Portuguese Chapel Kenya : Portuguese chapel was built by the Portuguese in the early 15th century and the chapel is also known as the St. Francis Xavier chapel, the chapel is situated between the flats near Malindi Law Courts, it is located at the seafront at Shella Area, Mama Ngina Road in Old Town Malindi, it was built by Vasco Da Gama and some of his fellow sailors in 1498 while passing there on his way to India before St Francis Xavier visited Malindi in 1542, in Kenya of which currently Portuguese chapel is a Kenya safari destination it attracts various tourists to the area, the Portuguese Chapel is now operated by the National Museums Of Kenya that found it neglected and took over on it. The chapel features a rooftop cross, an altar and other catholic paraphernalia two chairs and about ten wooded benches.
Portuguese chapel has got a unique architecture design in that it is thatched with the makuti and it has a cross on top, the chapel measures five by five meters, it has white walls that were made of the sand and the coral rocks. The chapel has got an altar mostly with the catholic religious paraphernalia, with two chairs and ten wooden benches on the cemented floor.
The Portuguese chapel can accommodate 40 people seated and 50 to 60 standing inside the church, the church stands on an eighth of a plot and it hosts over 36 graves of sailors and prominent people in the compound. The graves around includes of the famous people in Kenya like Malindi pioneer Commander Lawford of Lawford Hotel, the first Malindi District Commissioner J.Bell Smith who died on September 1st 1894 and Charles Arnold Frank Matthews, who was buried in 1968.
Thousands and thousands of people have prayed from St Francis Xavier chapel in Malindi, most of the christains especially the Catholics on a safari to the Portuguese chapel do always visit the chapel for prayers because it is spirit filled little shrine. The chapel was built 389 years before St Paul Anglican church in Rabai kilifi considered as the oldest church in Kenya, and it was consecrated in 1887 by Rev Henry Perof Parker. Portuguese chapel is a safari destination because it is considered as the first church in Kenya but Catholic Church leardship in Malindi says it can only be described as a chapel, it was cared for and maintained by National Museum Kenya after being declared as a national monument through a gazette notice in 1935. Unlike a church the Portuguese Chapel is a place of worship that has no priest and no permanent congregation.
Portuguese chapel is highly recognized as a safari destination because it is considered as the oldest Christian church in the entire East Africa because it attracts a variety of both the East Africa tourists and International tourists to come and visit the place, because it was gazetted as a National Monument. The Malindi Catholic Archdiocese Bishop Wilbard Lagho agrees with Abdallah that the first Christian mass in Kenya was conducted from the chapel but insists it is not a church.
Portuguese Chapel is highly respected because it is the oldest Christian shrine in Kenya, and several thousands of the pilgrims come to worship on a safari and commemorate at St Francis on December 3, though it is a smaller church but it attracts a variety of the tourists there. The pilgrims do come every December 3rd to the chapel because every year the catholic faithful converge at the place to mark the feast of St Francis Xavier in line with the church’s calendar who died while on a desolate island in the Bay of Canton, China on December 3rd, 1552, and he is celebrated a cross the world on that day.
Best time to visit the Portuguese chapel.
The chapel is open from Monday to Friday to the public where most visitors are foreigners from Europe, Australia, America and Asian countries, the chapel is sometimes used by the local catholic churches for the special masses in the remembrance of St. Francis, so the people travel from all over the world and country on a Kenya safari to come and pray in this small church because they believe that St. Francis Xavier’s powers are still in the existence.