Africa Center for Apologetics Research Contending for the Faith once for all delivered to the saints
  1. Vision Uganda
  2. Cultic Groups in East Africa
  3. Resources
  4. Donate Now
  5. Blog
  6. Endorsements and Partners
  7. Contact ACFAR

"Pope" Raphael Titus Otieno


Legio Maria

Maria Legio

"Pope" Simeon Melchior Ondeto (aka "Baba Messiah"), Gaudencia Aoko

"Pope" Raphael Titus Otieno

western Kenya (1962-63)

Got Kwer, Kenya

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, "It arose in Kenya from a heavenly visit experienced in 1962 by a Luo farmer and Roman Catholic catechist, Simeon Ondeto." According to one summary, "it worships a black messiah, claiming that its founder, Simeo Ondeto, was Jesus Christ reincarnated in African skin." According to another description, "Among Legio Maria members, central importance is given to the need to control the world of the spirits through possession, exorcism, healing, and the actual use of mediums, who are mainly lay people and members of the movement."

Often described as the largest African independent church with Roman Catholic origins. Members are said to abstain from dancing and from consuming pork, certain leafy vegetables, alcohol, and drugs. Polygamy is permitted.

three million

Burundi, Congo (Democratic Republic), Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda

English, Luo, Swahili

Listen on Apple Podcasts
© Africa Centre for Apologetics Research | Email:
Address: Post Office Box 72405—Clocktower | Kampala, UGANDA | Tel. +256 706 000 664
An affiliate ministry of The Centers for Apologetics Research (CFAR)
ACFAR Vision: A permanent ministry in Africa to answer the challenge of cults and aberrant Christian movements.
Uganda and its neighboring nations have a tragic history with cultic groups and false teaching. Learn more about this growing challenge.
Pastors, professors, and Christian leaders agree: The time for this ministry is now. Read what they have to say here.
Make a donation through our parent ministry, The Centers for Apologetics Research (CFAR).
The Challenge of the Cults in East Africa,
plus a growing collection of articles, audio, and videos.
News and commentary on equipping Christians to defend their faith in today Africa.
• Got a question?
• Sign up to receive ministry updates by e-mail