Roman Catholic Archbishop of Samoa Alapati Lui Mataeliga Passes Away


The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Samoa-Apia and Ecclesiastical Superior of the Mission sui iuris of Tokelau Alapati Lui Mataeliga had passed away at age 70.

The Archdiocese of Samoa Apia announced the passing of Samoa’s beloved Archbishop Alapati at 3am in Auckland New Zealand this morning.

Messages from across the globe have since flooded social media with the passing of the Head of the Catholic Church in Samoa

“Let us join in prayer and love with our brothers and sisters in Samoa as they mourn the loss of their spiritual leader.”

“We, the Bishop’s, Priests, Deacons and Catechists and people of the Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago offer our heartfelt prayers and sympathy to Samoa.”

Archbishop Mataeliga was born in Sataua on the 4th of January 1953 on the island of Savai’i.  He was ordained for the presbyterate of the Diocese of Samoa and Tokelau on July 5, 1977.

Upon the retirement of Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u, Father Mataeliga was appointed by the Holy See as the second Archbishop of Samoa-Apia on November 16, 2002.

He was consecrated to the episcopate and installed as ordinary by Archbishop Patrick Coveney, Apostolic Nuncio to Samoa, on January 3, 2003.

Manu Samoa 7s at Archbishop’s triple celebration, 4 Jan 2023. 

His Grace Monsignor Alapati Lui Mataeliga held a triple celebration in January this year to mark his 70th birthday, as well as his 20th Episcopal Anniversary as the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Samoa, and 45 years since his Priesthood ordination.

Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Lima, Assistant Coach Tausa Faamaoni Lalomilo, Manager Tuala Pat Leota, management and Manu Samoa 7s players who recently took out the Championship in Cape Town were invited as special guests of the Archbishop.

Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeligas ifoga.

When Samoa’s recent political crisis reached an impasse in September 2021, Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga performed a traditional ifoga infront of the Government Building.

During the traditional apology, His Grace covered himself with a fine mat, as a mark of asking for forgiveness.