Orimolade’s focus shifted towards his missionary campaigns after a significant dream that served as his commission to preach. The symbolic gifts reminiscent of the wise men’s offerings to Jesus became symbols of authority for Orimolade. His campaigns began when he successfully petitioned the police authorities for the release of Christians who were involved in a clash with traditional religion devotees in the town. He traveled to Kabba, where the arrested individuals were held, and secured their freedom.
His opponents in Ikare, wanting to win him over and enhance their prestige, offered him a priestly title from their traditional institutions. Orimolade seized the opportunity to reject the offer and proclaim the Christian message to them. His passionate preaching shook the ground and caused fear among the listeners. Some fled, while his brother, Egunjobi, performed rituals to restore the earth to its previous state. The earthquake-like incident attracted attention from people abroad, and Orimolade’s name became as fearful as that of an invisible spirit.
Following this event, the hostility towards Orimolade from Christians in Ikare significantly diminished. The Cherubim & Seraphim Church (C & S) asserts that Christianity started growing rapidly after the incident. Orimolade continued his gospel preaching, going from street to street. Around 1916, he visited Owo and impressed members of the C.M.S. Church with his ability to quote Scripture.
There is a belief that Orimolade once ventured into trade by engaging in the buying and selling of palm oil and kola nuts. During a journey to a northern village called Oshokoshoko, he encountered an angel who reminded him of his role as a prophet of God and dissuaded him from abandoning preaching for trade. He fell ill, and his companion returned to report to his people. Orimolade mysteriously returned to Ikare before his brother, Egunjobi, reached Oshokoshoko.
According to another tradition, Orimolade secluded himself in a room for ten years, during which he did not allow anyone to prepare his meals. Although he ate throughout this period, the source of his food remained a mystery. He was in constant communion with invisible celestial figures and often heard conversing with them while alone in his room. Occasionally, he would emerge adorned in regal attire, proclaiming himself as the king of the world about to begin his reign.
During this time, he was said to be present in multiple locations simultaneously. Two instances were cited as evidence. In the first, he encountered a woman with whom he had a longstanding grievance. He ordered her to carry him on her back three times to atone for a past sin. Strangely, Orimolade never left his room on the day of the encounter. The woman shared her experience, and soon the whole town was talking about it.
The second instance involved a visit to his loyal friend, Garuba, who claimed that Orimolade was with him in his residence. However, during that time, it was believed that Orimolade was locked in his room.
At the end of the ten-year confinement, Orimolade hosted a grand feast for his neighbors and visitors from nearby villages. Remarkably, despite making no serious preparations for the feast, guests brought dishes of food as gifts, which filled all the pots and satisfied everyone.
Many describe the ten years of confinement as a period of illness for Orimolade. According to some accounts, he was confined for seven years and experienced continuous visions during that time, resulting in his inability to move and subsequent lameness. The United Church of Cherubim and Seraphim also acknowledges this period of illness and emphasizes that God miraculously restored his ability to walk. During his illness, he received teachings from the Holy Spirit on reading and memorizing the Bible.
A different perspective on Orimolade’s life and ministry was presented by the Reverend E. S. Sodeinde of the African Church in a speech delivered at Orimolade’s funeral on October 19, 1933. According to Sodeinde, after Orimolade’s conversion to Christianity, he fell ill with an undisclosed disease and remained bedridden for seven years. His condition became so severe that his people abandoned him, believing he would die. However, in a dream, he was assured that he would recover if he drank water from a nearby stream. Following this advice, he gradually regained his health and the ability to walk, albeit with a limp for the rest of his life. It is said that he used an umbrella stick for support, as noted by Phillips.
Based on these accounts, it can be concluded that Orimolade indeed suffered from an illness that left him paralyzed and immobile for seven years. It is widely believed that he refused the advice of his friends to seek medical treatment during this time. It is also speculated that it was during this period of confinement that Orimolade engaged in deep meditation and made significant decisions regarding his evangelistic calling.
The years spent in confinement can be seen as a period of training and preparation for Orimolade’s future missionary work. At the end of this period, he was fully equipped and ready to embark on the task he had been ordained for. Over the next five years, Orimolade traveled from place to place, much like the apostle Paul in the Bible, passionately preaching the gospel of Christ. Numerous healing miracles were attributed to him during this time. Eventually, he arrived and settled in Lagos, where he later founded the Cherubim & Seraphim Church (C & S).
Orimolade’s evangelistic journeys took him to various locations. His first campaign began in Irun, a village near Ikare known for its witchcraft practices. It was fitting that Orimolade, who would establish a religious society opposed to witchcraft, would commence his mission in this village. He confronted and exposed witchcraft practices and engaged in spiritual battles against evil forces, including tearing down the image of Osijora, a local deity.
Traveling in a hammock-chair due to his paralysis, Orimolade preached in the neighboring villages of Akungba and Oka. He then proceeded to Akoko-Edo, visiting towns such as Ikiran and Ibillo. In Benin, he spoke out against the abhorrent practice of human sacrifice, and his sermon led many traditional worshippers to willingly surrender their symbols, images, and charms for burning.
Orimolade continued his journeys through the Midwest, particularly in the Niger Delta, before heading northward. He preached in Idah, Lokoja, Okene, and other towns, making converts and assisting in the establishment of Christian churches. While he faced challenges in the predominantly Muslim regions of the North, he still made an impact by building a prayer house in Nguru.
On his return to the South, Orimolade stopped in Ilorin, where he spent some time and built a prayer house. He was known in the town by the name Alhaji-n-Yisa and is credited with healing a lame young man and raising a young lady from the dead, even in this Muslim city.
Orimolade’s travels also took him to Ikirun, Osogbo, Ede, and Ogbomoso, where he performed healing miracles and preached. In Ogbomoso, he faced criticism from a young woman and subsequently cursed the city. However, upon learning of the woman’s death, he returned to Ogbomoso, prayed fervently for the removal of the curse, and witnessed the restoration of normalcy, including the return of rain and the safe delivery of newborns. This event led the people of Ogbomoso to recognize Orimolade as a divine messenger.
Orimolade’s journey continued to Ibadan, where he amazed the people with his powerful prayers in the Akoko dialect. He then proceeded to Abeokuta, where, according to the tradition of the C & S, he was invited by the Alake, the paramount ruler, to pray for an end to the Adubi War.
Following the fulfillment of the king’s request, Orimolade settled in Ifako, in the Agege district, living with Chief Jacob Kehinde Coker, the leader of the African Church. A delegation from Ogbomoso later approached him, requesting his return to lift the curse that had caused turmoil in the town. Orimolade agreed when he learned of the young woman’s demise. Upon his return to Ogbomoso, he passionately prayed for the removal of God’s wrath, and his prayer was answered, restoring peace and harmony to the city.
Throughout his evangelistic journeys, Orimolade was renowned for performing numerous miracles. In Kaba town, he killed a mysterious lion that had attacked him. In Ogidi village, he purified a revered pool believed to possess evil power, ensuring the villagers’ harmonious relationship with the spiritual realm.
Orimolade is also credited with establishing C.M.S. Churches in various locations, including Abuja, Egbe, Igan, and Ikasa. He ventured further north, visiting Zaria, Bauchi, and Adamawa provinces, and there is speculation that he also traveled to Sokoto, Kano, and Bomu. Although his success in converting Muslims was limited due to the predominance of Islam in those areas, he built a prayer house in Nguru.
Orimolade’s ministry spanned different regions, denominations, and religious backgrounds. Wherever he went, he directed his converts to existing churches regardless of denomination. In places where no Christian church existed, he played a role in establishing new ones. He intentionally avoided affiliating himself with a specific denomination, recognizing that such a commitment would restrict his ability to reach a broader audience.
Orimolade’s life and ministry were marked by remarkable dedication and spiritual power. His evangelistic campaigns, healing miracles, and tireless preaching resemble the zeal of the apostle Paul and the fervor of contemporary prophet William Wade Harris. His impact was felt across Nigeria, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and guide the followers of the Cherubim & Seraphim Church.
According to the historical records of the Eternal Sacred Order of C & S Mount Zion in Ebute-Metta, Lagos, Moses Orimolade arrived in Lagos on July 12, 1924. He initially stayed with Emmanuel Olumodeji, the sexton of Holy Trinity Church in Ebute-Ero. Orimolade’s connection with the African Church started in 1919 when the Reverend E. D. Sodeinde expressed his desire for Orimolade to become a full-time evangelist. It is believed that Rev. D. J. Oguntolu of the African Church directed Orimolade to the Ebute-Ero Church.
Orimolade began his evangelistic campaign in Lagos, using the church as his base. One notable incident mentioned by Senior Apostle J. O. Coker was Orimolade’s prayers at the United Native African Church Cathedral, which were believed to have averted a rumored tidal wave that would have engulfed Lagos.
During his time in Ebute-Ero, Orimolade lived with Olumodeji in a small building near the church. However, his close association with the African Church may have caused displeasure among the leaders of Holy Trinity Church. Ven. Archdeacon T. A. J. Ogunbiyi, the minister of Holy Trinity Church, reportedly had a personal dislike for Orimolade and his activities. There is a tradition that suggests Orimolade preached a sermon at Holy Trinity Church, during which he read from Genesis to Exodus without opening the Bible and interpreted it verse by verse, leaving the congregation in awe. However, Archdeacon Ogunbiyi dismissed Orimolade as a liar and challenged him to reveal the school where he learned Bible theories and translations.
According to the tradition, Archdeacon Ogunbiyi attempted to harm Orimolade with charms, but instead, the warden of the church became the victim and collapsed. Orimolade’s prayers revived the warden, which led to him being nicknamed “Baba Aladura” (The Praying Father) in Lagos.
J. O. Coker claimed that Orimolade left the Holy Trinity parsonage because he refused to sell the healing water he distributed. Archdeacon Ogunbiyi believed that the blessed healing water should be a source of income for the church. There were also concerns about Orimolade’s growing popularity, despite his lack of formal education.
Following his departure from Holy Trinity, Orimolade returned to the Ifako farm of Chief J. K. Coker before eventually settling in Lagos Island. He continued his open-air preaching, emphasizing the importance of faith in Jesus Christ, reliance on the Holy Spirit’s power, the effectiveness of prayers for healing, and the use of Psalms. Orimolade’s ability to quote passages from the Bible was impressive.
During this time, numerous miraculous incidents were attributed to Orimolade. A masquerader who attempted to harm him with juju collapsed and died as Orimolade recited Psalm 91. He also prayed for a baby boy who had swallowed a needle, and the child vomited it out. Orimolade gained a group of followers who attended his campaign meetings and sought his prayers and spiritual guidance.
Notable among his admirers were Sarah Phillips, the mother of H. A. Phillips, Sabinah Roberts (later known as Mother Cherub of E.S.O. C & S and Mount Zion), Isaac Adebulewo, and H. A. Phillips himself. Orimolade’s fame in Lagos grew, and his encounters and activities during this period ultimately led to the founding of the C & S Movement in June 1925.
On October 20, Moses Orimolade was laid to rest, and during the burial ceremony, it was reported that flocks of white birds continuously hovered over the grave until the ceremony concluded .
A memorial stone was erected at the site of his tomb, and since 1934, annual memorial services have been held there by both the 10, Hotonu Street section and the Mt. Zion, Ebute-Metta section of the C & S. Every year on October 18, a vigil is observed, followed by a memorial service on the next day.
Despite the rebellion of some of his close followers in his final days, Orimolade remained a composed and wise leader of the society. He made efforts to reconcile the dissident groups and reunite them into one strong and dynamic society, but his reluctant associates hindered his attempts for peace.
All sections of the C & S regard Orimolade as a saint, and prayers are offered to the “God of Moses Orimolade” similar to how the Hebrews pray to the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The Advisory Board justifies this canonization, stating:
“He was the first person to introduce faith-healing into Christianity in this land. He also introduced other spiritual phenomena such as clairvoyance and clairaudience . Since his passing, people visit his grave for worship. Even Muslims come to offer prayers, and supplicants go there to make their petitions. He entrusted the society into the hands of God, affirming that if it was man-made, it would fail, but if it was established by God Himself, it would grow stronger and stronger. The society has received visitors from various places, including European countries, demonstrating its universal nature. Orimolade was even found preaching in foreign countries .”
Orimolade is universally recognized as the sole and unquestionable founder of the C & S. The stories and myths surrounding his person are accepted by all members as literal truths. To them, these accounts serve as visible evidence of his divine authority.