Gifted multi-lingual musician appointed Pope's first ever African ambassador to Ireland

Catholic CommsArchbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo

The first ever African priest has been appointed as the Pope's ambassador to Ireland.

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, aged 60, to serve as Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, starting from this summer.

He succeeds Charles Brown, who is moving to a new diplomatic posting in Albania.

Okolo, ordained in 1983, is from Kano in Nigeria. He obtained his first degree in Nigeria and then studied for a doctorate in Rome, and is fluent in English, French, Italian, Igbo, Spanish and German. 

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said: 'I warmly welcome the appointment by His Holiness Pope Francis of Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo as Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland and I wish him many blessings in his new role. Archbishop Okolo's rich experience in the diplomatic service of the Holy See means that he brings many gifts to bear on his new mission in Ireland. I pray that his time among us as the representative of the Holy Father will be blessed and fruitful.'

Okolo's first foreign posting was in June 1990, in Sri Lanka. He went on to serve in Haiti, the Antillean Islands including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas and Jamaica, in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Australia.

He has also been Apostolic Nuncio to the Central African Republic and Chad and to the Dominican Republic, and Apostolic Delegate in Puerto Rico.

His interests include sacred music, piano, reading and table tennis.