The Diocese of Recife reports that Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife were murdered in their home in Olinda in Northeastern Brazil last night. The bishop's adopted son is alleged to have knifed his parents following a quarrel.
On 26 February 2012, at approximately 10:00 pm the bishop returned to his home in Olinda after having visited a parish earlier in the day. The bishop’s son is alleged to have pulled a knife on his father and stabbed him.
Mirian Cavalcanti, the bishop’s wife, attempted to intercede and was stabbed also. The two died at the scene.
The bishop’s son, Eduardo (29) who had lived in the United States, sources tell Anglican Ink, is believed to have had a history of drug abuse and petty crime. The younger Cavalcanti was facing deportation from the U.S. at the time of the crime.
On 20 May 2011, the 68 year old bishop told the 35 annual convention of the Diocese of Recife that he would retire on his 70th birthday in June 2014.
Deposed in 2005 along with the majority of the clergy of Recife by the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) for contumacy for their refusal to accept the Brazilian Church’s endorsement of gay bishops/blessings, this action has not been recognized by a majority of the wider Anglican Communion. The diocese has been under the temporary provincial oversight of the Province of the Southern Cone and has close ties to the Anglican Church of North America.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has long attempted to mediate the dispute between Recife and IEAB. Dr. Williams told a press conference at the close of the 2009 Primates Meeting he had sent emissaries to the two sides and hoped “this would lead to an eventual reconciliation.”
However, Bishop Cavalcanti last year told The Church of England Newspaper this was an unrealistic hope. Forcing the two into one institutional body would compel “people of two different religions to live formally together,” he said.
Since it broke from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) in 2005, the diocese has seen significant growth and “has more than doubled its number of congregations, clergy and members,” a diocesan spokesman noted. As of the start of 2011, the diocese stated it had 5,102 members in 47 congregations with 61 ordained clergy, and a “presence in 9 Brazilian states” – and is roughly half the size of the IEAB.
In a statement reporting the bishop’s death, the diocesan council stated that they gave “thanks to God for the dedicated ministry of its father in God, our pastor, teacher and friend, a true prophet and present day martyr, who fought for the cause of the Gospel of Christ, for the Church and for the Anglican Communion, and who always depended on his wife, a faithful co-servant who supported him throughout his years in ministry. They exit unto Eternity, leaving a legacy of service, love and doctrinal faithfulness, to which the Diocese will continue to adhere. “
The bishop’s death was a tragedy, the Rev. Gustavo Branco told Anglican Ink. The Cavalcantis “had always been known by their gift of hospitality. The Diocese is mourning but we must go on. It was his will. It is God´s will,” he said.