A South African priest died in 2021, but his body was buried after nearly 600 days while his family and parishioners await his return to life.
Siva Moodley, founder of The Miracle Center in Gauteng, north of Johannesburg, died on 15 August 2021 after falling ill. But his family, instead of preparing for his funeral, left his body in the morgue, awaiting his resurrection.
For the first few months his wife and other family members went to the morgue to pray for his “return”, but as time went on they stopped going. On the other hand, they also refused to give their consent for his burial or cremation.
Morgue clerks…in despair
As the months passed, morgue officials began contacting the family in an effort to obtain their consent for burial or cremation, saying in many cases that failure to dispose of the body in time posed serious health risks.
However, they failed to obtain their consent and soon the pastor’s family stopped returning morgue calls altogether. So the only option available to the mortuary was legal recourse against the family.
“It’s a civil legal matter. I can’t make a decision to bury or cremate him myself,” said the owner of the corpses. “The decision has to come from his family, but they don’t say anything. He was a well known man in the community who did not deserve this kind of treatment. I hope the court will give him some relief.”
Court documents showed that Saif Modly’s widow, Jessie, and his family did not approve of the priest’s funeral, claiming they had a vision of the religious leader coming back to life. After all the evidence was considered by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, it finally approved the mandatory burial or cremation of the priest.
The court order was then delayed for a month to be delivered to the Modly family. The funeral home has made it clear that they do not want to infringe on anyone’s religious freedom, but health regulations must be adhered to at the same time.
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