Christianity came to this part of Diobu in 1909, the Anglican Church under the Niger Delta North Pastorate being the pioneer Church in the area – through some itinerant fishermen and traders who had gone on their fishing expedition and businesses to some Riverine communities of Kalabari, Okrika and Bonny. In these places, these travellers came into contact with the Church mode of worship and culture and later returned home to put into practice what they had seen and also arranged for some for their kith and kin to visit a number of the neighbouring Okrika villages to be eyewitnesses themselves.
St. Paul’s Cathedral Church of today has evolved over many years. It is the story of faith in God and God’s faithfulness with His people.
The history of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Diobu, Port Harcourt is traced to the amalgamation of what used to be community Churches – namely:
1. Oroworukwo zone : with worshippers from Oroworukwo, the Aro and Oromerezimgbu
Center of worship – Woko Ogoloma hall
2. Ogbum-nu-abali West Zone- With worshippers from
– Orogbum, Okpor, Mgbuakara and
Center of worship – Worlu Wokem’s Hall at
3. ogbum-nu-abali East Zone – With worshippers from the
Remaining parcts of Abali and
Center of worship – Oroije in Chief Agbago’s Hall.
4. Rumukalagbor Zone – Worshipes at Chief Karigbo
In 1911, these Community Churches except the Rumukalagbor Church were each named after a Patron Saint as follows:
1. The Oroworukwo Church was named St. Paul’s Church,
2. The Ogbum-nu-abali Wast Church at Mgbuakara became St. Luke’s
3. The Ogbum-nu-abali East Church at Oroije was named St. Peter’s
4. The Rumukalagbor Church was affiliated with St. Barnabas’ Church, Elekahia.
The idea of amalgamation or merger mentioned earlier was mooted in 1919 and a joint meeting of the representatives of St. Luke’s Church, Ogbum-nu-abali and St. Paul’s Church, Oroworukwo was held. In the said meeting the representatives unanimously agreed to merge the two Churches as one Church to be known and called St. Paul’s Church and School, Diobu, Port Harcourt.
The successful resolution of the merger initiative brought into focus the issue of securing the centre for the proposed merger. This matter was however resolved when the Planning and Executive Committee for the proposed amalgamation identified some pieces or parcels of land centrally located and then invited the Chiefs and family heads of Oroworukwo and Ogbum-nu-abali to a meeting in order to acquaint the leaders with the change about to take place and Committee’s need for land to actualize the proposal. It is very gratifying to note that the Chiefs and the family heads embraced the idea to merge and took spirited steps to contact and convince the Oduwonyoma of Olozu and Ede of Orogbum families which owned the parcels of land identified and chosen as the ideal site for the proposed united Church to give out their respective portions of land. The heads of the affected families gave consent; the heads of Oroworukwo Community also donated their land over the railway line up to their original boundary with Oro Ede Sele of Orogbum.
Thus, in 1921 the centre officially opened for joint Church worship. In 1923, the St. Peter’s Church, Ogbum-nu-abali and the Church at Rumukalagbor declined their affiliation with St. Barnabas’ Church Elekahia and joined the St. Paul’s Church.
The period 1923 – 1956 witnesses a new phase in the growth of the Church. For instance:
– It become a co-ordinating centre of sister Churches in Diobu such as St. Thomas and St. Barnabas
– It attained a Parish status in 1948
– It became the seat of the Apara Parish in 1954 with the merger of the Apara group of Churches and the Diobu group which later attained a District status in 1956.
With the creation of Port Harcourt Archdeaconry out of what remained of Niger Delta Diocese after the creation of Aba Diocese 1972, it became the headquarters of the new Archdeaconry.
We appreciate the efforts and earnest endeavours of the pioneer Archdeacon, Ven. S.Y. Chukuigwe (now late) and his successors, Venerable A.O. Enyindah, JP and Ven. E.C. Ogwo (late).
On Thursday 16th May, 1996 (ASECENSION DAY), when the new Diocese of Niger delta North was inaugurated, St. Paul’s Church became its Cathedral Church and headquarters of the Diocese.
From 1996 till date the Cathedral Church has undergone both spiritual and physical transformation. We are all witnesses to the gigantic Church Auditorium being built to the glory of God which was dedicated by the Primate of the church of Nigeria, The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola in 11th November, 2009.
This structure is being built through the generous provisions and donations of members of the Cathedral. We equally recognize and appreciate the contributions from Churches within the Diocese and the generous and kind donations from well meaning individuals who are not members of the Cathedral but are attracted to support the project.
We commend the efforts of past and present Cathedral Pastors and standing Committee members for initiating and vigorous working towards the completion of the building. May God bless them.
We thank all those who have made St. Paul’s Cathedral their choice place of worship for their sincere and honest efforts to sustain the growth of the Cathedral. The Cathedral remains a place of lively worship and God’s blessings.