Nigerian Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo from Ozubulu in Nnewi Diocese, Anambra state, was on Sunday May 1, 2022 appointed as the new apostolic nuncio to the Czech Republic by Pope Francis.
He will replace Charles Daniel Balvo, who has served as apostolic nuncio to the Czech Republic for the past four years.
Archbishop Okolo was born on December 18, 1956 and is a prelate of the Catholic Church who has worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1990. He was ordained a priest by Francis Cardinal Arinze in July 2,1983 and was consecrated a Bishop by the same Francis Cardinal Arinze in on September 27, 2008.
Other posts Archbishop Okolo has held in the Catholic Church are Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Apostolic Delegate to Puerto Rico and Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.
An apostolic nuncio, also known as a papal nuncio or simply as a nuncio, is an ecclesiastical diplomat serving as an envoy or a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See to a country or to an international organization. A papal Nuncio is an ambassador of the Holy See to another country.
A nuncio is appointed by the Pope and represents the Holy See, and is the head of the diplomatic mission, called an Apostolic Nunciature, which is the equivalent of an embassy. An Apostolic Nuncio is usually an Archbishop.
An apostolic nuncio is generally equivalent in rank to that of ambassador extraordinary, although in Catholic countries the nuncio often ranks above ambassadors from other countries in diplomatic protocol. A nuncio performs the same functions as an ambassador and has the same diplomatic privileges. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the Holy See is a member, a nuncio is an ambassador like those from any other country.
The Vienna Convention allows a country to grant seniority of precedence to the nuncio over others of ambassadorial rank accredited to the same country, and may grant the deanship of that country’s diplomatic corps to the nuncio regardless of seniority. That is papal ambassadors are expected to be the leader of all other ambassadors in the countries they are sent.
Nuncios also serve as the liaison between the Holy See and the Church in that particular nation they are posted to, supervising the diocesan episcopate (usually a national or multinational conference of bishops which has its own chairman, elected by its members). The nuncio has an important role in the selection of bishops in the country he is working.
The Holy See is the name given to the government of the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the pope as the bishop of Rome. As such, the Holy See’s authority extends over Catholics throughout the world.
The Holy See is legally distinct from the Vatican City. It is the central governing body of the worldwide Catholic Church, headquartered in the Vatican City. So, Vatican City is used when referring to a country while Holy See is used when referring to the area governed by the Bishop of Rome, which includes the Vatican and the entire Catholic across the world.
- Other Nigerians occupying these positions are Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu from Aba Diocese, Abia state who is the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva; and Archbishop Brain Udaigwe from Orlu Diocese, Imo state who is the Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka.