The idea of building a seminary for the Archdiocese of Nyeri was conceived by the late Rt. Rev. Caesar Maria Gatimu, of happy memory. Before he died he had sought and obtained the necessary financial resources for the construction of the seminary. The idea was provoked by the abundance of priestly vocations especially in the Archdiocese of Nyeri. It was becoming increasingly difficult to get enough space in the national seminaries for all the young men presenting themselves for the service of the Lord. He also wanted a seminary where young men would be formed according to his vision of what a future priest should be like and also to train them according to the specific needs of the Archdiocese of Nyeri.
The project of constructing the seminary was undertaken by Bishop Gatimu’s successor to the see of Nyeri, the late Most Rev. Nicodemus Kirima. The new Archbishop set aside 200 acres for the major seminary. He was fully involved in all facets of the construction and rallied the faithful of the diocese to ensure the realization of the seminary building project. The seminary finally opened its doors to the first group of 85 students on the 8th of March 1990. They were placed under 7 priests as their formators.
The seminary has now been in existence for 31 years and has grown to have a student body of 327. It has three schools: the school of spirituality, the school of philosophy and the school of theology. The school of spirituality currently has 60 students, the school of philosophy 127 while that of theology has 140 students. Though it is a diocesan seminary, it serves a much wider community. Indeed it serves 20 dioceses across the country with only about 20% of the total intake being from the Nyeri Archdiocese.
Christ the King Major Seminary is situated in the central highlands of Kenya in the area sandwiched between Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains. The area is over 1,700 meters in altitude. Temperatures range from about 8°C during the cold months of June to August to about 28°C during the hottest months at the beginning of the year. It is located about 12 km outside Nyeri town and about 1.5 km off the Nyeri-Nyahururu road. Nyeri town, which was the provincial headquarters of the now defunct Central Province, is the capital of Nyeri County. The seminary is not far from the famous Treetops Tourist Hotel.
Although it admits and serves seminarians from several dioceses in the country, Christ the King Major Seminary is wholly owned by the Archdiocese of Nyeri and the Archbishop of Nyeri is therefore the legal holder of the institution. It is built on land registered in favour of the Archdiocese of Nyeri and held in trust by the Archdiocese of Nyeri trustees.
Achievements of Purpose
Christ the King Major Seminary has produced over 100 priests and many deacons. The deacons are assigned pastoral duties while awaiting ordination to the priesthood. The institution continues to offer exemplary training of seminarians. The priests who have graduated from this seminary are very well formed.
These high levels of training have been achieved because our seminary has always ensured it has a well-trained and complete body of faculty members. Our library is among the best equipped libraries of the seminaries in Kenya. In particular, there has been a very good liturgical formation tradition because our seminary has never lacked a well-trained liturgist; it has thus exercised a good liturgical influence throughout Kenya. The seminary has started offering short, focused and need-driven courses e.g. diploma in social ministry, to the clergy in the Archdiocese of Nyeri and beyond. The aim is to offer priestly on-going formation to those who have graduated from here and others.