Ivan Dias

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Ivan Cornelius Dias

Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseBombay (emeritus)
Installed20 May 2006
Term ended10 May 2011
PredecessorCrescenzio Sepe
SuccessorFernando Filoni
Other post(s)Cardinal priest of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella
Ordination8 December 1958
by Valerian Gracias
Consecration19 June 1981
by Agostino Casaroli
Created cardinal21 February 2001
by Pope John Paul II
RankCardinal priest
Personal details
Ivan Cornelius Dias

(1936-04-14)14 April 1936
Died19 June 2017(2017-06-19) (aged 81)
Rome, Italy
BuriedCampo Verano
41°54′05″N 12°31′13″E / 41.9015°N 12.5203°E / 41.9015; 12.5203
DenominationRoman Catholic
  • Carlo Nazaro Dias
  • Maria Martins Dias
Previous post(s)
Alma materSt. Stanislaus High School, Mumbai
SignatureIvan Cornelius Dias's signature
Coat of armsIvan Cornelius Dias's coat of arms
Styles of
Ivan Cornelius Dias
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeBombay (Emeritus)
Ordination history of
Ivan Dias
Priestly ordination
Ordained byValerian Gracias
Date8 December 1958
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorAgostino Casaroli
Co-consecratorsAchille Silvestrini,
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy
Date19 June 1982
PlaceSt. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Elevated byPope John Paul II
Date21 February 2001
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Ivan Dias as principal consecrator
Oswald Gracias16 September 1997
Percival Joseph Fernandez21 April 2001
Agnelo Rufino Gracias21 April 2001
George Antonysamy21 September 2005
António Francisco Jaca, S.V.D.22 July 2007
Yves Marie Monot7 September 2008

Ivan Cornelius Dias (14 April 1936 – 19 June 2017) was an Indian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from 2006 to 2011, Archbishop of Bombay from 1996 to 2006, and before that a papal ambassador in the Balkans, East Asia, and West Africa. He was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 2001.[1]


Early life and ordination[edit]

Ivan Dias was born in Bandra, a suburb of Bombay, to Carlos Nazaro Dias (d. 1953) and Maria Martins e Dias (d. 1991), both natives of Goa. Dias' ancestral village is Velsao, Salcete, Goa. His father was undersecretary of the Home Department of the government of Maharashtra.[2] The second oldest of five children, he has four brothers: Francis (a retired lieutenant general in the Indian military), Ralph, Paul and Olaf (a doctor). After graduating from the Jesuit St. Stanislaus High School, he entered the seminary of the Archdiocese of Bombay and was later ordained to the priesthood by Valerian Gracias on 8 December 1958.[3] He then did pastoral work in Bombay as curate at St. Stephen's Church until 1961, when he was sent to Rome to further his studies. He there attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and the Pontifical Lateran University, from where he obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1964.[4]

Secretariat of State[edit]

Dias worked in the Vatican Secretariat of State preparing the 1964 visit of Pope Paul VI to India, during which he was raised to the rank of Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness on 4 December.[4] 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 1981.[4]

Nuncio and bishop[edit]

On 8 May 1981, Dias was appointed Titular Archbishop of Rusibisir and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Ghana, Togo and Benin by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 19 June from Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, with Archbishops Achille Silvestrini and Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy serving as co-consecrators, at St. Peter's Basilica.[3] He selected as his episcopal motto: "Servus" (Latin: "Servant").[5] Dias was later named Apostolic Nuncio to Korea on 20 June 1986, and Apostolic Nuncio to Albania on 28 October 1991. In Albania, he was charged with rebuilding the local church after nearly five decades of communist rule, inviting foreign missionaries to the country and working with the Albanian government to recover Catholic churches and schools.[6]


Recalled from the Vatican's diplomatic service, Dias was appointed the ninth Archbishop of Bombay on 8 November 1996.[7] He was an outspoken supporter of the controversial 2000 document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Dominus Iesus, which declared that non-Catholics "are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation."[8] Dias said the document was "a reaffirmation...[that] Jesus is the only savior of the world. We have a right to say who we are, and others can accept it or not."[6]


John Paul II appointed him Cardinal-Priest of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella in the consistory of 21 February 2001.[4] He was shortly afterwards named to the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organizational and Economic Problems of the Holy See on 10 March 2001, and served as one of the three presidents at the 10th Ordinary Assembly of the World Synod of Bishops from September to October 2001.[4]

In 2003, he delivered the homily at the beatification Mass of Mother Teresa, whom Dias had befriended during his tenure as a nuncio in Albania; he once said, "Reaching out to our fellow human beings, embracing the poor as Mother Teresa did, must become a common service for every Christian."[5] Lamenting the domination of the world "by information technology, by New Age teaching and by the decline of ethical values," Dias once stated that entire countries are being "crushed down by godless ideologies and enticing proposals that exalt the anti-God cultures, including the culture of death."[6] He was one of the Cardinals considered papabile at the 2005 Papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. TIME Magazine noted his "[s]trong diplomatic experience" and said his election "would represent a bold choice from the developing world."[9]

On 20 May 2006, he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the top post overseeing the Catholic missions. He was also ex officio the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbaniana University. He presented his resignation as required on reaching the age of 75. It was accepted on 10 May 2011 when he was succeeded as Prefect by Fernando Filoni.[10]

Cardinal Dias was 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.[citation needed]

Dias was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that selected Pope Francis.[11]

Dias died in Rome on 19 June 2017.[12][13]


Anti-Christian violence[edit]

During his tenure as Archbishop, Dias frequently condemned anti-Christian discrimination in Indian society by Hindu fundamentalists. In December 2001, he invited leaders of all Bombay's religious communities to his home for "a meeting for peace in a world torn apart by war and hatred."[6] In 2002, he denounced pressures put by Indian authorities on Catholic schools, which have "had to put up with uncooperative and abusive public officials as well intimidation."

Abortion and homosexuality[edit]

Dias also established himself as theologically conservative, strongly maintaining the Church's stances against abortion and homosexuality.[14][15] He believed that gays and lesbians could be "cured" of their "unnatural tendencies" through the Sacrament of Penance.[6]

Anglican communion[edit]

During a speech he gave at the Lambeth Conference, he expressed unrestrained disapproval of the changes the Anglican communion was experiencing. He said: "When we live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions, we could well be suffering from spiritual Alzheimer's. [...] or ecclesial Parkinson's".[16]


  1. ^ "Indian Cardinal Ivan Cornelius Dias dies – UCA News". ucanews.com. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  2. ^ "I am upset at the media hype". Mid-day.com. 4 April 2005. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Ivan Cardinal Dias". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  4. ^ a b c d e Miranda, Salvador. "DIAS, Ivan". Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.
  5. ^ a b "Card. Ivan Dias". Asia News. 3 October 2005. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Variety of experience gives cardinal from India high profile". Catholic News Service. 1 April 2005. Archived from the original on 6 April 2005.
  7. ^ "Cardinal Ivan Dias of Bombay passes away". L'Osservatore Romano. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Dominus Iesus". Holy See. 6 August 2000.
  9. ^ Israely, Jeff (17 April 2005). "Our Top Ten Papal Candidates". Time. Archived from the original on 6 April 2005.
  10. ^ Pentin, Edward (10 May 2011). "Benedict XVI Makes Two Key Vatican Appointments". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Cardinal Ivan Dias passes away in Rome". Rome Reports. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  12. ^ Jaisinghani, Bella (19 June 2017). "Former archbishop of Bombay Ivan Dias passes away in Rome". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  13. ^ Glatz, Carol (20 June 2017). "Experienced diplomat, Indian Cardinal Dias dies at 81". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Our cardinal in the Vatican". The Indian Express. 13 April 2005.
  15. ^ Bradley Hagerty, Barbara (19 April 2005). "Potential Successors to Pope John Paul II". NPR.
  16. ^ Butt, Riazat (23 July 2008). "Cardinal accuses Anglican Communion of 'spiritual Alzheimer's'". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2017.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
20 May 2006 – 10 May 2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Bombay
8 November 1996 – 20 May 2006
Succeeded by