Our History

A BRIEF HISTROY OF THE DIOCESE

Ikot Ekpene Diocese, located in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, is one of the Dioceses under the suffragan of the Metropolitan of the Calabar Ecclesiastical Province of Calabar since 1993. It covers an area of 2,263 square kilometres with population of about 836,353 in habitants (1991 Census) of which about 80% are Christians and about 10% of the population is Catholic.

The earliest date for the foundation of any mission Church in Ikot Ekpene was in 1914 by the missionary fathers at Anua, St Anne Station, Ifuho, which is now the Cathedral parish. It was established in 1918 with Rev. Fathers Paul Biechy, CSSP; and James Moynagh, SPS; as the first resident priests in 1920 and 1930 respectively under Bishop Joseph Shanahan – the pioneer Holy Ghost Bishop of Southern Nigeria with his headquarters at Onitsha.

Ikot Ekpene has always been associated with Calabar Mission, which was established when Fr. James Moynagh, SPC, was appointed the Prefect Apostolic on July 9, 1934. When the Prefecture was raised to the status of Vicariate Apostolic on June 13, 1947, the Pastoral Care of the entire territory was entrusted to Bishop James Moynagh who became the Bishop of Calabar diocese on April 18, 1950.

With the appointment of Bishop Moynagh, SPC, the Holy Ghost Fathers were replaced by the St. Patrick Fathers who thenceforth have been indeed the Founding Fathers of Evangelization in Calabar, Ogoja, Ikot Ekpene, Port Harcourt and Uyo Dioceses.

On March 1, 1963, Most Rev Bishop Dominic I. Ekandem who was ordained a priest on December 7, 1947 in Ifuho Cathedral and consecrated an Auxiliary Bishop on February 7, 1954 by Bishop Moynagh as the consecrating prelate and Bishops peter Rogan MHF of Buea and Paul Biechy of Brazzaville as co-consecrators at Sacred Heart Cathedral was appointed the first Resident Bishop of Ikot Ekpene Diocese with the then Civil Provinces of Abak and Ikot Ekpene all of the Annang ethnic extraction under it.

He was the Bishop of Ikot Ekpene from 1963 to 89.On October 31, 1971, Most Rev. Bishop Ephraim. S. Obot who later became the Bishop of Idah Diocese in Kogi State (1971-2010), was appointed Auxiliary to Bishop Dominic Ekandem. Under Bishop Dominic Ekandem, Ikot Ekpene Diocese witnessed a tremendous growth in the ordination of indigenous priests. Creation of parishes, establishment of schools, hospitals and centres for the physically and handicapped as well as the nomination of Most Rev. D.I. Ekandem to the Cardinalate on April 27, 1975 and his creation in the Consistory as the first Cardinal in Nigeria on May 24, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.

On the appointment of His Eminence, Dominic Cardinal Ekandem to the See of Abuja Federal Capital territory of Nigeria (FCT) in 1989, the mantle of leadership fell on Most Bishop Camillus A. Etokudoh who was consecrated the Auxiliary Bishop of Ikot Ekpene Diocese on May 14, 1988. Bishop Etokudoh was appointed the Successor to Dominic Cardinal Ekandem on September 1, 1989 and installed the second Bishop of Ikot Ekpene Catholic Diocese on February 3, 1990. Following the transfer/translation of Most Rev. Camillus A. Etokudoh to and as the Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese on May 4, 2009, Msgr. Camillus Raymond Umoh was appointed the Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene on July 16, 2010 to replace Most Rev. Bishop C. A. Etokudoh. He was ordained on May 9, 2010 as the third Bishop of Ikot Ekpene Catholic Diocese.

 

First Mass in the Diocese ………………………………....          1914

First Missionary …………………………………………..              Rev. Fr. Paul Biechy

First Bishop ………………………………………………               Dominic Cardinal Ekandem

Second Bishop...........................................................           Most Rev. Camillus Etokudoh

Population of the Diocese………………………………….           1,030,896

Number of Catholics ………………………………………....        117,609

Parish and Quasi Parishes …………………………………         41

Churches or Mission Stations ………………………………         05

Secular Priests resident in the Diocese …………………….       60

Religious Priests resident in the Diocese ………………….        04

Members of Men’s Religious Institutions.........................         37

Members of Women’s Religious Institutions …………….          96

Educational Institutes ……………………………………..           53

Charitable institutes   …………………………………….            48

 

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