Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School of Makarios III
Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School of Makarios III Archbishop of Cyprus, formerly the Patriarchal Seminary of Archbishop Makarios III, is a theological education institution of the Church of Alexandria, located in the western suburbs of Nairobi, Kenya. The school owes its existence to its name sake, Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus. The school is the principal theological institution educating clergy for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The school traces its beginnings to a visit by Abp. Makarios to Kenya in 1970 during which he saw a future for the Orthodox church in Kenya. In March 1971, Abp. Makarios returned to Kenya to conduct mass baptisms of the Kenyans in Nairobi and Nyeri. At this time he saw the need for a seminary to meet the theological education needs of East Africa. On March 22, 1971, he laid the cornerstone of the Orthodox Patriarchal Seminary in Riruta with the blessing of Patriarch Nicholas of Alexandria. However, the political crisis of the 1970s in Cyprus delayed the opening of the seminary until 1981 when training of priests and catechists for the Archdiocese of Kenya and, now, Archdiocese of Irinoupolis began.
While the seminary originally opened to serve the theological eduction needs of East Africa, in 1995, the school began taking students from other African countries. The aim was to make the seminary a pan-African institution with a sense of unity within the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
In 1998, the seminary was renamed the Orthodox Patriarchal School. The school follows courses of study used by other Orthodox theological schools and seminaries. Students are enrolled from a number of African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and Cameroon. Many students go on to study abroad, principally Greece and the United States. A few return as instructors at the school.
The programs at the school also include translating the Divine services into the many languages of Africa, as well as programs for the youth and women that thus contribute to the growing number of churches, schools, and health centers that the Church sponsors throughout the continent.
Financing the expenses of the school and the programs is tight and benefits from the aid received from Greece, Cyprus, Finland, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.