A year after school was demolished, Kenyan Orthodox priest continues his work

Nairobi, Kenya, November 22, 2021

By: H. David Sauls


A little over a year ago, OrthoChristian reported on the destruction of the Dagoretti sub-slum neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. Along with 3,000 homes and some 200 businesses, a small school founded and operated by Fr. Antipas Odhiambo was razed by the Kenya Railway Company under armed, government escort. All was lost, save a few desks and tables.


In the year since, in spite of the economic challenges faced by families paying tuition fees, Fr. Antipas and the staff of the school were able to relocate to the Ngando neighborhood, rent a building, and add two rooms and a new slit-trench (outhouse). The children and teachers still lovingly hold onto the name “Dagoretti,” though Fr. Antipas was able to register the school as a Community Based Organization (CBO) with the Kenyan government as “Ngando School and Community Learning Centre.”

An application will be made to officially change the name again to “Ngando Orthodox Christian School and Community Learning Centre” as Orthodoxy has been incorporated into the curriculum, teaching the students liturgics and Church history. The school has three who commune, and as the parents of the students are educated in Orthodoxy along with their children, many will follow. As of now, the school has five communicants.

In the coming months, the school will be implementing computer technology classes. A local hieromonk has asked to take on this task, even though the school lacks the laptops necessary to provide complete training. He will be teaching computer science theory to the children to give them a basis of knowledge in modern computer technology, software applications, and programming. Fr. Antipas hopes to equip a computer lab with the help of donors or NGOs who may be willing to contribute so the classes can be taken beyond theory and put into practice.

Only a fraction of the parents is able to pay the $10 per month tuition fee, but no child is ever turned away because of lack of means.

The summary of the year that has passed since the tragic destruction of the Dagoretti community, is, simply put, a summary of God’s providence. The Dagoretti School was wiped out, but through the grace of God, and the support of faithful Orthodox believers, it was saved, remained unified, and was restored within a month of its destruction. From that, proceeded a new wave of COVID-19 restrictions to contend with, and a local economy in deeper decline. But providence rose above it and provided Fr. Antipas the opportunity to aid the poor and needy who were suffering. Widows were fed, the sick and injured tended, the dead buried with dignity, and unjustly accused prisoners were freed, including one young man whose life was spared from a life sentence in prison. An Orthodox pastoral commitment that extends the practice of the Orthodox faith to an entire community, touches many lives, who become witnesses to, and beneficiaries of God’s grace through His clergy.


Orthodoxy in Africa faces many challenges. Priests practice our faith and hold the Divine Liturgy in make-shift temples, go for months on end without receiving stipends, contend with parishioners and laity in illness and distress absent any reliable resources to ably assist, and lack the support and dignity that the priesthood should naturally inherit by virtue of its function in the order of parish life as beings created to be liturgical.


Yet in the face of the challenges, the Orthodox clergy of Africa, like Fr. Antipas, continue to minister undaunted as pastors, persevering against those same odds he faced a year ago when his school was destroyed. Orthodoxy in Africa at the parish level is very difficult. Orthodox Christians can learn from our African clergy and laity the true meaning of the virtue of humility, which invites the providence of God, having evoked charity and love in the hearts of many.

Please consider supporting Orthodoxy in Africa. Below are links to help support Fr. Antipas’ ministry and school. Please consider his challenges, and help support him and the spread of the Orthodox faith as he introduces it to minds and hearts, young and old alike. The future of canonical Orthodoxy in Africa depends upon the support of true Orthodox believers everywhere, and the priests in Africa who keep and protect it.




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