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Message during the Service of Great Vespers at Igonyi, Western Kenya. July 29th 2017

My beloved Brother and co-celebrant in Christ,
Bishop Athanasius, 
Beloved Priests and Deacons, 
Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Your Grace, it is my joy to be among you and your congregation this evening, in this beautiful region of western Kenya. It is a region I love much not just because of the beauty of the land but also because of the humility and love of the people. I am grateful for the opportunity to share a few words with you, the priests and the faithful gathered here.

I very few words, I wish to talk with you about mission and vision. These two go hand in hand. Once you have a Vision, its fuel will be that specific mission which acts as a guide to the ultimate goal or goals defined by your vision. This may be hard to understand but let me explain with some concrete examples. Take for example the person of the priest. All these priests who are gathered here this evening inherited their mission of propagating the true Gospel from their predecessors. Yet, however, their work would and may still be in vain, if they just adopted the mission, without understanding the vision therein.

Apostle Paul is a great example of a man with a mission. Motivated by our Lord’s great commission he sought to bring the gospel to the gentiles of the Roman world. His mission was not easy, and he knew it. However, he had a vision for this mission and that is what kept him going. Despite spending countless nights in cold cells, nursing deep lash wounds and cuts, unending pangs of hunger and many more unimaginable tribulations, his vision never waned. He kept on moving, trusting that “…whoever started the good work in him was faithful to see it completed”.

It is in this same spirit that our fathers before us started their mission to see Orthodoxy planted in Kenya. Whereas many people refer to central Kenya as the cradle of Orthodoxy in Kenya, you will be surprised to know that the fire actually started in this region. The Orthodox Church in Kenya prides itself in having many pioneers hailing from these parts of Western Kenya. This mission that they started and nurtured is what we all carry on with today. They and many others from central Kenya and other parts of East Africa founded a mission to bring Orthodoxy to the people of Kenya and indeed East Africa, their vision was not only that of a local Church but also an affiliation to the Mother Church; the See of St. Apostle Mark. Their desire for authenticity and canonicity motivated their mission.

It is this same mission that you carry on with today. Same mission but with a renewed vision, a vision to see Orthodoxy spread across our nation and beyond. It was mission to ensure that the Orthodox Christians are fully living the Orthodox way of life; the Sacramental life. This is not a simple mission, my dear Bishop and beloved Fathers; it is one full of challenges. But it is always rewarded by the joy of service; knowledge that our service is to Him Who overcame so that we may also overcome through faith in Him.

So, this evening, I wish to congratulate you all for your many sacrifices towards this noble mission. It is quite unfortunate that our financial situation has continued to deteriorate over the years, not only here in your diocese but even in our own Archdiocese. However, I am glad that you have taken to heart the spirit of the Apostles and focused on what you can give over what you can get.

This is the message conveyed by the selfless men who we commemorate today; the 70 Apostles, among them being Silas, Silouan, Andronikos, Epenetos and many more. They carried forward the mission of the Gospel with nothing, focusing only on the promise of Christ. They carried nothing because they knew that they would be supported by those who received their message. Their reward was truly greater than what earthly wealth would have meant to them. Yet, I don’t intend to trivialize the importance and necessity of material sustenance for continuity of mission. The mission of the seventy was made possible supported by the faithful who heard the Gospel from them. It is for this reason that we have continually called upon our faithful to do all they can in their power to support the mission of our clergy.

Finally I wish to exhort you, reverend fathers and all the devout Christians of this huge Diocese, to always support your Bishop in his endavours to serve the Church. Give him all the support he needs and you will witness God turning things around for the better. Remember the humble words of St. Ignatius that when you are submissive to the Bishop as to Jesus Christ, it is evident that you are not living as ordinary men but according to Jesus Christ. Therefore you should do nothing without the Bishop; and hopefully, this already is your practice.

May God bless you and may He bless our Church. Amen

Archbishop Makarios.
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About aoc-kenya

The African Orthodox Church of Kenya, though not Autonomous, is by far the largest in Africa, having three local jurisdictions.

These three jurisdictions came through the unanimous decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, to divide the ever growing Archdiocese into three jurisdictions. 

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