Consecration of the African Native Bishop at St Paul ‘ s Cathedral , London . Left to right ; the Venerable Alphonso Cukwuma Onyeabo ( Assistant Bishop on the Niger ) , the Archbishop of Canterbury ( Cosmo Gordon Lang ) , and the Venerable Thomas Sylvester Claudius Johnson ( Assistant Bishop in Sierra Leone ) 11 June 1937 | Alfieri
Bishop Alphonso Chukwuma Onyeabo, O.B.E. 1879-1954:
He was born in Onitsha and hailed from the Royal family of Onitsha (Umuezearoli) Ezeolisa kindred of Umuaroli . His mother who was from a famous family in Umuasele village Onitsha was the elder sister of the late Rev. George Anyaegbunam and a first cousin to the Ibegbu family of the same village. She was one of the early Christians and had only two children….AGBOMA and Chukwuma (later Alphonso). He attended C.M.S school Onitsha, and after passing the then standard five exams with credits, went on to the CMS College Asaba in 1897. Upon graduation, he worked as a school master from 1900 to 1902. In 1903, he trekked to, and became a student of, the famous St Andrews College Oyo, under Bishop Jones. After a year there, he qualified as a catechist and from 1904 to 1909, taught in places around Onitsha and the Midwest. In 1908, he married Ms Dora Nwugoye of Mobile village, Umunachi near Ogidi and they had ten children, … Sidney, Suzanna, Dora, Eunice, Priscilla, Alphonso, James, Benjamin, David and Sophia. In 1909, he travelled to Oyo for the second time where he was made a deacon on the 22nd of August. He was transferred to Owerri in 1912. He did Ministerial work in Owerri for over 24 years and many of his children were born in that Archdeaconry. It was while in Owerri that he assisted Archdeacon Dennis with the translation of the Bible into Igbo. In 1914, he was ordained a priest and later became the Superintendent of Owerri District, a very vast area then. He established many churches facing and overcoming many challenges in the process. He also built many schools. In 1937, missionaries attending a huge general conference in London unanimously designated hop for consecration as the first Anglican Ibo Bishop, indeed, first Bishop of Imo extraction, and in 1937, he was thus consecrated, to the glory of God, at St. Paul s Cathedral ,London, alongside the late Bishop Johnson of Sierra Leone. The officiating Archbishop was the late Archbishop Cosmo Lang. Late Justice Louis Mbanefo was an eye witness to his consecration. Upon his return to NIGERIA, he worked as Bishop on the Niger Delta from 1937 to 1948, with his base as ABA. He died on 14 February 1954 Valentines day. At the beginning of the year 1954 Her Majesty the Queen had conferred on him the Honour of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The investiture was done posthumously at Enugu. Quote from the Times of London of 19 March 1954: “Bishop Onyeabo was a man of remarkable stature and bodily strength, being over 6 ft high and 18 stone in weight: his disposition was gentle and kindly. He was a wise administrator and counsellor to Africans and Europeans alike, and had deep knowledge and understanding of his own people among whom he had great authority” May his great soul continue to rest in perfect peace with the Lord whom he loved and served so deeply and sincerely.
Culled From: WikiVisually
Image Credit and Extractions: European Collection ( TopFoto )