His Eminence 
Ivan Dias
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

Dias (left) at a 2005 Christmas Mass in Mumbai
See Bombay (emeritus)
Enthroned 20 May 2006
Predecessor Crescenzio Sepe
Successor incumbent
Ordination 8 December 1958
Consecration 19 June 1982
Created Cardinal 21 February 2001
Other Archbishop of Bombay (1996-2006)
Apostolic Nuncio to Albania (1991-1996)
Apostolic Nuncio to Korea (1987-1991)
Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Togo and Benin (1982-1987)
Personal details
Born April 14, 1936 (1936-04-14) (age 81)
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India

Ivan Dias (born 14 April 1936) is an Indian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Roman Curia, having previously served as Archbishop of Bombay (1996–2006) and papal diplomat in the Balkans, East Asia, and West Africa. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001.


Early life and ordination

Ivan Dias was born in Bandra, a suburb of Bombay, to Carlo Nazaro Dias (d. 1953) and Maria Martins Dias (d. 1991), both Indians of Portuguese origin; his father was undersecretary of the Home Department of the government of Maharashtra.[1] The second oldest of four children, he has three brothers: Francis (a retired lieutenant general in the Indian military), Ralph, and Olaf (a doctor). After graduating from the Jesuit-run 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.[2] 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.[3]

Secretariat of State

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.[3] 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.[3]

Nuncio and bishop

On 8 May 1982, 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.[2] He selected as his episcopal motto: "Servus" (Latin: "Servant").[4] Dias was later named Apostolic Nuncio to Korea on 20 June 1987, 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.[5]

Styles of
Ivan Dias
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Bombay (Emeritus)


Recalled from the Vatican's diplomatic service, Dias was appointed the ninth Archbishop of Bombay on 8 November 1996.[2] 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."[6] 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."[5]


John Paul II created him Cardinal Priest of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella in the consistory of 21 February 2001.[3] 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.[3]

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.”[4] 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."[5]

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."[7]

On 20 May 2006, he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples by Pope Benedict. As Cardinal Prefect, he holds the global church's top post overseeing the missions, a post whose holder was once known as the "Red Pope" due to the extent of his authority over the Church in mission lands. He is also ex officio the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbaniana University.

In addition to his duties as Prefect, Cardinal Dias is 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.


Anti-Christian violence

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."[5] 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

Dias also established himself as a theologically conservative, strongly maintaining the Church's stances against abortion and homosexuality.[8][9] He claims that gays and lesbians can be "cured" of their "unnatural tendencies" through the Sacrament of Penance.[5]

Anglican communion

During a speech he gave at the Lambeth Conference, his unequivocal language laid bare his disapproval of the chaos sweeping through the world's third biggest Christian denomination. 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".[10]

Preceded by
Simon Pimenta
Archbishop of Bombay
8 November 1996–20 May 2006
Succeeded by
Oswald Gracias
Preceded by
Crescenzio Sepe
Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
20 May 2006–incumbent
Succeeded by


External links

ru:Диас, Иван fi:Ivan Dias

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