Roman Catholic Diocese of Ahiara
|Diocese of Ahiara|
|Territory||Mbaise, Imo State|
|Metropolitan||Archbishop of Owerri|
|Area||425 km2 (164 sq mi)|
(as of 2004)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||November 18, 1987|
|Cathedral||Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral|
Ahiara is in Imo State which is shown in red.
- November 18, 1987: Established as Diocese of Ahiara from the Diocese of Owerri
- Bishop Victor Adibe Chikwe (1987-2010)
Since 2012, the clergy and laity of the diocese have refused to accept the bishop appointed as their ordinary, Peter Ebere Okpaleke, because he is not of the Mbaise ethnic group or chosen from among the local priests.
On July 3, 2013, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, was appointed Apostolic Administrator.
On June 8, 2017, Pope Francis, having received a delegation from the Diocese, gave all members of the diocesan clergy (priests and deacons) 30 days to personally write to the Vatican pledging obedience to the Pope and accepting Bishop Okpaleke. Those who failed to write would be suspended a divinis (which would prohibit a priest or deacon from administering any of the Sacraments, save for a priest hearing the Confession of a person in danger of death), and would be removed from their posts. He had considered suppressing the diocese, but decided against that idea. The papal text in English was posted June 9 on the blog of Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos, president of the Nigerian bishops' conference. On July 8, it was reported that while the letter of apology was sent, the appointment of Bishop Okpalaeke was still rejected by the local priests who insisted that the Vatican was enforcing racial discrimination in the country by hiring outsider priests to become Bishops.
On July 22, 2017 Pope Francis agreed to respond through emissaries to the individual priests protesting Bishop Okpalaeke's appointment. Two days later, Barr Chizoba Nnagboh, chairman of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), described the words and actions of the dissenting clergy to be scandalous and disgraceful.
- ""MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS, POPE FRANCIS TO THE DIOCESE OF AHIARA"". Retrieved June 13, 2017.