( dpa )- A judge in the Zimbabwean capital Harare Saturday ordered two factions of the bitterly-divided Anglican Church to worship at different times, an official said.
High Court Judge Rita Makarau said supporters of axed bishop Nolbert Kunonga could hold their services in churches between 7 and 10 Sunday morning.
Those loyal to newly-appointed bishop Sebastian Bakare could use the churches after 11 am, a spokesman for Bakare said.
Riot police last week disrupted services in several Anglican churches in the capital, apparently in defence of Kunonga who is refusing to stop using Anglican Church property despite being stripped of his clergyman's licence .
At least three pro- Bakare priests and more than a dozen parishioners were reported arrested.
Kunonga is an ardent supporter of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe , who has granted him a farm under his controversial programme of white land seizures.
In September, the ousted bishop pulled the Harare diocese of the Anglican Church out of the regional mother body - the Province of Central Africa - claiming it wasn't tough enough on homosexuals. Many in the church suspected he had other motives, to do with his support for 83-year-old Mugabe .
Christopher Tapera , the spokesman for the Bakare faction, said he was happy with the ruling.
"What makes us happy is that tomorrow were going to church without fear, without interruption from the police or the former bishop's thugs," Tapera told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa .
"We're inviting all Anglicans tomorrow to go to church to worship God freely, without intimidation and fear," he said.
He said police had agreed to uphold the court order and not to take sides. Saturday's ruling is an interim one. Another High Court judge still has to rule on who owns the church property.