Europe

First African priest to hold diplomatic role in Ireland

Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo Image copyright Catholic Communications Office
Image caption Archbishop Okolo is due to take up the role during the summer

Pope Francis has appointed an African priest to the role of apostolic nuncio to Ireland, for the first time.

The position of Apostolic Nuncio is the Vatican's diplomatic representative in Ireland. Pope Francis appointed 60-year-old Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo from Kano in Nigeria.

Archbishop Okolo is due to take up the role during the summer.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin has welcomed the appointment.

He said his "rich experience in the diplomatic service of the Holy See" meant he brought "many gifts".

The outgoing papal nuncio to Ireland Charles Brown, will now move to Albania to take up a new diplomatic post.

Archbishop Okolo entered the priesthood in 1983. He served as an apostolic nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad in 2008, and then as the Pope's diplomatic representative to the Dominican Republic in 2013.

The new papal nuncio worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See, in Sri Lanka, then went on to become a pontifical representative in Hati, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Australia and the Antillean Islands.

He speaks English, French, Italian, Igbo, Spanish and German.

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