Retired Catholic Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana a’ Nzeki will be buried at the crypt at the Holy Family Basilica church, Nairobi on Tuesday.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) says the late Archbishop’s remains will be laid to rest at an invite-only in the wake of Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic.
Archbishop Philip Anyolo of the Archdiocese of Kisumu revealed that the late Ndingi’s remains will be laid to rest in a crypt which is situated at the basement of the Holy Family Basilica church.
What is a crypt
A crypt (from Latin crypta “vault”) is a stone chamber situated beneath the floor of a church or other building.
The crypt contains and other religious relics. It also serves as the ritual rooms found beneath church buildings.
Occasionally churches were raised high to accommodate a crypt at the ground level, such as the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi.
In more modern terms, a crypt is most often a stone chambered burial vault used to store the deceased.
At the Holy Family Basilica, the crypt was constructed in 2018 and ordinarily, Bishops are supposed to be buried inside the cathedrals where they served.
Father Simon Peter Kamomoe tells us that the crypt originated from the days when the persecution of Christians was rife, and most of them worshipped at caves known as catacombs, the caves also served as burial sites for any member who died.
Others to be buried inside churches
With about 34 slots in the crypt, the late retired Archbishop John Njenga is the first one to be buried at the crypt.
He served as an Archbishop in Mombasa Diocese and his wish was to be interred in the Nairobi Cathedral.
The late Archbishop Mwana A’ Nzeki will be the second one whose remains will lay to rest here on Tuesday after the Requiem Mass.
Other include Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga who was buried inside a Chapel at Resurrection Garden in Nairobi. His remains were later transferred to the Karen’s Resurrection Gardens on 24 August 2005.
In 2007, Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima was laid to rest in a tomb at Our Lady of Consolata Cathedral in Nyeri town next to his predecessor, Bishop Caesar Maria Gatimu.
In 2017, Eldoret Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir’s coffin was buried in a tomb at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Eldoret.