Nigerian-Vatican Diplomatic Relations: Evangelisation and Catholic Missionary Enterprise 1884-1950

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Historical memory is the perception of order in what has been done and said. Such a memory creates awareness and consciousness, both individually and socially. Together it generates discernment and wisdom for the future, for the res gerendae. This work is a documentation of the beginnings of the Church in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. It tries to bring the two coordinates of the Church's presence in Africa together: the past and the future. The former seems to point to, and almost map out, the latter. Writing and reconstructing the history of missionary enterprise and the development of the Nigerian Church, various political, religious and economic groups and concepts have to be taken into account: Missionary and religious groups, the Vatican, the colonial powers and traditional leadership, slave trade and its emancipation, Protestantism, the First and Second World Wars, African traditional religion(s), Inculturation, the Nigerian People, catechists and, most importantly, African culture. Blaise Okachibe Okpanachi examines the process of Christianisation in Nigeria from its beginnings in 1884 until 1950. He depicts the developments, not only from the Roman Catholic point of view but fills in the background with information about the Protestant missionaries and the spread of Islam in Africa. The work is aptly illustrated with quotations from letters from contemporary witnesses which Mr. Okpanachi collected in various archives throughout Europe. (Cynthia Schroll).