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Indian Cardinal Ivan Cornelius Dias dies

Former prefect of Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to be buried in Rome

Updated: June 21, 2017 06:36 AM GMT
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Indian Cardinal Ivan Cornelius Dias dies

Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias attends Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this June 29, 2007 file photo. The cardinal passed away in Rome on June 19, at age 81. (Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

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Indian Cardinal Ivan Cornelius Dias, former prefect of Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is to be buried in Rome June 21.

Cardinal Dias, passed away in Rome on July 19 after a long illness. He was 81.

He had been under medication and rest in Rome since 2011, when he retired from the congregation.

Father Joseph Joseph Chinnayyan, Deputy Secretary-General of India's bishops’ conference, said Rome was decided as the burial place "as per the wish" of Cardinal Dias.

"It is consoling for us" that senior officials of the bishops’ conference will be attending the funeral services, Father Chinnayyan said.

Indian bishops' conference president Cardinal Baselios Cleemis and other three cardinals of India — Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi and George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly — are in Rome for the upcoming consistory, the priest said.

The conference's secretary-general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas is also in Rome.

"All these prelates will represent the church in India for the funeral of a great son of the church in India," Father Chinnayan said.

Cardinal Alencherry descried Cardinal Dias as "a towering pastor in the global Catholic Church" as he offered the condolences of his Syro-Malabar rite church, based in southern India.

"The laudable services" of Cardinal Dias in the diplomatic service and several other Vatican offices are now "part of global church history," Cardinal Alencherry said in a statement.

Cardinal Dias, was born in Mumbai in 1936 and ordained a priest for Bombay Archdiocese in 1958. He was its archbishop from 1996 to 2006.

Saint Pope John Paul made him a cardinal in 2001.

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