04-03-2021 di redazione
Many who know Kenya's history are convinced that Christianity was brought here by German missionaries who opened the first Catholic mission in Rabai, inland from Mombasa in 1846.
In reality, Jesus arrived in an even friendlier and less didactic way 350 years earlier on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Jesus' face first appeared to Kenyans drawn on one of the sails of the three caravels of the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama, who landed in Malindi on 14 April 1498, as recorded in the diary written by one of his assistants and translated by the Italian historian Gianbattista Ramusio.
The Christian God arrived in the Muslim town of Malindi to a friendly welcome, because at that time Malindi was an enemy of Mombasa and the Portuguese had fought a bloody battle in the big city two days earlier, appreciating the hostility of the local population.
In Malindi, however, Vasco Da Gama found allies, so much so that when he left for the Indies, he left behind two members of his crew who waited for his return for two months and in the meantime established commercial relations and told, among other things, the story of Jesus to the local population.
Since then, Christian and Muslim religions have coexisted in great harmony in Malindi and this is one of the secrets of the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere that one experiences in the destination.
Visiting Vasco Da Gama's pillar will hardly tell you this story, just as the nearby Portuguese Chapel, built one hundred years later by Francis Xavier, the spiritual father of the Jesuits, is testimony to how Christianity had already taken root in Malindi, without any hostility. The same hostility that Johan Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann found in Mombasa, which meant they had to settle inland, in Rabai, where the first Catholic mission in Kenya was born, about half a century before the Italian priests of the Consolata arrived on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
Many tourist destinations in the country have many stories to tell, Malindi in particular has history on its side and above all can also be considered the only true pilgrimage destination and the "home" of Christianity in Kenya and in the whole of East Africa.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
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