Archbishop Marcel Honorat Léon Agboton (16 January 1941 in Avrankou – 14 September 2023) was a revered figure in the Roman Catholic Church, serving as the Archbishop Emeritus of Cotonou, Benin. His life’s work reflected a deep commitment to his faith and to his community.
Early Life and Ordination
Born on January 16, 1941, in Avrankou, Benin, Marcel Honorat Léon Agboton displayed an affinity for religious life from an early age. He was ordained a priest on January 6, 1966, just shortly before his 25th birthday. The young priest then embarked on a religious career that would span decades, with nearly thirty years of service concentrated in the city of Porto-Novo.
First Bishop of Kandi
On December 19, 1994, Agboton was appointed the first Bishop of Kandi, a significant role that marked a new chapter in his ecclesiastical career. He was consecrated bishop of the diocese on March 25, 1995. His leadership in Kandi was instrumental in establishing the diocese’s spiritual and administrative foundations.
Bishop of Porto-Novo
Agboton’s dedication and service were recognized again when he was appointed Bishop of Porto-Novo on January 29, 2000. He officially took over the role on June 18 of the same year. Returning to a place where he had served for nearly three decades as a priest, his appointment was seen as a homecoming of sorts.
Archbishop of Cotonou
On March 5, 2005, Agboton was appointed Archbishop of Cotonou, succeeding Nestor Assogba. He was installed on April 2, 2005, taking on the responsibilities of one of the most significant religious positions in the country.
In May 2008, Agboton received a telegram from Pope Benedict XVI concerning the death of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin. The Pope’s message described Gantin as “an eminent son of Benin and Africa who won great respect within the universal Church.” Pope Benedict XVI continued, “I ask God the Father, from Whom all mercy comes, to welcome into His light and peace this eminent son of Benin and of Africa who, universally esteemed, was animated by a profound apostolic spirit and by an exalted sense of the Church and her mission in the world.”
Resignation and Succession
After years of dedicated service, Archbishop Agboton’s resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI on August 21, 2010. His successor was Bishop Antoine Ganyé of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dassa-Zoume, who took over as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cotonou.
Legacy and Final Years
Agboton left a lasting impact through his years of religious service, leadership, and spiritual guidance. His work reached across multiple communities and generations, significantly affecting the Roman Catholic Church in Benin and beyond. He passed away on September 14, 2023, but his memory and contributions continue to be celebrated.
For those who wish to know more about the significance of his work and the age at which he passed, you can find more information here.