Spiritual leader of Haiti's voodoo religion dies age 79

'National Ati,' or spiritual leader of Haiti’s voodoo faith, dies in country’s capital of Port-au-Prince

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Haitians dance with clothes stained by the blood of a sacrificed bull in Voodoo ritual

The supreme chief of the vodoo religion, Max Gesner Beauvoir, died at the age of 79 in the Haitian capital, his relatives have announced.

He was a biochemist by training and held the highest title of ‘’National Ati’’ or or spiritual guide for voodoo practitioners. The title was created to protect Haiti’s historic religion from attacks from some Protestant churches and Evangelical preachers.

Pat Robertson, a US televangelist, started a debate in 2010 by claiming that the eartquake which occurred in Haiti that year which killed more than 200,000 people had a demonic origin and was caused by "a pact with the devil" Haitians swore in 1804 when they rose against their French rulers to obtain sovereignty.

Beauvoir worked to explain voodoo to foreigners and destroy negative stereotypes of the religion. He even opened the religion’s temple to the public.

Many voodoo practioners were lynched by people in 2010. They were charged with creating a powder that spread cholera.

Voodoo was banned during the period of French rule of the island.

Although the religion has always been attacked by many churches, some ceremonies include rituals similar to Christian rites.

TRTWorld and agencies