Makarios (Tillyrides) of Nairobi

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His Eminence Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya, is Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kenya in eastern Africa, part of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa.


In 1945, the future archbishop was born Andreas Tillyrides in Limassol, Cyprus. He studied extensively before entering the clergy. In 1968, he began his studies at the Orthodox Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris, France, graduating in 1972. While pursuing his education in Paris, he also studied at the College of France and the Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes at the Sorbonne in Paris. In September 1972, he continued post graduate studies in Church History under Kallistos Ware, Bishop of Dioklea, at Oxford University in Great Britain, receiving a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1976.

He continued his post-doctoral education as a research student at the Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium between the years of 1978 and 1981, studying religion and church history. During this period Andreas was asked in January 1977 by Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus to organize and open an Orthodox seminary in Nairobi, Kenya, thus introducing him to development of Orthodoxy in sub-Saharan Africa.

For more than ten years, Andreas participated, as a lay-theologian, in inter-ecclesiastical and inter-Orthodox conferences as well as with various religious organizations in the middle east.

On July 19, 1992, Andreas Tillyrides was tonsured a monk, with the name Makarios and ordained a deacon in the Church of St Nicholas in Riruta, Nairobia by the Patriarchal Exarch of East Africa, Metropolitan of Axum Petros. His ordination as a deacon was followed on the next day, July 20, by his ordination as a priest. On July 25, 1992, Fr. Makarios was consecrated Bishop of Riruto by Metr. Petros and Bishop Theodoros of Uganda.

On September 13, 1998, Bp. Makarios was elected Metropolitan Archbishop of Zimbabwe, and then assigned in February 2001 to the see in Nairobi of the Archdiocese of Kenya as Archbishop of Kenya.  

Abp. Makarios is a proficient linguist, speaking, in addition to his native Greek, English, French, Russian, Italian, as well as a number of African dialects. He has written extensively, primarily on past and current ecclesiastical history of the ancient patriarchates, Cyprus, and Russia. He has served as dean and taught at the Orthodox Patriarchal Seminary of Archbishop Makarios III in Nairobi. While dean of the seminary he initiated a program whereby the students translated the Orthodox services into more than fifteen African dialects.

Abp. Makarios has spoken that his missionary efforts are not proselytizing but done through invitations to the people to come to see what the Orthodox services are like and then make their decisions. He combines both the Greek language and the local dialect in his services.