Moscow, May 19, 2017
Eleven “new Orthodox warriors” were baptized into the holy Orthodox Church at the St. Barnabas Orphanage and School on Sunday, May 14, reports the charity foundation Orthodox Africa. Of the eleven, two are teachers at the school, and nine are students.
The St. Barnabas Orphanage and School was founded in 2007 by Fr. Methodios JM Kariuki and his wife Papadhia Everlyn Mwangi, and has helped over 400 children. Today, the mission includes thirteen volunteers providing care for 175 children, 34 of which to date have been baptized into the Orthodox Church.
The joyous occasion of the Baptisms came during the visit of Fr. Silouan (Brown), the founder and director of Orthodox Africa, which currently supports five missions in Kenya, and one parish in Uganda, with the goal of helping them achieve long-term sustainability.
Fr. Silouan arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday May 11 for his second missionary trip to visit the missions being helped by Orthodox Africa. He was interviewed by OrthoChristian.com before and after his first missionary trip last summer. He was met by Fr. Methodios of St. Barnabas’ and Fr. Constantinos of the St. Irene Orthodox Mission Center. Fr. Silouan immediately went to visit the children at St. Barnabas’, where catechism classes were to be held the next day, and at St. Irene’s, where he helped serve meals to the children.
However, the reality of life in Kenya remains severe. “While it was a day full of joy,” Fr. Silouan writes, “it was difficult to see the sadness in the eyes of a couple of the boys. They have been crushed by life here in Kenya. It is hard to see a child suffer. I hope that through the prayers of their Godparents, our supporters, and their entrance into the One Holy Orthodox Church they will someday soon experience the joy that Christ offers to all of us despite the difficulties that we often experience.”
After the Sunday Liturgy, Fr. Silouan also had the blessing of presenting the St. Barnabas Orphanage and School with an icon of St. Barnabas the Apostle especially painted for their community, as well as relics of St. Andrew the Apostle that came through another of the community’s friends from America, Fr. Methodios writes on his personal Facebook page.
Fr. Silouan’s mission trip in Africa continued with a meeting with the Orthodox Africa Nairobi Diocese Board of Directors on May 17. “We are excited about our prospects of joining with all of you as we help build self-reliant and self-sustainable missions,” Fr. Siluoan wrote after the meeting.
Learn more about Orthodox Africa and the missions they support at their website.