FIRST BISHOP OF BENIN DIOCESE
Sam U. Erivwo, Ph.D.
Reproduced in URHOBO WAADO by kind permission of Professor Sam U. Erivwo
Bishop Agori Iwe, whose biography is contained
in this work, lived from about 1906 to 1979. He was born at a time Christianity
was beginning to spread in the Western Delta chiefly as a result of the work
of Bishop James Johnson and his agents of the
Agori Iwe accepted
christianity when the new faith arrived at their
His training at St.
Andrew’s School Warri, St. Andrew’s College Oyo, and his ordination course
Indeed, it would appear that those who recommended him for the espicopany were convinced that in him were the qualities needed to weld people of different ethnic groups together. For, the Archbishop’s Advisory Committee charged with the responsibility of recommending a candidate to the House of Bishops, stated in its report: “One of the problems facing the new Diocesan would be to weld the two parts of the Diocese together, and to get the different clans to work amicably for the extension of Christ’s kingdom”.
And for the period
(1962-1979) Agori was Bishop of Benin Diocese, a Diocese made up of different
ethnic groups and formed from two Dioceses (Ondo-Benin, whose background
was the Yoruba Mission, and the Diocese on the
He encouraged evangelism, and held the Evangelist Chief Cornelius Adam Igbudu, the founder of A.A.P.S. (Adam’s Anglican Preaching Society) in very high regard.
A disciplinarian, Agori did not spare the rod to spoil the child, at home, in school, or in the church. He was awe and fear inspiring. This made him to appear to be a threat to some workers. His huge size was itself intimidating. But those who knew him truly and worked closely with him knew that he was a father indeed, always appearing with his beaming smile.
It was inevitable, that Agori but the nature of his position as disciplinarian, would step on toes of some people, and he did. But no matter, the short comings, he may have had, especially when certain members of the Anglican Church in Benin Diocese had to be excommunicated by him as a result of apparent charismatic excess, which he saw were undermining the authority of the church, he did whatever he did in the conviction that the first law in heaven is order. His action in also disciplining also go down well with some members of the church
Like any human being, he may have had his weaknesses. But when his achievements are surveyed vis-ά-vis his weaknesses, the verdict cannot but be that he was almighty man of valor, a successful soldier of Christ, a worthy ambassador of the kingdom.
Agori was always first. He was the first trained Schoolteacher in Urhoboland, the first trained catechist in the same area, the first ordained priest among the Urhobo and Isoko people, and the first Bishop of Benin Diocese.
All these aspects of the work and life of Bishop Agori Iwe, you will find in his biography which Ven. Prof. Sam. U. Erivwo has written.
The purpose of reading
and studying the lives of great men is to be inspired by them. I have no doubt,
that Agori Iwe: Life and Work will inspire all who
diligently read and study it. It is a significant addition to our knowledge
of great men of God who had lived and worked in the church in