With the blessings of His Beatitude Theodore II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, during the festive twelve- day period of Christmas, His Eminence Metropolitan Makarios went to the consecration of two new churches in two different regions.
The first church was dedicated to the Resurrection of our Savior and to the Apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, on December 28, 2016 in the remotest corner of Kenya, near the border with Somalia, at the end of the Indian Ocean, in a small but dynamic parish community in Beketoni village next to Lamu island. This region, plagued by the recent events with the jihadists and the Islamic fundamentalists, was hardly accessible. For this reason both the trip there and the consecration service were postponed frequently and for a long time. But this time, even though the whole area was surrounded by strict security forces, the preparations required were made, and ultimately the visit was realized under tight security.
It took us two days to get from the Orthodox Patriarchal School “Archbishop Makarios III” to our final destination, with an intermediate overnight stop in Malindi. Everyone feels too small and weak when the human factor comes first, defying the major protection and stewardship of God Himself, who, along with His Friends the Saints, directs our life and our actions, particularly in such very special cases. Right here come naturally to mind the living words of the Apostle Paul that suit our own case, ” nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Thus, all the things that seem strange and frivolous to us, the people of little faith, meet in a wonderful manner with the holiness and blessedness of our Saints, making it possible for us to understand how important such things are, like the act of the church consecration in that remote part of the world, since with the placement of holy relics, the whole of the visible and invisible nature of God, our creator, is sanctified and transformed. In any case, nothing could stand in the way or stop us. No pagan forces from this densely populated -mostly by Muslims- area was able to impede the divine will and hinder God’s own plan. Now the whole village can proclaim till the end of time the words of the Apostle Paul again,” while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10)
The second church is located outside the renowned Nakuru town with the famous lake, which hosts thousands of flamingos and varied wildlife in the jungle adjacent to it. In this area there are already consecrated churches, like those of the Resurrection, of Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene, of Agios Nektarios and others. Soon two more churches will be consecrated: the church of Saint George and that of Saint Paraskevi.
The consecrated church of Hagia Sophia will serve the needs of the Orthodox local residents, who used a makeshift church until recently. His Eminence, who has been visiting this village for several years now, thought of the importance it would acquire, especially through the creation of new educational establishments and several industrial enterprises, and decided to lay its foundation stone. Little by little, the construction commenced with the zeal and enthusiasm of both priests and parishioners. After superhuman efforts it was only recently completed.
This Orthodox sacred church is very impressive indeed and, as it is just off the road, it draws the admiration of passersby, who stop to have a closer look at it. And then, on entering it, they get even more impressed by the beautiful Byzantine icons that decorate the iconostasis and the surrounding walls.
These two new sacred churches have been acquired by Kenya in order to proclaim joyfully the timeless message of the Lord’s Resurrection. Thanks to them, more and more souls will find spiritual rest and will ultimately be led to their salvation. May the name of the Lord be blessed and glorified, since once more He called us into His loving embrace, accepted us there and gave us a message of optimism and hope. Amen!
† Makarios of Kenya