Holy Easter at West Kenya

This year, the good God made us once again worthy to celebrate Easter in the diocese of Kisumu as well as in the Western Kenya Mission. Not in the majestic way it is celebrated in many places, with the full of reverence and grace church services and the melodious multi-phonic chanting, the visit to various churches to marvel at the beautiful fragrant flowers used to decorate the Crucifix and the Epitaph, the smell of beeswax, the crucifix wreaths, the Cypriot Easter bread (flaounes), the traditional Greek Easter soup(magiritsa) after the glorious resurrection service, the beautiful customs and so much more. Here, we had a simple epitaph decorated with imported roses that we found on the market but also with flowers that grow in these places, we had the myrrh to anoint the body of Christ like the myrrh-bearing women, we dyed our eggs, and with a small or larger congregation, we performed the sacred services to our resurrected Lord in a simple but dignified way. We celebrated it with the melodious voices of the children who sang the most beautiful hymns of the Great and Holy Week and the Resurrection. We gave out the red eggs to the faithful attendees along with the holy bread and we had an Easter meal after the morning service as the believers had to travel a long way to go back to their homes, and at night there is no means of transport, which can be dangerous.

The articles published in the Mission magazines on missionary work, depict an aspect of poverty, the numerous difficulties and the various problems that our African brothers and sisters have to face in these tough areas. The feeling of the people, especially of the Greeks, to help Mission from the little they have, or some from their surplus, is very strong indeed. These known and unknown people are the lighted candles brightly burning these holy days in such places as Kenya. In the difficult times we are going through with the trials, adversities, hardships, diseases, the current global financial and political situation, the sensitive people have their awareness raised to these needs by seeing an article, a photograph of a child desperately trying to find some water to drink, some food to put in their stomach. These people prove in action that beyond a church building, a water-well, a school, a clinic, lies brotherly love and sympathy for the poor fellow man who lives in pain and misery in their daily struggle for survival.

It is not just teaching them about God, about our Orthodox faith, or how to read and write. All of these are important and necessary, and perhaps we should give priority to many of them. A matter of major importance though is the survival of every human being and the necessity to find themselves and their destination in this world, and as His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore II mentioned in this year’s Easter circular, these people also have their own dreams in the poor African continent and their own struggle for things that are taken for granted in the western world.

We pray for all the kind-hearted people who help the needy fellow human beings from the ends of the earth. May God bless them all, and every time they put their hands in their pockets for charity, may this become a lighted candle in the sky that burns for the salvation of their souls.

† Markos of Kisumu

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