Archbishop of Kenya responds to priests who raised concerns about Patriarch’s recognition of Ukrainian schismatics

Nairobi, Kenya, January 23, 2020

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On January 17, Archbishop Makarios of Nairobi and Exarch of All Kenya issued a pastoral letter in response to the African priests who voiced their concerns about the ongoing Ukrainian Church crisis and the Patriarch of Alexandria’s recognition of and communion with the Ukrainian schismatics.

In his letter, the Archbishop warns that those who do not respect the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchate of Alexandria will forfeit their salvation.

The open letter signed by 27 priests from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia was published by OrthoChristian on December 17. In it, the priests note their surprise at Patriarch Theodoros’ sudden change of mind regarding the Ukrainian schismatics, whom he previously called to repentance. They also note that his decision jeopardizes the Patriarchate’s good relations with the Russian Church, and that it was made without consulting the African clergy and faithful who make up the Patriarchate.

“We would like to express our opinion and say that we do not agree with the above decision… We regret the unexpected decision of the Patriarch of Alexandria and we would like to see it revised,” the priests wrote.

It was later reported that the priests faced the threat of sanctions from their hierarchs, including the cutting off of their salaries, suspension in their priestly ministries, and excommunication, and that at least some of them had already been suspended for serving for voicing their opinion.

In his pastoral letter from January 17, Abp. Makarios emphasizes that the Patriarchate of Alexandria is the only canonical Church in Africa, and that “any other way of doing mission in Africa will always be considered as outside the set boundaries of the church.”

“It is so sad to think of anyone claiming to be Orthodox doing any mission work in our continent outside the set canonical boundaries of the church. Such personalities and those who follow them shall unfortunately loose [sic] the church as their Mother, as well as God as their Father, and considering there is no salvation outside the church, they shall automatically loose [sic] their salvation,” the Archbishop writes.

Noting that several priests in his jurisdiction “have fallen prey of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Abp. Makarios calls on his clergy to stay out of “unnecessary” Church and national politics.

He also notes that all clergy visiting from foreign countries may do so only with the blessing of the local ruling hierarch, and that only the Patriarch of Alexandria is to be commemorated when serving with such foreign clergy.

Abp. Makarios’ full letter can be read below:



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fr. Demetrios okubasu1/24/2020 5:25 pm
kakamega vicarage priests who have signed the petition to the partriach of Russia His holiness Cyril be strong never turn back things will be OK, God is with us. we have suffered enough.
Isaac1/24/2020 7:02 am
It's funny that the pastoral letter written in utter foreigness is accussing other foreigners. It simply does not address the local church problems. The priest who will find their way to the Russian orthodox are the victims of the establishment. We have lost others before this to other orthodox shismatics, but that is that, a label by one camp, where you get edification is the Church, not historical milieus. God have mercy on me a wretch
Fr Johnson Otara Hezekiah 1/24/2020 6:24 am
Kindly archbishop makarios lux. The Greeks have shown humiliation until our faithful are joining protestant churches but it's fair to join Russia orthodox church. Still no sin has been done May God bless you with your tour while eating well and your children sleeping without anything
Rev Fr Agapios Habbil Lipesa Omukuba1/24/2020 5:20 am
I was really the first Priest in Kenya Africa to sign the open letter.I don't regret signing the petition either .I know the Archbishop Makarios will use money to convince the Priests because they are in need of money but God will defend his Holy Orthodox Church.My dear brothers in Christ who signed the petition let me request you kindly to remain strong .It's better to suffer when you defending the right faith than to be bribed and suffer all the days of your life .I promise to remain strong and courageous and a faithful soldier. Fr Agapios Habbil Lipesa Omukuba Priest under Russian Church in Kenya
Eliakim kulali1/23/2020 10:23 pm
We Wonder which world are we leaving in. Most of our priests even wanted to go to Pentecostal Churches. This Russia is our Orthodox savior. Am one of the priest who has been victimised over the same. God will show us some light soon.
Bob1/23/2020 8:37 pm
This archbishop should be defrocked for making such an outrageous statement! This is exactly the kind of thing that triggered the Reformation!
Renato1/23/2020 6:45 pm
L'unica considerazione da fare è quella di ricordare al metropolita che gli scismatici sono loro fuori dalla Chiesa non i veri cristiani ortodossi che praticano gli insegnamenti dei nostri santi Padri. Che il Signore apra e illumini i cuori di pietra di troppi gerarchi.
Gary Cox1/23/2020 3:23 pm
So, if the orthodox faithful don't obey Theodoros who obeys Bartholomew then they lose their salvation? Does he actually believe they will suffer in hell for all eternity because they see wrong being done and say something about it? Theodoros recently commented that the eastern and oriental orthodox are one. Does he think they also are under his control? Does he teach that they also go to hell if they don't follow his orders? We have patriarchs calling good as being evil and evil as being good. We are closer to the end times.
Mikhail1/23/2020 3:05 pm
Insane! If I were one of the clergy who are upset about the OCU schismstics, I would immediately ask to be received into the Russian Orthodox Church to continue mission work in Africa.
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