The death of the 54-year-old president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea has prompted nationwide mourning.
Geoffrey Pomaleu’s body was flown around Papua New Guinea for seven funerals over four days this week, the news site Papua New Guinea Today reported.
“The people of PNG are very sad, and the hope of the resurrection of all the believers when Jesus returns is very real to them,” said Glenn Townend, president of the Adventist Church’s South Pacific Division, which includes Papua New Guinea, according to Papua New Guinea Today.
Locals commonly refer to Papua New Guinea by its acronym, PNG.
Townend spoke at funeral services in the capital, Port Moresby, and Lae, the country’s second-largest city. He also presented the Pomaleu family with a new Adventist flag that was draped over the casket.
Three government ministers and two members of parliament joined leaders from various Christian denominations in paying tribute to Pomaleu at the Port Moresby funeral.
Pomaleu, a longtime church administrator who was elected president of the church’s Papua New Guinea Union Mission in September 2015, died in a hospital in Lae on July 4, a day after collapsing at a camp for pastors’ children.
The cause of death was an internal infection complicated by heart trouble and other health issues, the news site Papua New Guinea Today reported.
Pomaleu had suffered a series of serious health issues in recent months, undergoing a bowel operation earlier this year and being rushed to the hospital in May after experiencing severe chest pains.
His first funeral service was held in Lae on Monday, followed by services in Port Moresby and the country’s third-largest city, Mount Hagen. After services in Madang, Hoskins, and Kavieng, the coffin arrived in Pomaleu’s home village on Manus Island for final burial on Thursday.