23 Mar 2017

Samoa church minister sacked after Rome trip

3:12 pm on 23 March 2017

Samoa's Congregational Christian Church has sacked one of its ministers after a trip to the Vatican.

Our correspondent says the decision to stand down Reverend Opapo Soana'i Oeti was made following a meeting of the Elders committee.

Reverend Opapo is the father of the woman who is believed to have stigmata and is in Rome where these marks are being investigated by the Catholic Church.

Autagavaia Tipi Autagaiva said one reason given for his dismissal was his trip last year to Rome to accompany his daughter.

Reverend Opapo said the church breached his constitutional rights because it sacked him without asking him to appear to give his side of the matter.

The reverend, who serves at Siufaga Falelatai parish, told reporters the decision ended his career in the ministry.

Reverend Opapo, who has two legally registered matai titles, told reporters he would serve his family through the matai titles.

Reverend Opapo Soana'i says he has not been informed officially of the decision to strip his pastoral duties.

Reverend Opapo Soana'i of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa. Photo: Tipi Autagavaia Tipi