Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for EP, Passes Away

Bangalore 19 June 2017 (CCBI) His Eminence, Ivan Cornelius Cardinal Dias, (81) Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and Archbishop Emeritus of Bombay passed away on Monday 19th June, 2017 at 8pm (Indian Time) in Rome. The Funeral Rites was held in Vatican on Wednesday, 21st June, 2017 at 15:00 hours (Roman Time) corresponding to 18:30 hours Indian Time. The last Funeral Rite was officiated by His Holiness Pope Francis. He was buried in the Chapel of Propaganda Fide at Verano cemetery, in Rome.

Cardinal Dias was born on 14 April 1936, in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai as the second oldest of four sons of Carlo Nazaro Dias and Maria Martins Dias. Their ancestral village is Velsao in Salcete, Goa. His father was the undersecretary of the Home Department of the then Bombay state. After graduating from Jesuit-managed St. Stanislaus High School, he entered the seminary of Bombay archdiocese. He was ordained a priest by Cardinal Valerian Gracias for Bombay Archdiocese On 8 December, 1958.

He began his pastoral work as curate at St. Stephen’s Church in Bombay until 1961, when he was sent to Rome for studies. He attended Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and the Pontifical Lateran University. He obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1964 from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. He entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service in 1964. As a young priest he worked in the Vatican Secretariat of State preparing the 1964 visit of Pope Paul VI to India. The Pope raised him to the rank of Privy Chamberlain in 1964.

From 1965 to 1973, he served as secretary of the Nunciatures in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Indonesia, Madagascar, Réunion, the Comoro Islands and Mauritius. Returning to the Secretariat of State in Vatican City, he was head of the section for the Soviet Union, the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania until 1982.

On 8 May 1982, He was appointed Titular Archbishop of Rusibisir and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Ghana, Togo and Benin by Pope St. John Paul II. He was ordained bishop on 19 June by Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, at St. Peter’s Basilica. He selected as his episcopal motto: “Servus” (“Servant”). Dias was later named Apostolic Nuncio to Korea on 20 June 1987, and Apostolic Nuncio to Albania on 28 October 1991.

On 8 November 1996 he was appointed Archbishop of Bombay. Till 2006. He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Saint Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February, 2001, of the Title of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella (Holy Spirit at Ferratella).Cardinal Ivan Dias was also President Delegate of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2001). He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbanian University from 20 May 2006 until 10 May 2011. Cardinal Dias has been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, etc.

He is a priest for 58 years, a bishop for 35 years and a cardinal for 16 years.

With the death of Card. Dias, the number of cardinals worldwide stands at 220, of whom 116 are below 80 who are eligible to vote for a new pope at a conclave. The rest are over 80 and hence cannot vote.

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