Peter Macharia Kinyanjui has been a popular figure since becoming Kenya’s first Kikuyu Catholic bishop.
Bishop Kinyanjui was born in 1921 in Limuru. From his childhood, he attended mass at the Holy Family Thigio. He always wanted to be a priest. His parents were Anglicans. His decision to join the Catholic Church was informed by the belief that Catholics had more freedom than Protestants.
His passion for the priesthood led him to the minor seminary of Saint Augustine in Nyeri, where he studied until 1939. He was then sent to Rome to continue his studies in philosophy and theology. In 1946, he finished his studies in Rome and was ordained a priest at Saint Peter’s College.
On May 21, 1961, Pope John XXIII consecrated him in Rome as bishop, alongside 13 other people from various missions in different countries. On November 25, 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed Kinyanjui Bishop of Nyeri upon the transfer of Bishop Cavellar to the Diocese of Marsabit.
As Bishop of Nyeri, Macharia developed the Catholic Church in central Kenya, where he started many schools.
According to the Dictionary of African Christian Biography, Bishop Macharia disagreed with some of the doctrines of the Catholic Church in 1967. He disagreed with the idea of confessing sins to a priest and continue to sin. He returned to his parents’ Anglican Church and married.
He felt that the Anglican Church was similar to the Catholic Church and as such did not quench the spiritual thirst of its people. He therefore disagreed with many beliefs and practices of Anglicans, representing Protestants, and Catholics.
In May 1969 he chose to leave the Anglican Church and start his own, which he called The Resurrected Christ Ministries. He viewed it as a refuge for people dissatisfied with the beliefs and practices of Catholics and Anglicans.
He founded the Bishop Kinyanjui School and Hospital, as well as the Bishop Kinyanjui School of Nursing. Its main objective was to promote religious life, to help people develop their careers and to empower them through education.
He died on February 20, 2003, at the age of 82.