Archive for the ‘Apollos’ Tag

Feast of Apolo Kivebulaya (May 30)   Leave a comment

Map (2)

Above:  The Borderlands of Uganda and Zaire, 1979

Image Source = The International Atlas (Rand McNally, 1979)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Apostle to the Pygmies

Also known as Waswa Munubi

From the calendar of saints of The Church of England comes Apolo Kievebulaya, Apostle to the Pygmies, to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

The life of our saint began in the Kingdom of Buganda, on the northwest coast of Lake Victoria in Uganda.  Waswa Munubi, one of five children, entered the world circa 1864.  His parents raised him to become a traditional healer, but he became disillusioned after learning that a local healer was a fraud.  Our saint converted to Islam and became a soldier instead.  Arab traders had introduced Islam to Buganda.   Muteesa I (reigned 1856-1884), the Kabaka of Buganda, had political-military problems with them by 1875, when he began to accept European weapons and Christian missionaries of various denominations.

The life of a soldier did not fit our saint.  Alexander Murdoch Mackay (1849-1890), a missionary from the (Presbyterian) Free Church of Scotland, arrived in Buganda in 1878.  He labored for Christ in Africa until 1890, when he died of Malaria.  Among the people in whom Mackay planted the seed of faith was Waswa Munubi.  In time our saint deserted the army and fled to the region of Ankole.  While he was hiding out our saint began to read the Gospel of Matthew.  He reported that Matthew 5:13, about being the salt of the earth, proved especially influential in helping him decide to become a Christian.  In 1894 our saint began to prepare for baptism.  That sacrament occurred on January 27, 1895.  He took the name Apolo, after St. Apollos, who, according to Acts 18:24-25, was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures” and “fervent in the spirit.”

At first Apolo worked as a catechist after studying at Kampala.  He catechized in the Toro region in 1895 then at Nyagawi (near the Rwenzori Mountains) in 1895-1896.  In 1896 our saint became the catechist in Boga.  Apolo had to contend with major challenges.  He had to face hostility because of his opposition to certain traditional practices, such as polygamy and drinking.  Furthermore, Chief Tabaro forbade the construction of a church building.  Then, in 1898, Tabaro scapegoated Apolo.  The chief’s sister, living in Apolo’s household, had fallen accidentally on a spear and died.  Apolo faced legal charges and spent months in prison until the dismissal of those charges.  Then Tabaro welcomed Apolo back, befriended him, and converted to Christianity.

 Apolo’s next phase of ministry was as a member of the clergy.  He became an Anglican deacon on December 21, 1900, and a priest in June 1903.  He never married.  Our saint had been engaged, but his intended died.  Afterward Apolo concluded that life as a single man was most conducive to his vocation.  Our saint received the name “Kivebulaya,” meaning “European,” for he wore a suit underneath his vestments.  He worked hard for Jesus, converting many people.  Apolo was a man of the people in the borderlands of Uganda and the Belgian Congo.  He lived among them, slept in their homes, and ate the food they offered.  He traveled in western Uganda and the northeastern Belgian Congo (the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016).  A border adjustment in 1915 meant that Boga (and therefore Apolo’s home base) became part of the Belgian Congo.  Among the groups to which our saint introduced the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the Pygmies, starting in 1921.

Our saint died in Boga on May 30, 1933.





Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Apolo Kivebulaya,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Uganda and the Belgian Congo.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716


Feast of Sts. Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos (February 13)   14 comments

Above:  Sts. Aquila and Priscilla

Image in the Public Domain



Coworkers of the Apostle Paul

Aquila and Priscilla (a.k.a. Prisca) were husband and wife.  Aquila was from Pontus.  He and Priscilla moved from Rome when the Emperor Claudius I ordered all Jews to leave the city.  So Aquila and Priscilla settled in Corinth, where they supported themselves by making tents.  When Paul came to Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla hosted him in their home for 18 months.

The Pauline Epistles reveal that Paul held the couple in high regard.  In Romans 16:3 (New Revised Standard Version) he wrote:

Greek Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Also, consider 1 Corinthians 16:19 (New Revised Standard Version):

Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, great you warmly in the Lord.

When Paul left Corinth for Syria, Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him as far as Ephesus.  There they encountered Apollos, a Jewish Christian from Alexandria, Egypt.  Apollos, who was preaching at Ephesus, had not heard of the Holy Spirit until Priscilla and Aquila informed him thereof.  Acts 18:24 provides an account of this.  By Acts 19:1 Apollos, Priscilla,and Aquila were in Corinth.

The name Apollos appears in Pauline Epistles.  In 1 Corinthians, for example, Paul mentions that a faction of the congregation in Corinth claims loyalty to Apollos.  There was no mention of what Apollos thought of this, although one may presume safely that he did not approve of this faction.)  And, in 1 Corinthians 16:12, Paul writes that Apollos is not in Corinth, and will return to that city “when he has the opportunity.”

Reading the Pauline Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles for clues to who certain people were can yield only sketchy information.  This is a problem with which historians of the ancient world are well acquainted, for their documentation can be scarce, too.  It is just that we modern Christians revere the work of Paul.  This is especially true if we are Gentiles.  Yet Paul did not work alone.  Let us honor his coworkers, also.



God of grace and might, we praise you for your servants Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos, to whom you gave gifts to make the good news known.  Raise up, we pray, in every country, evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Acts 18:1-4 and 18-28

Psalm 67

Matthew 12:15-21

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006)



Posted January 22, 2010 by neatnik2009 in February 13, Saints of the Bible

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