This is How Bishop Cornelius Korir will be buried

The late Bishop Cornelius Korir will be buried on Saturday inside the Sacred Heart Cathedral, in accordance with Catholic traditions.

On Monday, The Standard was allowed access to a special tomb where the head of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret will be interred, being built under close supervision of Uasin Gishu County engineers.

The tomb 2.9 metres long and 1.225 metres high ? is located at the Grotto of the blessed Virgin Mary, a small room inside the church premises.

The construction plan indicates the late cleric’s remains will be interred inside a room behind the altar in a concrete-reinforced structure.

The tomb, similar to a cabin with two opening doors, will accommodate the remains of the bishop inside the coffin.

At the same time, inscriptions of his personal details, including his date of ordination and the date of his death, will be written on an adjacent slab.

“Mkitendee kazi chakula kidumucho” (Work for food that endures) reads the inscription on the slab.

Korir, christened a ‘peace icon’, will be the first Bishop in the North Rift to be laid to rest inside the church.

He died on October 30 at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

“The official retirement of every bishop is 75 years and Korir was 67. He died while serving in the Eldoret diocese.

“His body will be interred inside the cathedral as per Catholic traditions,” said Father Fredrick Njoroge of the Eldoret diocese.

The Catholic Church has laid out an elaborate burial ceremony to include some of the most solemn Catholic rituals.

On Friday, as his body is removed from the morgue, women in uniform will light candles as they walk towards the cathedral in prayer.

Several requiem masses will be conducted the evening before the burial. The services will be celebrated throughout the night.

Bishop Cornelius Korir Favourite vestment

Bishop Cornelius Korir Tomb
Bishop Cornelius Korir Tomb

The bishop will be buried in his favourite vestment.“The church will select the vestment he loved most and bury him in it,” said Father Joseph Odongo, the Kitale Catholic Church youth coordinator.

According to Father Njoroge, most of the rituals will be similar to those conducted for any baptised Catholic.

The Standard has learnt there were two suggestions for Korir’s final resting place.

It was either at the Altar of Peace because the cleric was a renowned peace icon or inside the cathedral. The Altar of Peace is located within the Eldoret cathedral compound.

“The decision to bury Korir inside the church was agreed upon on Thursday last week by the conference of Catholic bishops who sent Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria to identify the place where he will be laid to rest.

“They chose the special room because he remains the church shepherd,” explained father Njoroge.

In Kenya’s Catholic history, few bishops have been buried inside a church since most of them die after their retirement.

Clerics buried inside a church include former Nyeri Diocese Bishop Gatimu Ngandu (1987), his successor Nicodemus Kirima (2007), Tiberius Mugendi of Kisii diocese (1993) and Bishop Longinus Atundo of Bungoma (1996).

Archbishop of Nairobi Maurice Cardinal Otunga was buried in accordance with his wishes at Saint Austin’s cemetery in Nairobi on August 2015.

Source: The Standard.

Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir of Eldoret Diocese is dead

Bishop Cornelius Korir, 67, of the Eldoret Catholic Diocese is dead. Bishop Korir took over leadership of Eldoret Diocese from Bishop John Njenga after he was transferred to Mombasa before his retirement.

Bishop Korir passed away in his Eldoret home and his body was transferred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary on Monday morning.

According to Bishop Phillip Anyollo, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, the late Bishop Korir suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure. The two ailments were detected late, and doctors had already started treating him to manage complications.

“The health problems were not detected early. He spent several days in bed.”

On the morning he passed on, Bishop Korir was supposed to be transferred to Karen Hospital in Nairobi for specialized treatment. A flight had already been booked, but priests who had gone to help him prepare found him dead.

Bishop Cornelius Korir Biography

Bishop Cornelius Korir was born in 1950 at Segutiet Bomet District, Kericho Diocese. He was ordained Priest in November 6, 1982. Bishop Korir took over leadership of Eldoret Diocese from Bishop John Njenga after he was transferred to Mombasa before his retirement.

Date of birth: 1950
Place of Birth: Segutiet Bomet District, Kericho Diocese
Ordained Priest: November 6, 1982
Appointed Bishop: April 17, 1990
Consecrated Bishop: June 2, 1990

Bishop Cornelius Korir
Bishop Cornelius Korir

Bishop Cornelius Korir leaves big gap in volatile region

Updated: 01.11.2017

Two weeks before last Thursday’s rerun presidential election, Eldoret Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir implored the rival Jubilee and Nasa coalitions to soften their hardline stands to help ease political tension that was rising to a deafening crescendo.

While he was against the timing of the proposed changes in electoral laws championed by Jubilee, Bishop Korir was equally critical of Nasa’s repeated calls for anti-establishment demonstrations.

This was his hallmark, a truly neutral arbiter.

“The laws are not necessary now, but could be changed later so as to reduce tension in the Opposition,” he told journalists after celebrating Mass at Majengo Catholic Church, Uasin Gishu County.

“I also appeal to the Opposition not to demand so much from the IEBC. They should see what they can take to cool down the nation,” he added, appealing to both parties to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission “to conduct elections in a conducive environment”.

Bishop Cornelius Korir – Peace Ambassador

That was vintage Bishop Cornelius Kipng’eno arap Korir who died in the early hours of Monday as he underwent treatment at Eldoret’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

“I’m shocked to learn of Bishop Korir’s death,” Kenya’s youngest Catholic Bishop, Joseph Obanyi, said from Rome, describing Bishop Korir as an “elder and counsellor”.

“We have lost a great shepherd at the time we needed him most,” Bishop Obanyi, 49, said.

“Every Kenyan has come to know him as a humble servant of peace and reconciliation.

“He earned the respect of all people who worked with him. Above all he worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation. We shall miss him a lot. May God receive him in eternal peace.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir – Tribal Clashes

Besides his vocal stand against injustice in national politics, Bishop Korir’s 27 years of episcopal ministry in Eldoret stand out for his efforts at preaching peace among the warring pastoralist communities of the north.

“Three quarters of my life has been about peace building,” he told me in an interview on the eve of his Silver Jubilee celebrations as Bishop of the Eldoret Catholic Diocese on June 2015, noting that his first major peacemaking role was at the height of the 1992 intertribal clashes.

“The 1992 clashes were political violence coupled with ethnicity as the political parties then were rallied along tribal lines,” Bishop Korir reminisced.

“Politics rekindled old enmity in the pastoral areas, and it was a sad situation when you see people killed, property destroyed and people burned inside their houses.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir – Relief Aid

Bishop Korir was instrumental in the distribution of relief food to families affected by the 1991-92 clashes, but no sooner had peace returned than a new flare-up between the Marakwet and Pokot broke in 1996.

“It was a war between pastoralists,” he recalled.

“They were all within our diocese, so I went to them to console them and ask what the Church could do for them.

“They told me to help them talk to each other, and that’s how I really got into peacebuilding.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir – Resources

Unlike the politically instigated clashes of 1991, the Pokot and Marakwet were fighting over livestock.

“Some of the Pokot were armed while the Marakwet really didn’t have firearms but soon started acquiring them.”

To ease the tension and stop the fighting, Bishop Korir led the Catholic church in building schools and cattle dips on the border between the two communities.

“We also dug two dams in East Pokot, and donors came in to utilise river Lelan, which is shared by the two tribes.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir – Economy

The Lelan developments will remain among the biggest legacies of Bishop Korir’s peace-keeping ministry.

“By good luck the Foundation run by (American billionaire) Bill Gates helped put up milk cooling plants, which helped both Pokots and Marakwets concentrate on milk production.

“The fighting has since stopped, and Lelan now is a leading producer of milk with up to 20,000 litres of milk daily.

“They have even formed a cooperative society jointly, and members of both communities sit on its management board.

“It’s the most successful peacebuilding initiative that I’ve been involved in. The Pokot and Marakwet are earning as much as Sh20 million a month from milk production.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir – Ceasefire

A church was also built at the foot of Kapsait Hill following efforts by the bishop.

Bishop Korir said that through dialogue, a lot was achieved among the warring communities, and this was the subject of a book he wrote in 2014 titled Amani Mashinani (Peace at the Grassroots).

The fourth-born in a family of eight, Bishop Korir was born on July 6, 1950, and while bringing prosperity to warring communities will remain his highest point, his lowest moment was dealing with the post-election violence of 2007-08.

“In 2008, I had to go from location-to-location bringing people together.

“I organised dialogue between the Kalenjin and Kikuyu people at the cathedral, and our major rallying point was to call for a ceasefire that would allow farmers to plant as it was the planting season.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir – IDPs

Bishop Korir and the Catholic Church then helped acquire seed, fertiliser and other inputs to plant 1,500 acres of maize in the midst of the clashes.

“We were planting and talking,” he recalled.

At one point, Bishop Korir accommodated 10,000 Internally Displaced People in the Eldoret cathedral’s compound.

It was a dark period he would never have liked to live through again.

In his final days, Bishop Korir helped organise several peace meetings between warring pastoralist communities, coming up with a number of resolutions, among them the 2015 peace caravans that brought together leaders and opinion shapers from Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Samburu and Baringo.

Bishop Cornelius Korir Media

A firm believer of the importance of mass media, on October 2013, the bishop launched a radio station run from the diocesan offices in Eldoret.

Speaking in Eldoret on Monday, Fr Sospeter Kangogo, who is in charge of pastoral affairs at the Eldoret Diocese, said the bishop will be difficult to replace.

“He was a peace ambassador who tried to bring people together,” Fr Kangogo said in the company of the Kenya Council of Catholic Bishops head, Bishop Philip Anyolo, shortly after confirming Bishop Korir’s death.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who will fill his shoes easily.”

Adopted From The Daily Nation

Kenyans Mourn Bishop Cornelius Korir

President Uhuru Kenyatta has joined other leaders and Kenyans in mourning Bishop Cornelius Korir of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret.

The President said he was deeply saddened by the death of Bishop Koriri, describing him as a great religious leader and an excellent peacemaker.

“I join the Catholic Church in mourning a great religious leader whose exemplary service calls for emulation by others,” President Kenyatta said.

He added: “In this hour of sorrow, and on behalf of the people and Government of Kenya, I convey my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the Catholic church, and the family and friends of the late Bishop Korir.”

Bishop Cornelius Korir was born on 6 July 1950 in Segutiet, Bomet District.

Bishop Cornelius Korir – In Search of God

His search for the word of God started long time when he could walk for 23KM to the nearest Catholic Church in Kaplong Mission.

“My family could not afford to go to church every week as it meant we would walk for 46KM to and from church. My late mother was a very staunch catholic and that is when I learnt what it meant to be a catholic,” said Korir during a past interview.

The man who served as a priest for 34.98 years said he wished to become a priest in his early school days.

“When I was a pupil at Chesoen and Segutiet primary schools between 1959 and 1970 I knew I felt that I wanted to be a priest. I schooled at the Mother of Apostles Minor Seminary in Eldoret before joining St Augustine Major Seminary in Bungoma in 1976. I became a catechist and went to the seminary,” said Bishop Korir in a past interview.

Bishop Cornelius Korir Mediators role

He has been serving as a peacekeeper among warring pastoralist communities in the North Rift.

Last year he mediated talks among the Turkana and Pokot over continued cattle rustling that has claimed many lives.

He brought together governors, members of parliament and senators from the counties and urged them to support the peace process along the border.

His efforts paid off as the two communities started living peacefully and few cases of cattle rustling have been reported since then.

Turkana Catholic Diocese Bishop Dominic Kimengich condoled the Bishop terming him as irreplaceable.

“It is a very sad moment for us and the country. He was a gifted peace ambassador who wished that the world would be peaceful. He spent his time talking to communities and their leaders to embrace peace. Despite the resistance he got sometimes from the communities that had were wounded from raids, he was calm and used dialogue and with the help of God he brought resolutions. We now have peace because of his efforts,” said Bishop Kimengich.

Bishop Korir had vowed to continue leading the peace process and help political leaders from the communities to end animosities.

He was also instrumental in distributing relief food to families affected during the 1991-92 clashes and the Marakwet-Pokot conflicts in 1996.

In 2006 he was awarded a Moran of the Burning Spear by President Mwai Kibaki for his peace efforts.

He also earned the Milele Lifetime Award in 2009 from the National Commission of Human Rights.

Adopted from The Standard


10 Things to Know About Bishop Cornelius Korir

  1. Bishop Cornelius Korir was born and raised in Bomet county.
  2. Bishop Cornelius Korir interest in priesthood started while he was still a pupil at Chesoen and Segutiet primary schools between 1959 and 1970.
  3. Bishop Cornelius Korir became a catechist and went to the seminary school at the Mother of Apostles Minor Seminary in Eldoret. He then joined St Augustine Major Seminary in Bungoma in 1976, graduating with a diploma in philosophy and religious studies.
  4. In 1982, Bishop Korir attained a Diploma in Theology from Nairobi’s St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, which he followed up with a licentiate degree in sacred theology from St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, in 1989.
  5. Bishop Korir was ordained Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret on June 2, 1990.
  6. In 2015, he celebrated 25 years as Bishop. With His Silver Jubilee party held at the Mother of Apostles Seminary in Eldoret
  7. Three quarters of his life has been about peace building. He was instrumental in bringing back peace during the 1991 and 1992 clashes due to political violence, and also in the 2007-08 skirmishes.
  8. In October, 2013 Bishop Cornelius Korir founded the Upendo FM radio station that broadcasts from his diocesan office on 89.4 FM in the North Rift.
  9. For his peace-keeping and peace-building efforts, Bishop Korir was in 2006 awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear by President Mwai Kibaki and also earned the Milele Lifetime Award in 2009 from the National Commission of Human Rights.
  10. In 2012, Moi University conferred upon him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.

Bishop Cornelius Korir Address:

Bishop’s Office -P.O. Box 842 – 30100 Eldoret
Tel. 254-053-2063981/2031867
Fax 254-053-2062004