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OCMC News - Repose of Bishop Athanasios Akunda

by Fr. Martin Ritsi (Posted 1/4/2019)

Today, on the feast day of the 70 Holy Apostles, His Grace Bishop Athanasios Akunda, Bishop of Kisumu and Western Kenya, has fallen asleep in the Lord. Bishop Athanasios was truly an exemplary modern-day apostle. How fitting that it would be this day that he would join the host of Apostles in the Kingdom of God.

In the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:1-16) we read of how the Lord sent His holy apostles two-by-two into every city and place, saying, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest...Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals...but whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’”

This was the model of our dear bishop, who left his home first to study here in the US at Holy Cross Seminary; and then when he finally returned to Africa and was ordained, he accepted to be sent as an apostle and missionary to South Africa where he ministered for many years. After decades of missionary service there, he was sent back to his birth country of Kenya and soon after elevated to bishop of a newly-formed diocese. With love and a gentle kindness, he has planted the first seeds of this new diocese.

With gratitude for Bishop Athanasios’s humble and gentle example, we thank God for the blessings we have received in knowing him these many years. While we mourn all that could have been, were he among us longer, we rejoice in the hope that he has joined the ranks of the Apostles in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In honor of Bishop Athanasios and to assist with the present needs surrounding his passing, OCMC has established a fund so that you can participate. Donations will first be used to help subsidize the cost of His Grace's funeral preparations and travel to Kenya, and then to help the diocese of Kenya with the costs of coming together to honor His Grace. Any further funds raised will go to support the diocese during this difficult time of transition.

To make a gift on his behalf, please click below to donate online:


You can also send us a check payable to OCMC, with "Bishop Athanasios Memorial Fund" included in the notation.

As soon as details for services are arranged, we will share this information.

May His memory be eternal.

Fr. Martin Ritsi
Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Mission Center

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God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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