Arusha, Tanzania, September 29, 2020
A great spiritual event and joy for the Orthodox faithful of the Maasai tribe in Tanzania and the whole of the Diocese of Arusha and Central Tanzania was celebrated recently.
According to the Missionary Center of St. Dionysios of Olympus, a mass wedding service was served recently, bringing several Maasai couples together with the blessing of the Church to strive together for perfection in Christ. With the blessing of Bishop Agathonikos of Arusha, the service was celebrated by diocesan clergy.
Photos show that 8 or 9 couples were married at the same time.
“The traditional costumes of their tribe with the bright colors brought a unique beauty to the ceremony and the meal that followed,” reads the Missionary Center’s report.
The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group in northern, central, and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. There were 377,000 Maasai in Tanzania according to the 1989 census. They traditionally worship a god named Engai, though many have also adopted Christianity and Islam. The Maasai people have largely maintained their traditional, nomadic ways.
Orthodoxy is growing quickly in Tanzania, as it is in many places throughout Africa. More than 500 Tanzanians received Holy Baptism in February 2019, followed by another 350 that May, and another 230 in January of this year.
In February, the first Orthodox monastery in the nation celebrated its first Divine Liturgy.