Fortunatus Nwachukwu

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Fortunatus Nwachukwu
Secretary of the Section of First Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization
Titular Archbishop of Aquaviva
Appointed17 December 2021
PredecessorIvan Jurkovič
Other post(s)Titular Archbishop of Aquaviva
Ordination17 June 1984
by Anthony Gogo Nwedo
Consecration6 January 2012
by Pope Benedict XVI, Tarcisio Bertone and Zenon Grocholewski
Personal details
Born (1960-05-10) 10 May 1960 (age 64)
Previous post(s)
Alma materPontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas
Coat of armsFortunatus Nwachukwu's coat of arms
Styles of
Fortunatus Nwachukwu
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop

Fortunatus Nwachukwu // (born 10 May 1960) is a Nigerian prelate of the Catholic Church who works in the Roman Curia as secretary of the Section of First Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization. He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1994 and held the rank of apostolic nuncio from 2012, when he also became an archbishop.


Fortunatus Nwachukwu was born in Ntigha, in present-day Abia State, Nigeria, on 10 May 1960.[1][a] He entered Immaculate Conception Seminary in Ahiaeke Umuahia in January 1972 and taught mathematics and Latin there from 1975 to 1977. He then studied at the philosophy faculty of the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Ikot Ekpene. He continued at the theology faculty from 1980 to 1984, earning his Bachelor of Divinity degree summa cum laude.[2] He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Umuahia on 17 June 1984 by Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo in St. Eugene Parish Church in Aba and incardinated in the newly created Diocese of Aba on 2 April 1990.[2][3] After ordination he taught and then became vice-rector of the Immaculate Conception Seminary and parochial vicar and administrator of the St Anne’s Parish in Ibeku from 1984 to 1986. At the same time he was diocesan vocations director and chaplain of the Federal College of Agriculture and the Umuahia Campus of Alvan Ikoku College of Education, both in Umudike-Umuahia.[2]

Beginning in 1986 he studied at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, Sankt Georgen, in Frankfurt, Germany.[2] He earned a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Urban University in 1994 with a dissertation on "The Birth of Systematic Theology in Contemporary Black Africa: An Investigation Into New Interpretations of the Christian Faith by the Newly Evangelized".[4] He also studied diplomacy for two years at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 1 July 1994. His first assignments were in Ghana, Paraguay, Algeria, and Geneva.[b] He then worked in Rome in the Second Section of the Secretariat of State.[1] At the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum he completed a doctorate in canon law in 1996 with a dissertation entitled "Canons 364 and 365, the Holy See and the State of Israel: an example of the logic of pontifical diplomacy.[6]

Nwachukwu in his role as Head of Protocol

He was appointed Chief of Protocol of the Secretariat of State on 4 September 2007.[7][8] He speaks a number of languages including English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, in addition to Arabic.

On 12 November 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Titular Archbishop of Aquaviva and apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua.[1] Pope Benedict consecrated him a bishop on 6 January 2013.[9]

On 4 November 2017 Pope Francis appointed him apostolic nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, and Apostolic Delegate to the Antilles.[10] He received additional assignments: as Apostolic Nuncio to Saint Lucia, Grenada, and the Bahamas on 27 February 2018;[11] as Apostolic Nuncio to Suriname on 9 March 2018;[12] and Apostolic Nuncio to Belize on 8 September 2018.[13]

On 17 December 2021, Pope Francis named him Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva and at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Holy See Representative at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).[14] During his last month in this position, he addressed the Human Rights Council on the deprivation of human rights in Nicaragua, noting "the reported closure of several independent media outlets and non-governmental organizations, including faith-based organizations, and the allegations of the systematic use of violence by law enforcement in a climate of general impunity".[15]

On 23 December 2021, following his Christmas address to senior members of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis gave each attendee three books he recommended, including Nwachukwu's recent work on gossip, The Abused Word.[16]

On 15 March 2023, Pope Francis named him secretary of the Section of First Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization[17]


He has received the following honors:[18]

  • Honorary Citizen of the State of Nebraska and the City of Lincoln (United States), 2008
  • Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, 2007
  • Grand Officer of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins (Chile), 2009
  • Grand Cross of the Order of May (Argentina), 2011
  • Grand Official of the Heraldic Order of Christopher Columbus (Dominican Republic), 2012
  • Grand Cruz of di Order of José de Marcoleta (Nicaragua), 2018
  • Title of "Chief Nwanne Di Na Mba 1 of Eziaba Agbani" awarded by the Eziaba Agbani Community of Enugu State, 2012


  1. ^ He was born "in Umuokoro, Eziama-Ntigha, in Isia-Ala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State".[2]
  2. ^ As a member of the Holy See's staff in Geneva in March 2005, he addressed the executive committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees on the need for international aid in Sudan’s Darfur region.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Rinunce e Nomine, 12.11.2012" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Chioma, Unini (20 December 2021). "Pope Francis Appoints Nigerian Priest As Permanent Representative To UN". The Nigerian Lawyer. Archived from the original on 20 December 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  3. ^ Watkins, Devin (15 March 2023). "Pope appoints new Secretary of Dicastery for Evangelization". Nigeria Catholic Network. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  4. ^ "The Birth of Systematic Theology in Contemporary Black Africa". Google Books. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  5. ^ "Vatican Says Displaced Africans, Refugees Need More Help". America. 28 March 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  6. ^ "Canons 364 and 365 the Holy See and the State of Israel". Google Books. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  7. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 04.09.2007" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Pope names Nigerian priest protocol chief for secretariat of state". Catholic News Agency. 5 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Magi were 'men who sought God,' Pope tells new bishops". Catholic News Agency. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 04.11.2017" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 4 November 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 27.02.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 09.03.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 08.09.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 8 September 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 17.12.2021" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 17 December 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Holy See speaks to Human Rights Council about Nicaragua's rights violations". La Croix. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  16. ^ White, Christopher (23 December 2021). "Pope Francis pleads for humility in pre-Christmas speech to Vatican officials". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  17. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 15.03.2023" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 15 March 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  18. ^ "Pope Francis: Meet Nigerian Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu wey Vatican appoint as Permanent Observer to United Nations". BBC. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2023.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Head of Protocol of Secretariat of State of the Holy See
4 September 2007 – 12 November 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua
12 November 2012 – 4 November 2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva
17 December 2021 – 15 March 2023
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Titular Archbishop of Aquaviva
2012 – present