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Peter Macharia Kinyanjui: Meet The First Kikuyu Catholic Bishop In Kenya Who Went Against Doctrine And Married

The Catholic Church in Kenya has always steered clear of controversies and has always remained steadfast in admonishing and correcting the powers that be when they fail in their mandate. The Catholic clergy are also revered and admired for observing chastity. But this is always not the case as some clergy have been victims of bodily desires.

WoK brings you the story of Peter Macharia Kinyanjui, the first Kikuyu to be ordained a Catholic Bishop and went on to break church doctrine by getting married.

Peter Macharia Kinyanjui Background

Bishop Peter Macharia Kinyanjui was born in 1921 in Limuru, Kiambu County. His parents were members of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK). In his teens, Kinyanjui decided to switch from ACK to join the Catholic Church claiming that the Catholics had more freedom compared to Protestants. He started attending Sunday services at Holy Family Thigio where he developed a passion to learn more about the catholic faith and eventually become a priest. 


After completing his secondary education, Kinyanjui joined St Augustine’s Minor Seminary in Nyeri County to pursue theology, graduating in 1939. He would later get an opportunity to fly to Vatican City in Rome where the headquarters of the Catholic Church is located. While in Rome, he joined St Peter’s College to pursue philosophy and theology successfully completing his studies in 1946. After his studies, he was ordained a priest at the same institution.

Also Read: Archbishop Anthony Muheria Biography: The Opus Dei Member Who Quit Engineering For Priesthood

Becoming a Bishop

Kinyanjui was consecrated as a Bishop in Rome by Pope John XXIII on May 21, 1961 alongside 13 other priests from across the globe. Three years later on 25th November 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed Kinyanjui as the Bishop of Nyeri diocese becoming the first Kikuyu Bishop in Kenya. This was after Bishop Cavellar was transferred from Nyeri to head the Marsabit diocese. As the Nyeri diocese bishop, he oversaw the planting of new parishes in the Central Province and launched many schools.

Leaving Catholic and getting married

After serving as a Catholic bishop for three years, Bishop Kinyanjui disagreed with some of the Catholic Church doctrines, according to the 1967 Dictionary of African Christian Biography. He disagreed with the idea of confessing sins to a priest then go back to sin and the cycle continues. He decided to go back to his parent’s Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) and got married. 

Also Read: Archbishop Philip Anyolo Biography, Age, Education, Career & Car Gift From Ruto

Becoming a pastor.

After spending quite sometime in the Anglican Church, he realized that it was similar to the Catholic Church and thus didn’t quench the spiritual thirst of the congregants. He also didn’t agree with many of the beliefs, customs and practices conducted in the Anglican Church. In May 1969, he finally left the Anglican Church and established his own church named ‘The Resurrected Christ Ministries.’ He considered his church as home of refuge to the believers who were tired with the practices of both the Catholic and the Anglican Church. He would then establish Bishop Kinyanjui School and Hospital and Bishop Kinyanjui Nursing School in Nyeri County. He had a vision of enhancing religious living and empowering people to develop their careers through offering them an opportunity to get education. Bishop Kinyanjui would later pass away on 20th February 2003 while aged 82 years.