The former archbishop and primate, a lieutenant-colonel
He was consecrated as the second bishop of the Diocese of Asaba in May 2001. Afterward elected the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel on 22 July 2005 following the death of Archbishop Albert Agbaje.
Nicholas Okoh Biography
Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh was born on 10th of November 1952, at Owa-Alero in the Delta State. He is the former archbishop of Abuja Province and primate of the Church of Nigeria in the Anglican Communion. He retired on 25 March, 2020.
Nicholas Okoh was a son of poor peasant farmers. From 1958 to 1964 he had his secondary school education at St. Michael’s (Anglican) School, in Owa-Alero, from 1958 to 1964, hen he got his First School Leaving Certificate. He worked then for four years at his uncle’s business, until starting his own. He joined the Nigerian Army in 1969, having not yet been confirmed. He fought in the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, losing his faith at the end of hostilities. He had a sudden conversion in early 1971, reading then the entire Bible. He was confirmed at St. Stephen’s Cathedral Ondro, in 1975. Okoh continued his religious studies, becoming a freelance Evangelist and a catechist, from 1975 to 1976. He undertook his Pastoral Studies at Immanuel College of Theology, in Ibadan from 1976 to 1979, obtaining a Diploma in Religious Studies and another in Theology. Okoh served in the Nigerian Army, being commissioned as a lieutenant in 1982, promoted to captain in 1986, then to major in 1991 and lieutenant-colonel in 1996, his current rank.
He was ordained a deacon in July 1979 and a priest in July 1980. He continued his studies at the University of Ibadan, from 1979 to 1982, receiving a B.A., and later from 1984 to 1985, obtaining his M.A. degree. He became a canon in 1987 and an archdeacon in April 1991. He was consecrated as the second bishop of the Diocese of Asaba in May 2001. He was elected the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel on 22 July 2005 following the death of Archbishop Albert Agbaje.
In July 2009, in a sermon in Beckenham, Kent, Okoh made statements suggesting that Africa was under attack from Islam and that Muslims are “mass-producing” children to take over communities on the continent. He said that there was a determined Islamic attack in African countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, a statement for which he was criticized by Muslims.
He was elected Primate on September 15, 2009, having worked with the previous Primate, the Most Reverend Peter Akinola for a couple of transition months. He was installed as Primate on March 25, 2010.
He has been one of the leading names of the Anglican realignment, both as a member of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Global South (Anglican). Okoh led the large delegation of 470 members of the Church of Nigeria that attended GAFCON 2, from 21 to 26 October 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Okoh was one of the speakers at the Colloquium on Marriage, held in the Vatican, in November 2014, at invitation of Pope Francis, whom he had the chance to meet and greet at the occasion.In 2017 he was one of three Anglican primates to decline to attend the international primates’ meeting due to disagreements with other churches of the Anglican Communion, citing “broken fellowship over homosexual practice, same-sex marriage, and the blurring of gender identity”. Speaking in Abuja in 2018 Okoh said that homosexuality is “veritably poisoning” Nigerian society, blaming satellite broadcasting and international media, and the disruption of traditional culture through urbanisation.
It was announced at the conclusion of GAFCON 3 on 22 June 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel that in early 2019 Archbishop Okoh will step down as Chairman of GAFCON’s Primates Council. He was succeeded by Archbishop Foley Beach, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America
He got married to Nkasiobi Amaechi on October 4th, 1986. The marriage is blessed with 5 children.
Okoh was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in the Nigerian Army, a position he held before the House of Bishops elected him Bishop of Asaba in March 2001.
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