Kumi, Uganda | NOW THEN DIGITAL — Bishop Thomas Edison Irigei, the retired leader of the Church of Uganda in Kumi Diocese, has passed away at the age of 69. Bishop Michael Okwii Esakan, his successor, confirmed the news, stating that Irigei had been undergoing treatment at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital since last Wednesday.
In an announcement, Bishop Esakan expressed the church’s mourning, emphasizing a hopeful perspective based on faith. The deceased’s body was moved to Bethesda hospital mortuary for arrangements.
Scheduled for burial at St Philip’s Cathedral in Ngora on Monday next week, the church leadership and family are mobilizing resources for the ceremony. Bishop Esakan praised Irigei’s dedicated service, noting his role as the first bishop and his contributions to church construction.
The late bishop had battled diabetes and hypertension for an extended period, according to his son, Samuel Patrick Okwii. Despite recurrent health challenges, Irigei had actively managed his illnesses, and his passing occurred during his latest medical episode.
Rev Can Semu Onango, former Kumi diocesan treasurer, remembered Irigei as a fatherly and approachable church leader, highlighting his mentorship and humility. Irigei became the bishop in 2001 when Kumi Diocese was established, serving for 18 years until his mandatory retirement at 65 in December 2019. Survived by his wife, Jenifer Irigei, and nine children, he leaves behind a legacy of church development and spiritual guidance.
Bishop Emeritus Irigei’s Death Mourned
The Bishop of Kumi Diocese, Rt Rev Micheal Okwi Esarkan, has this morning announced the death of The Rt. Rev Thomas Edison Irigei, Retired and First Bishop of Kumi Diocese who died early this morning.
The burial program shall be communicated in due course. pic.twitter.com/TjrHN3bvPo
— Church of Uganda (@ChurchofUganda_) December 5, 2023
We have received with great sadness the news of the demise of Bishop Thomas Edison Irigei, the Bishop Emeritus of Kumi Diocese. We have lost a dedicated servant of God, a unifying figure, and a man who contributed tremendously to the development of the Teso subregion. I send my… pic.twitter.com/lwC4b3SNq4
— Anita Annet Among (@AnitahAmong) December 7, 2023