The Shrine of the Black Madonna in Atlanta was founded as the ninth congregation of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church in 1975. The denomination was originally founded in the 1950s by the Holy Patriarch, the Honorable Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman (born Albert B. Cleage Jr., the father of writer Pearl Cleage) in response to the theological, spiritual, and psychological needs of the African American people of Detroit, Michigan.
The church’s central theological belief is that God supports the freedom of African Americans from all forms of oppression. Jesus is called the “Black Messiah.” Based on historical evidence, the Hebrew nation Israel of the Bible is understood to be a black nation. Jesus is viewed as a Revolutionary, who upon the discovery of his inner divinity at his baptism at the River Jordan, began to create a movement that, undergirded by GodPower, would free Israel from Roman oppression.
As disciples of Jesus, the Black Messiah, we at the PAOCC, seek to free ourselves from the systemic oppression that we suffer here in the West as well as the Diaspora, by programmatic acts of self-determination and empowerment, and a return to the Power of our indigenous African Spiritual Systems.