“Significant milestone in ecclesiastical landscape”: Zambia’s Council of Churches on New Catholic Archdiocese Erection

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

The latest ecclesiastical changes in the Southern African nation of Zambia with the erection of a new Metropolitan See of Ndola is “a significant milestone” in the country, members of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) have said.

In a congratulatory message following the announcement of the erection of the new Catholic Archdiocese in Zambia and the appointment of Bishop Benjamin Phiri as pioneer Local Ordinary on June 18, CCZ members describe the move as an “achievement” worth celebrating.

“The elevation of Ndola to an Archdiocese marks a significant milestone in the ecclesiastical landscape of Zambia, and we celebrate this achievement with joy and gratitude,” CCZ members say in the message shared with ACI Africa on Wednesday, June 19.

They add, “This historic development is a testament to the unwavering dedication and commitment of the Catholic Church to the spiritual and social upliftment of our communities.”

CCZ members laud the choice of Bishop Phiri as pioneer Local Ordinary of the new Metropolitan See, saying, “His exemplary leadership, deep faith, and tireless service have been an inspiration to many.”


“We have no doubt that under his guidance, the Archdiocese of Ndola will continue to flourish and make profound contributions to the spiritual growth and development of the people,” they add.

In the message, CCZ members pledge to continue the ongoing collaboration with Catholic Bishops under their umbrella body, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) in fostering unity, peace, and social justice in the country.

“We believe that through continued collaboration and mutual support, we can achieve great strides in addressing the spiritual and socio-economic challenges faced by our communities,” they say.

The newly erected Archdiocese brings to three Metropolitan Sees in Zambia, in addition to the Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka, which is headquartered in the country’s capital city, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Kasama in the Northern part of the country.

Located in the central region of ​​Zambia, Ndola Archdiocese 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.

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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 the Local Ordinary of Ndola since his installation in August 2020.

Born in June 1959 in Zambia’s Catholic 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.

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.