St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Mission and Refuge of Kenya Lays Cornerstone

Gem, Siaya County, Kenya, February 16, 2024

By H. David Sauls

This past weekend, Fr. Antipas Odhiambo hosted priests from the Kakamega Deanery in Western Kenya in the village of Gem to lay the cornerstone for the St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Mission and Refuge’s future church. The cornerstone consists of a large stone from the property as the center of a cross made from handmade, locally baked bricks.

On Thursday, ground was broken to plant the mission’s first corn crop. Several farmhands were employed as a part of the job creation aspect of the mission’s mandate.

A Liturgy was celebrated on Saturday the 10th, and an agape meal was served. In attendance were dozens from the village of Gem, many of whom have been employed to develop the property, along with their families and fellow villagers. On Sunday the 11th, a Liturgy was served at St. Panteleimon’s Church, where three children were baptized.

St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Mission is growing with the help of many private donors, its sister parish in the United States, St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church in Roswell, Georgia, and the mission platform, Orthodox Africa. St. Mary of Egypt Mission has created jobs and drawn the hope and interest of the local deanery, with the fathers’ express intent that it become the spiritual center of Gem and Siaya County, Kenya.

Orthodoxy is rapidly spreading in Eastern Africa. Mass Baptisms are constantly occurring, and St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Mission and Refuge is adding to those numbers. Liturgies are being held twice a month with local clergy and scores of villagers streaming to the services.

Mission work in Kenya is both relevant and in need of support from the diaspora. The clergy who have taken the mantle and stole of spreading the Orthodox faith to those desiring to “come and see” require as much support from abroad as can be given.


As we prepare to enter the season of Great Lent, consider supporting the clergy of Africa who have quite courageously undertaken to do this. Almsgiving serves so much for us personally, for those in whose name we give it, and for those who receive the benefits of this virtue, and it goes a long way to reach those who are in need and seeking the truth. The work being done by our clergy in Africa is risky, but beneficial, and is loyal to the traditions of our faith.  

You can support St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Mission and Refuge of Kenya at any of the following links (if donating through Orthodox Africa, be sure to indicate your donation is for St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Mission and Refuge of Kenya):

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