refused and Cavalcanti pulled away from the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, or IEAB). Cavalcanti canceled relationships with U.S. dioceses and participated in irregular actions within the U. S., including confirmations in Ohio in 2004 without the diocesan bishop’s permission, ENS reported.

In 2011, when Brazil legalized gay marriage, Cavalcanti wrote that his country had legalized sin and “immorality.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, attempted to mediate the dispute between Cavalcanti and the established church, but to no avail.

In 2005, Cavalcanti was deposed on the grounds that he broke communion with the IEAB. When Cavalcanti left, he took 32 clergy and their congregations with him, reported ENS. He claimed church properties and refused to relinquish many diocesan documents.

The IEAB Diocese of Recife in 2006 elected Sebastiao Armando Gameleira Soares as bishop.

Response from the primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil

To our brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

Beloved brethren in Christ:

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, the IEAB, on behalf of its Primate Bishop, wishes to express its feeling of consternation and deep condolences for the passing in most tragic circumstances of Edward Robinson de Barros Cavalcanti, who had served as Bishop of the IEAB in the Anglican Diocese of Recife from 1977 to 2005, and of his wife, Miriam Cotias Cavalcanti.

May the Lord receive them in His mercy and console their beloved friends and relatives.

+ Dom Mauricio Andrade

Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Brasilia, and Primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil