Pope Francis Erects New Metropolitan See in Zambia, Appoints Pioneer Local Ordinary

Archbishop-elect Benjamin Phiri of the newly erected Archdiocese of Ndola. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Ndola

Pope Francis has erected the Catholic Archdiocese of Ndola in Zambia and appointed Bishop Benjamin Phiri the pioneer Archbishop.

The Southern African nation has had two Metropolitan Sees, the Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka that is headquartered in the country’s capital city, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Kasama in Northern Zambia.

The latest administrative changes in the Southern African nation were made public by the Holy See Press office on Tuesday, June 18.

The newly erected Metropolitan See that is located in the central region of ​​Zambia measures 32,000 square kilometers and has a population of 3,223,400 of which 1,920,580 are Catholic faithful, representing 59.6 percent of the total population of the territory of the Diocese, according to the Holy See Press report.

With Kabwe and Solwezi as suffragan Dioceses, the new Metropolitan See starts off with 187 Priests (106 diocesan and 81 religious), 151 religious brothers and 340 nuns, 143 major seminarians, and several catechists.


Archbishop-elect Phiri has been serving as Bishop of Ndola since his installation in August 2020.

Born in June 1959 in the Diocese of Chipata, he was ordained a Priest of the same Episcopal See in September 1986.

The Archbishop-elect holds a licentiate in Canon Law from the Rome-based Pontifical Urban University (Urbaniana).

He previously served as the National Director of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (ZCCB) Pastoral Office and Director of the Vocational Pastoral Ministry in his native Diocese of Chipata, where he also started his Episcopal Ministry as Auxiliary Bishop in April 2011.

Previously as a Priest, he had served as a Personal Secretary of the former Bishop of Chipata, Medardo Mazombwe who was, in November 1996, appointed the Archbishop of Lusaka and later, after his retirement in October 2006, elevated to Cardinal in November 2010; he passed on in August 2013.

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In his 2024 Lenten Message, Bishop Phiri called on Christians in Zambia to nurture a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ and maintain their focus on Him amid “many” life’s challenges. 

He also cautioned Christians against sinful lifestyles, saying, “Remain focussed on Christ, regardless of the many political, social, economic, and spiritual challenges that we are going through.”

The pioneer Archbishop for the newly erected Zambian Metropolitan See described the challenges the people of God encounter as “insurmountable” and called for steadfastness in the ways of the Lord, adding, “The angels of God are and shall remain to administer to us.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.