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Independent African church influenced by Roman Catholicism. It originated in Kenya in 1963 when two Catholics of the Luo group, Simeon Ondeto and Gaundencia Aoko, claimed to have undergone prophetic experiences. The church, which offers healing by prayer and exorcism of evil spirits, adds features of Pentecostalism to Catholic worship and hierarchy. In its first year it gained about 90,000 adherents, but membership had dropped to 50,000 by the end of the decade. It rejects Western and traditional medicines, alcohol, tobacco, and dancing but accepts polygamy and is strongly nationalistic.
Variants of MARIA LEGIO
Maria Legio or Legio Maria or Legion of Mary Church
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