The Catholic faithful and the country were yesterday thrown into mourning following the passing on of long-serving Eldoret Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir. The bishop, 67, died yesterday morning at his house in Elgon View estate while preparations were underway to fly him to Karen Hospital in Nairobi for specialised treatment.
Soon after the news about his death broke out, President Uhuru Kenyatta led other Kenyans in condoling with the family and friends. President Uhuru described him as a great religious leader and an excellent peacemaker adding that he was deeply saddened by his death.
“I join the Catholic Church in mourning a great religious leader whose exemplary service calls for emulation by others,” he said. President Uhuru said Bishop Korir’s work for peace and understanding between Kenyans of different faiths deserves the warmest commendation, saying the cleric discharged his duties of leadership with great distinction.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his wife, Ida said the late bishop had been one of the country’s leading moral lights and voices of reason who did outstanding work with many communities and through which he touched the lives of countless Kenyans.
“We will forever appreciate that within the Diocese of Eldoret, Bishop Korir promoted both spiritual empowerment and economic development through his numerous community organisations and charitable efforts,” he said.
Retired President Mwai Kibaki said the late Korir served humanity with exceptional diligence and passion. “The late Bishop was a notable peacemaker who was devoted to ensuring that the homogenous community he served lived in harmonious coexistence.
He never once grew weary of preaching peace, unity and brotherhood in the country,” he said. Retired President Moi said Bishop Korir was a genuine man of God who loved all people without discrimination.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia described the late Bishop Korir as a humble and charismatic leader. “I send my sincere condolences to the Holy See -Pope through the Nuncio and the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret following death of Bishop Korir. He was a humble, charismatic and gallant defender of faith, peace, justice and rights of all,” he said.
Catholic faithful including nuns, political leaders among them Elgeyo Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos and Uasin Gishu deputy governor Daniel Chemno joined mourners who thronged the church on learning of the cleric’s demise.
Addressing the media at the Eldoret Catholic Church, head of Homa Bay Catholic Church Bishop Philip Anyolo said Korir jetted back into the country on Saturday from Europe on a church mission.
Bishop Anyolo, who is also the chairman of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Holy Mass in dedication of the fallen colleague will be held daily at the church ahead of his burial.
The bishop’s death came at a time when he was spearheading peace process among warring communities in North Rift who have been feuding over water and pasture for decades.