(Updated continuously with reactions from world and church leaders.)
Nelson Mandela has died. May he rest in peace. CNN reports:
Nelson Mandela, the revered statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid, has died, South African President Jacob Zuma announced late Thursday.
Mandela was 95.
“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” Zuma said. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human,” the president said in his late-night address. “We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”
William Finnegan writes in the New Yorker that Mandela “was the last of the twentieth century’s national liberators. He became a global symbol of righteousness and reconciliation. He led his beloved, tormented country from the howling darkness of apartheid to the promised land of democracy with shrewdness, courage, and visionary determination. It was a long and difficult trip, both for Nelson Mandela, who died today, and for South Africa.” Read Finnegan’s tribute here.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement:
The people of The Episcopal Church join the world in mourning the death of Nelson Mandela, prophet and witness to justice. His leadership spanned decades, before and during imprisonment on Robben Island, and continuing into the establishment of a nation that aspires to serve the freedom and dignity of all human beings. He helped the world to see a shining vision of the incarnate Reign of God. We pray that it was not simply a brief glimpse, but that his labor may be joined to that of others, grounding and growing a world of peace with justice for all. May God welcome this shepherd home in peace.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has released a prayer, which includes:
Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you.
Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people.
We will continue where you have left off, the Lord being our helper.
We now turn to you, Lord, in this hour of darkness, sadness, pain and death, in tears and mourning …
Anglican Communion News Service offers a round-up of response from Communion leaders including Archbishop Desmond Tutu.