Peter Okpaleke

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Peter Ebere Okpaleke
Cardinal, Bishop of Ekwulobia
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed5 March 2020
Installed29 April 2020
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santi Martiri dell'Uganda a Poggio Ameno (2022-)
Ordination22 August 1990
Consecration21 May 2013
by Anthony John Valentine Obinna
Created cardinal27 August 2022
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Peter Ebere Okpaleke

(1963-03-01) 1 March 1963 (age 61)
Previous post(s)Bishop of Ahiara (2012-18)
MottoVeni Sancte Spiritus
("Come Holy Spirit")
Coat of arms

Peter Ebere Okpaleke listen (born 1 March 1963) is a Nigerian prelate of the Catholic Church who has been Bishop of Ekwulobia since 29 April 2020. He was appointed Bishop of Ahiara in 2012 and consecrated in 2013, but after the local clergy and laity insisted on an Mbaise bishop instead he was installed as bishop of Ekwulobia.He was later created a Cardinal in 2022 by Pope Francis on 27 August.

On 27 August 2022, Pope Francis made him a cardinal.



Peter Ebere Okpaleke born on 1 March 1963 in Amesi in Anambra State, Nigeria. He attended local schools and in 1983 entered the Bigard Memorial Major Seminary in Ikot-Ekpene and Enugu, where he studied philosophy and theology from 1983 to 1992. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Awka on 22 August 1990.[1]

In the twenty years following his ordination he filled a wide variety of pastoral and administrative positions, including university chaplain, parish priest, diocesan finance administrator, diocesan chancellor, and secretary and member of diocesan boards. He also studied canon law in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.[1]


On 7 December 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Okpaleke Bishop of Ahiara, Nigeria.[1] Okpaleke was consecrated a bishop on 21 May 2013. Because of objections to his appointment, his consecration was held outside the Diocese, in the Major Seminary of Ulakwo in the Archdiocese of Owerri.[2]

Local clergy and parishioners objected to his appointment and prevented him from entering the cathedral in order to take possession of the diocese.[3][4] A petition objecting to the fact that Okpaleke was not of the area's Mbaise ethnic origin was sent to Pope Benedict after he appointed Okpaleke bishop.[5] On 9 June 2017, Pope Francis gave clergy in the diocese 30 days to either write a letter promising obedience and accepting Okpaleke as their bishop or be suspended. Clergy sent letters of apology but continued to protest what they saw as racial discrimination.

On 19 February 2018, Pope Francis accepted Okpaleke's resignation as Bishop of Ahiara.[4][6]

On 5 March 2020, just over two years after accepting his resignation as Bishop of Ahiara, Pope Francis appointed Okpaleke the Bishop of the Diocese of Ekwulobia, a newly created diocese in Anambra State which formerly had its territory under the jurisdiction of Awka Diocese.[7][8] Okpaleke was installed there on 29 April 2020.[9]

Pope Francis made him a cardinal on 27 August 2022, assigning him to the rank of Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Martiri dell’Uganda a Poggio Ameno.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Rinunce e Nomine, 07.12.2012" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  2. ^ Tornielli, Andrea (19 February 2018). "Nigeria, the much-criticized bishop Okpaleke resigns". La Stampa. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  3. ^ Amadi, Alvan (28 October 2017). "Unprecedented crisis in Nigerian diocese still not resolved". Crux. Archived from the original on 16 August 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Pope Francis accepts the resignation of Nigerian Bishop". Vatican News. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  5. ^ Wooden, Cindy. "Pope tells Nigerian priests to accept bishop or be suspended". Catholic Register. Catholic News Service.
  6. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 19.02.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 05.03.2020" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 5 March 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ Attah, Aloysius (5 March 2020). "Pope Francis appoints ex-Ahiara bishop, Okpaleke, head new Ekwulobia diocese". The Sun Nigeria. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  9. ^ San Martín, Inés (5 May 2020). "Nigerian bishop rejected by Ahiara diocese installed as Bishop of Ekwulobia". Crux. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Assegnazione dei Titoli e delle Diaconie ai nuovi Cardinali" [Assignment of Titles and Deaconries to the new Cardinals]. The Holy See (in Italian). Ufficio delle Celebrazioni Liturgiche del Sommo Pontefice. 27 August 2022. Retrieved 28 August 2022.

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