The Catholic Church in Imo has distanced itself from Reverend Father Modestus Chilaka who claims to be a priest of the Catholic Church of the East.
The Church told Sunday Sun that Reverend Father Modestus Chilaka
is neither a member of the Catholic Church nor a priest of the church
and that the people should not be deceived.
According to the Director of Social Communication of the Catholic
Archdiocese of Owerri, Reverend Father George Nwachukwu, “what we know
very well is that Modestus Chilaka is not a priest and even the
Archbishop who came to ordain him from America came to us saying that he
wants to become a Catholic. So the Catholic Province of Owerri does not
recognize him and his church as part of the Roman Catholic Church.”
said, “the young man (Chilaka Modestus) wants to be a Catholic Priest
by all means but he has a bad reputation already by the things he has
Father Nwachukwu further revealed that even the Vatican has also
distanced itself from the activities of the Catholic Church of the East
because what they are doing is not in line with the dogmas, doctrines
and teachings of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
“So as far as the Catholic Church in the state is concerned, he is
not a Catholic priest either by ordination or by training and we want
the entire people of the state to take note of that, besides, their
training as priests is suspect,” Father Nwachukwu stressed.
Another Reverend Father, Reverend Father Ben Ogu who hails from
Ahiara Diocese of Mbaise where Father Chilaka comes from said that he
does not know the said Modestus Chilaka as a priest neither is he aware
of his ordination.
“I am not aware of his status as a Catholic Priest
because every ordained priest who is from the Mbaise Nation is well
known to us irrespective of where he was ordained. But sincerely
speaking, I know nothing of the ordination of the said Chilaka as a
However, the story of Rev Father Modestus Chilaka, a native of
Umunama in Ezihitte Mbaise Council Area of Imo State sounds like the
proverbial story of a prophet who was rejected in his home land but has
been accorded more honour in a foreign land as late last month, the
priest was accorded recognition and ordained as a priest of the Catholic
Church of the East of the Archdiocese of St. James, the Apostle and the
Vicar of the Church in Nigeria.
Reverend Father Chilaka, a miracle worker, has been in the eye of the
storm in the past two years over his claimed status as a Catholic
priest especially when he was not known to have been ordained a priest
of the Church in any of the Dioceses in the country or in the state
neither was he able to complete the requisite years of study at the
seminary before he could be certified fit and proper to be ordained a
priest of the Catholic church.
His situation was further compounded when the leaders of the church
in the state and indeed the entire South-east warned Catholic faithful
to steer clear of him as they alleged that he is not only a fake
Catholic priest but that his claims of being an Orthodox Catholic priest
is also fraudulent since the Orthodox church does not presently exist
It was further alleged that the young priest was using diabolical
means to perform the numerous miracles and healings credited to him
ostensibly to win converts in the state and in the entire South-east.
In spite of the fierce campaign against his person and rejection by
the Catholic hierarchy in the state, Father Chilaka who was a former
student of All Hallows Seminary Onitsha, in Anambra State, nevertheless
continued with his healing ministry.
However, the formal presentation and priestly ordination of Chilaka
as the first Nigerian priest of the Catholic Church of the East, Diocese
of St. Luke by the head of the Hierarchy, his Lordship Most Rev Ramzi
Musallam, Archbishop of St. James the Apostle Catholic Church of the
East, USA, may have finally laid to rest the suspicion of Father Chilaka
as a Priest of the Orthodox Catholic Church which the Roman Catholics
regard as rebels and not part of the Universal Church.
During the priestly ordination of Reverend Father Chilaka which was
held on December 29, 2013 at St Francis of Assisi, Obiohuru in Isiala
Mbano Council Area of Imo State, an event largely boycotted by Catholic
priests in the state but which drew a large crowd of Catholic faithful,
Archbishop Musallam said the smear campaign against the priest, whom he
described as a holy man that God, has been using to heal people was as a
result of ignorance.
He pointed out that the Catholic Church of the
East shares the same communion with the Holy Roman Catholic Church which
is the universal church and not an Eastern Orthodox Church as
erroneously being interpreted by the Catholic clergy in the country.
The Prelate further clarified that there is no difference between the
Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic Church of East, stressing that
the former Syrian churches of the East reunited with the mother church
under the leadership of the Holy Father (Pope).
He further explained that the Catholic Church of the East which was
primarily established in the United States of America to meet the
spiritual needs of the Arab people from the Holy land accepts the
infallibility of the Pope, the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ,
Mary as the mother of the church and all the sacraments and doctrines of
the Holy Roman Catholic Church which other Greek Orthodox Catholic
“We were originally the Syrian church of the East which had reunited
with the mother Church; we do not reject the authority of the Holy
Father like the other Eastern orthodox churches do. We accept all the
doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and are one and the same with the
Roman Catholic Church which is the only universal church.”
He said the Catholic Church of the East was primarily established in
the United States to meet the spiritual needs of the Arab people and we
uphold one hundred per cent all the sacraments of the Roman Catholic
Church and our headquarters is in the US and I am the head of the
Hierarchy, with other dioceses in Jerusalem, Philippines and also in
Archbishop Musallam also stated that Nigeria and other countries
should know when they see a holy man who God has been using to heal his
people and admonished the clergy in Nigeria to stop condemning Reverend
Father Chilaka and to listen to the voice of God.
“I condemn those who condemn Father Chilaka and I ask them to stop if
they are indeed real Christians. Today we have come to preach Jesus and
nothing else and I urge my brother Bishops of the true church to preach
the truth and listen to the voice of God in Nigeria.
“This is a man called by God in Nigeria who he has been using to heal
his people and I am proud to be his Archbishop, so the people should
listen to him if they are Christians and not simply members of an
organization. Even the Holy Father, Pope Francis has already admonished
all the bishops to speak the truth, bring reconciliation and healing in
all the churches.”
The prelate further urged the people to defend their faith as Catholics who are members of the true Universal church.
Meanwhile, Father Chilaka who said he has been vindicated by his
ordination narrated that before his formal presentation as a priest of
the Catholic Church of the East that he had been slandered and defamed
noting that his healing powers were divine.
According to him, his healing power started when he was at Onitsha.
“There was a Wednesday prayer that usually takes place at St. Michael
Catholic Church Fagge, Onitsha and I used to sing for the prayer group
and after the usual prayers, I usually stay back to pray on my own. One
day as I was praying I became unconscious for three days and could not
explain what happened to me and people thought that I was sick.”
Father Chilaka said Mrs. Egwoanu whom he was living with in Onitsha
searched for him for three days and that when he later regained
consciousness he started seeing the apparition of the rosary on his
“After I had regained consciousness, I began to see the apparition of
the rosary on my face and anybody who passes by me, I will see
something like the rosary on that person and when I looked at it, the
rosary will be telling me the names of the people and their problems.
Whenever I go to the Wednesday prayers and if the people are praying I
will unconsciously be responding to their prayers and telling them what
they should do. When the parish priest noticed this, he stopped people
from coming to the parish for the Wednesday prayers on the reasons that I
have become a big distraction to the people, so I had to stop going to
the parish but even at that, whenever I was sent on an errand to buy
something, the rosary will reappear again and as people pass by, I will
call their names and tell them their problems and what to do and each
time people see me, they will follow me all the way to my house.”
Father Chilaka further narrated that his guardian in Onitsha got
worried to the extent that he had to be taken to a psychiatric hospital
thinking that he was mad but was certified hale and hearty.
He said that he had told his guardian that he would like to be a
Catholic priest since that is his calling. But Father Chilaka further
revealed that unknown to him, Mrs. Egwoanu had earlier made a vow to God
to train a priest in her life time as part of her contribution to
further the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I never knew that Mrs. Egwoanu had earlier made a vow to train at
least one priest for the church in her life time and so when I told her
that I wanted to become a Catholic priest she enrolled me at the All
Hallows Seminary in Onitsha but she died before I could finish my
Diploma in Latin and as a result, I was forced out of the seminary
because my parents could not afford to continue with my sponsorship .
But I was not deterred as I continued working for the Lord.’’
He pointed out that when he later travelled to the United States of
America, he was able to make contacts with the Catholic Church of the
East where he was accepted and later ordained a priest.
However, he stated that when he returned to the country, he was
surprised that his brother priests of the Roman Catholic Church in the
country and especially in Imo State would have nothing to do with him,
alleging that he was a fake priest.
“When I came back from the United State, the other Catholic priests
in Imo State would not accept me as a priest of the Universal Church and
accused me of being a fake priest and equally warned people not to
attend my weekly healing services. To them, I may be using diabolical
means to perform the miracles and healings I was doing.
However, Roman Catholic priests and the bishops of the church in the
Imo State would have nothing to do with Reverend Father Chilaka as part
of a Roman clergy even though he claims to be of the Diocese of the