AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Pope creates new diocese of Awgu and appoints its first Bishop

Friday, 8 July 2005

Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on 8 July 2005 created the diocese of Awgu (Nigeria) with territory taken from the diocese of Enugu, making it suffragan of the metropolitan See of Onitsha. The Holy Father appointed first Bishop of Awgu Rev. John Ifeanyichukwu Okoye, of the clergy of Enugu, professor of Sacred Scripture and rector at Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu.

The new diocese of Awgu (Auguen/sis/ in Latin), covers 7 local government areas: Awgu, Agbogugu, Inyi, Ndeabor, Nnenwe, Owelli and Oji Rivers (except for the parish of Ukwuoba).
The diocese is situated in Enugu state and it borders to the north with the diocese of Enugu (Enugu state), to the east with Abakaliki (Ebonyi state), to the south with Umuahia (Abia state) and to the west with Awka (Anambra state).
St Michael Archangel parish church in Awgu the largest in the area will serve as a cathedral

The first Bishop of Awgu
Rev. John Ifeanyichukwu Okoye was born on 4 August 1950 at Owelli (Enugu diocese). After attending primarg schools in Owelli and Nsukka, he went to St. Peter Claver, minor Seminary in Opkala (1968) and then All Hallows Seminary in Onitsha (1969-1970). He followed courses in philosophy and theology at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu (1971-1978). He was ordained a priest on 22 July 1978 for the diocese of Enugu. He has since been: Bishop’s Secretary (1978-1980); diocesan secretary and chancellor (1980-1983); coordinator for hospitals, head of the diocesan land committee (1978-1983); further studies in Rome for licentiates in Sacred Scripture at the Biblicum College and Biblical Theology at the Angelicum University (1983-1994). Since 1995 has has been Professor and formator at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, where until now he was also Rector . (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 8/7/2005; Righe 66; Parole 366)