Pope Francis Transfers, Appoints Apostolic Nuncios to South Africa, Lesotho, DR Congo

Archbishop Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński (left) and Archbishop Mitja Leskovar (right). Credit: GCBC/Vatican Media

The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński, and Archbishop Mitja Leskovar as Apostolic Nuncios to South Africa and Lesotho, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) respectively.

The transfers of Archbishop Jagodziński and Archbishop Leskovar from the Apostolic Nunciatures of Ghana and Iraq, respectively, were made public by the Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, April 16.

Born in Poland in January 1969, Archbishop Jagodziński was ordained a Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Kielce in the Central European country in June 1995. 

He entered the Holy See diplomatic service in 2001 and has since served in the Pontifical Representations in Belarus, Croatia, and India as well as the Vatican’s Section for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State.

Assigned the Titular See Limosano at his Episcopal Consecration in July 2020, the Polish Vatican diplomat, who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana following his appointment in May 2020 had also served as First Counsellor in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.


In South Africa and Lesotho, Archbishop Jagodziński succeeds Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells who was transferred to the Vatican Diplomatic Mission in Thailand and Cambodia in February 2023.

Archbishop Wells had been serving as the Papal Representative in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa since February 2016.

In the latest administrative changes in Africa, the Holy Father has also filled the Apostolic Nunciature in the DRC, following his appointment of Archbishop Ettore Balestrero as Permanent Observer to the United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva last June.

Archbishop Leskovar, the newly appointed Apostolic Nuncio in DRC, which is home to Africa's largest Catholic population, was born in January 1970 in Kranj, Slovenia. 

He was ordained a Priest of Slovenia’s Catholic Archdiocese of Ljubljana in June 1995.

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He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in July 2001; he has served in various Pontifical Representations including Germany, India, and Bangladesh where he worked in the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The Vatican diplomat was assigned the Titular See of Beneventum at his Episcopal Consecration in August 2020 following his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq in May 2020.

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