A Voodoo devotee in a trance performs at the annual Voodoo Festival on January 10, 2017 in Ouidah. AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
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In the Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname, the 25-year-old founder calls herself God, her business partner is a self-styled Pope and devotees pledge to end the reign of the devil. Its charismatic theology and clashes with other religions have caused it to be expelled from Benin's community of churches, and repeated scandals keep the sect in the public eye.The round-faced young woman founded the church in 2009 .It wasn't the first time the church followers had turned violent.Tchranvoukinni started the church after meeting a Catholic priest, Mathias Vigan, from the parish of Sainte-Odile-de-Baname in 2009 .It was the young woman who captivated the heart of the man of the cloth, whom she would later install as "Pope Christopher XVIII".The religious odd couple built up their own congregation and to the chagrin of the Catholic church, Vigan started wearing all-white outfits similar to papal regalia – ornate miter and all. In January 2014, the Benin government launched an investigation into the church after receiving what it said were "numerous complaints" from religious communities, political and traditional leaders.
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