Most Rev. Denis Chidi ISIZOH
Bishop of Aguleri Diocese
1994 - 1996: Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, ITALY. (Doctorate in Biblical Theology)
1992: Institute Catholique de Paris/Alliance Française de Paris, FRANCE. (Diploma in French language)
1990: Zentrum für Internationale Bildung und Kulturaustausch, Kreuzberg-Bonn, GERMANY. (Diploma in German language)
1989 - 1993: Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, ITALY. (Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures)
1989: Università per gli Stranieri, Perugia, ITALY. (Diploma in Italian language)
1981 - 1985: Bigard Memorial Seminary, Theology Faculty, Enugu, NIGERIA. (Bachelor of Theology)
1976 - 1980: Bigard Memorial Seminary, Philosophy Faculty, Ikot Ekpene, NIGERIA. (Bachelor of Philosophy)
EARLY PASTORAL EXPERIENCES IN NIGERIA
1985 - 1989: Teacher/Formator, All Hallows’ Minor Seminary, Onitsha.
1985 - 1986: Parish Vicar, Ss. John & Paul Parish, Awada, Onitsha.
1985 - 1989: Chaplain, Immaculate Heart Novitiate, Nkpor.
1985 - 1989: Chaplain, St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery, Umuoji.
1985 - 1988: Chaplain, Boys’ High School, Onitsha.
1985 - 1988: Chaplain, Girls’ High School, 4th Mile, Onitsha.
1985 - 1988: Chaplain, St. Monica’s Teacher-Training/Secondary School, Ogbunike.
1985 - 1989: Chaplain, Federal Government Girls’ Secondary School, Onitsha.
ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCES & POSITIONS HELD
2015 - Date: Auxiliary Bishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha.
2018 - Date: Chairman, Social Communications, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria.
1995 - 2015: Official of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican City
Head of Service, Section for non-Christian Religions in sub-Saharan Africa, & for Traditional Religions Worldwide
2007 - 2015: Vice President, Nostra Aetate Foundation – Study Grants
1989 - 2015: Personal Secretary, Francis Cardinal Arinze
KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGES
Igbo, English, Italian, French, Latin, and German
SELECTED PUBLISHED BOOKS
1. The Dawn from on High: A brief History of the Catholic Church in Ogbunike (1995).
2. The Resurrected Jesus Preached in Athens, The Areopagus Speech (1997).
3. The Attitude of the Catholic Church towards African Traditional Religion and Culture, ed. (1998).
4. Christianity in Dialogue with African Traditional Religion & Culture, ed. (2001).
5. Milestones in Interreligious Dialogue: A Reading of Selected Catholic Church Documents on Relations with People of Other Religions, ed. (2002).
6. Cardinal Arinze: Church Pathfinder of Dialogue and Communion (2012).
SELECTED PUBLISHED ARTICLES ON INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AND AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION
1. “Reflecting on Tribal Values”, Pro Dialogo 99(1998), 295-301. Also published in Indian Journal of Spirituality XI (1998), 123-132, and in Mission: A Service of Love edited by F. Fernandez & Jose Varickasseril, Shillong, 1998, 193-198.
2. “A Reading of the Areopagus Speech (Acts 17,22-) from the African Traditional Religious Perspective”, African Christian Studies (1998), 1-25.
3. “Dialogue with African Traditional Religion in sub-Saharan Africa: The Changing Attitude of the Catholic Church”, in Christianity in Dialogue with African Traditional Religion and Culture, Seminar Papers, Vol. 1, (2001), 1- 42.
4. “The Challenge of Deepening Evangelization in A.M.E.C.E.A. Region: The Place of Interreligious Dialogue”, Pro Dialogo111(2002), 332-334.
5. “Mai più violenza in nome di Dio!,” Africa 2(2002), 16-19.
6. “Religions in sub-Saharan Africa: Working and Walking Together. A Christian Reflection”, Pro Dialogo114 (2003), 354-366.
7. “Managing Conflicts in the African context: The Role of Religious leaders”, in Dialogue on Civilizations, Religions and Cultures in West Africa (Proceedings of the International Congress organised by UNESCO, 2003), 29-34.
8. “‘Who made the Drum knows what is inside it.’Interpreting Sacred Messages in African Traditional Religion”, summary published in Current Dialogue 42(2003), 20-21.
9. “Les défis du dialogue interreligieux en Afrique : Une réflexion,” Pro Dialogo122(2006), 181-192.
10. “Globalisation of Cultures: Gains and Losses from an African perspective,” in Globalisierung, Kulturen, Religionen, Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions vol. 1 (edited by C. Ozankom, F. Reiterer, C. Udeani& K. Zapotoczky, Amsterdam, 2006), 145-151.
11. “The Church in Africa: Instrument of Dialogue and Reconciliation,” L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 2 September, 2009, 8-9.
12. “Wo Götzendiesnst zum Segen wird: Die Afrikanische Traditionelle Religion ermöglicht auf einzigartige Weise interreligiöses Beten,” Missio Korrespondenz 2(2010), 9 – 10.
1. “La Religiosità Africana nella Musica”
1999: Conference on “Le vere origini e l’evoluzione della Musica Gospel” in Rome, Italy.
2. “Motivazioni della Chiesa cattolica per il dialogo con la Religione Tradizionale Africana”
2002: Dipartimento di Studi Storico-Religiosi of the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy.
3. “Dialogue with followers of African Traditional Religion: Points for Reflection.”
2003: Consultation with Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
4. “Dialogue with Followers of African Traditional Religion: Progress and Challenges”
2003: University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa.
5. “Pathways to Peace in Africa, A Reflection from African Traditional Religious Perspective”
2004: Conference of Parliament of World’s Religions, Barcelona, Spain
6. “Globalization of Cultures: Gains and Losses from African perspective”
2004: University of Salzburg, Austria.
7. “O Significado do Diálogo Interreligioso: A Perspectiva da Igreja Católica”
2005: X Semana Teológica Internacional de Beira, Mozambique.
8. « Les défis du dialogue interreligieux en Afrique : une reflexion »
2005: VIIIeme Colloque du Centre d’Etudes des Religions Traditionnelles Africaines, Kinshasa
9. “The Meaning of Interreligious Dialogue: The Catholic Church teaching”
2005: Conference for Priests and Religious of the Catholic diocese of Wa, Ghana.
10. “Identity of a Catholic Youth in a multireligious society in Africa”
2007: Workshop on Youth Formation in Interreligious Dialogue for Young People in Africa, Lagos, Nigeria.
11. “Principles of Interreligious Dialogue : The Teaching of the Catholic Church”
2008: Paper for the Workshop on Interreligious Dialogue Organized by Nigerian Conference of Women Religious, Kaduna, Nigeria.
12. “Religioni tradizionali: tra dialogo e attenzione pastorale”
2009: Lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy.
MEETINGS ORGANISED IN THE NAME OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
29 July – 3 August 1996 (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire)
Colloquium on “L’Evangile de Jésus-Christ et la rencontre des Religions Traditionnelles. The meeting brought together 28 Catholic theologians and persons concerned with Traditional Religions from many continents to reflect on the approach of the Catholic Church to people of Traditional Religions. Acts of the colloquium were published in Pro Dialogo 94(1997/1).
21 – 24 July 1998 (Kumasi, Ghana)
Consultation with Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Africa. The theme of the consultation was: “Towards the third Millennium: The thrust of interreligious dialogue in Africa”. Excerpts from the reports of the participants were published in Pro Dialogo 99(1998/3).
24 – 31 August 1999 (Nairobi, Kenya)
Workshop for Promoters of Interreligious Dialogue. The purpose of this programme was to form the formators for interreligious dialogue. Participants were drawn from the English speaking countries of Africa: fifteen countries were represented. A report of this workshop was published in Pro Dialogo 102(1999), 346-348.
8-13 January 2001 (Enugu, Nigeria)
Study Session on African religiosity. This is a joint-project with the World Council of Churches. The participants reflected on the African person, the nature of African religiosity and the theological and moral contents of African religiosity. 18 participants from different countries of the world took part in the study. A report of this consultation appeared in Pro Dialogo 107(2001), 255-260.
20 – 25 March 2001 (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
Workshop on the Challenges of Interreligious Dialogue in sub-Saharan Africa. About 20 participants from the French-speaking countries of Africa. Representing National Bishops’ Conferences Rectors and heads of major Seminaries and Catholic Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning. The aim was to reflect on the attitude of the Catholic Church to dialogue with African Traditional Religion and Islam. During this seminar a request was made to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to prepare a guide for teaching African Traditional Religion, Islam and Interreligious Dialogue in major seminaries and formation houses in sub-Saharan Africa. A report of the workshop was published in Pro Dialogo (2001), 253-255.
25 – 30 August 2002 (Abuja, Nigeria)
Workshop for the preparation of Guide for Teaching African Traditional Religion, Islam and Interreligious Dialogue in Major Seminaries in sub-Saharan Africa 15 experts from Africa met to prepare a document for the formation of seminarians in sub-Saharan Africa.
8 – 14 December 2002 (Dakar, Senegal)
Study Session on the African Person. This is a continuation of the joint-.project with the World Council of Churches. Participants came from the French speaking countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
12 – 16 March 2003 (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Consultation with Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The meeting reflected on the challenges of dialogue with African Traditional Religion and Islam on the continent. A report of this consultation was published in Pro Dialogo 114(2003), 380-383.
13 – 17 September 2004 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Workshop on the Contributions of Africa to the Religious and Spiritual Heritage of the World. This workshop was jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Office of Inter-Religious Relations of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. Participants were drawn from among Africans on the continent and those in the Diaspora.
12 – 15 January 2005 (Vatican City)
Colloquium on the Resources for Peace in Traditional Religions. Participants, all Catholics, came from different continents of the world to reflect on how traditional religions contribute to peace. A report of this colloquium was published in Pro Dialogo 118(2005), 117-120.
20 – 23 July 2005 (Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa)
Seminar for Lecturers in Major Seminaries of Madagascar and Eastern and Southern Africa. Workshop for the lecturers on the use of the Guide for teaching ATR, Islam and Interreligious Dialogue in major Seminaries in Africa
12 – 15 October 2005 (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
Seminar for Lecturers in Major Seminaries in Central and Western Africa. Workshop for the lecturers on the use of the Guide for teaching ATR, Islam and Interreligious Dialogue in major Seminaries in Africa
6 – 8 March 2006 (Nairobi, Kenya)
Meeting of Pan-African Catholic Youth Leaders. Preparation for a programme of Formation in Interreligious Dialogue for Catholic Youths in Africa
22 – 26 August 2007 (Lagos, Nigeria)
Workshop on Formation in Interreligious Dialogue for Young People in Africa. Participants were drawn from Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Italy, Belgium and Congo DR.A report on this workshop was published in Pro Dialogo 126 (2007), 260-261.
16 – 20 April 2008 (Nairobi, Kenya)
Consultation with African Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The meeting reflected on the formation in interreligious dialogue of pastoral agents in Africa.
20 – 24 August 2008 (Entebbe, Uganda)
Workshop on Formation in Interreligious Dialogue for Young People in Africa. Participants were drawn from AMECEA countries: Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia
23 – 25 April 2009 (Vatican City)
Consultation with Institutions of Formation in interreligious dialogue in Africa. The meeting was attended by 14 institutions (DR Congo, Egypt, Zambia, Mali, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and 6 Pontifical Universities and Focolare Movement) of higher learning in Africa where interreligious dialogue is taught, 2 representatives of regional Episcopal conferences AECAWA and CERAO and 1 representative of the Generalate of Missionaries of Africa. The theme was collaboration with the PCID and Formation in interreligious dialogue in sub-Saharan Africa.
3 – 7 November 2009 (Ho, Ghana)
Workshop on Formation in interreligious dialogue of Novice Mistresses and Formators of Women Religious Congregations in sub-Saharan Africa. Thirty-eight Religious Congregations from 13 countries were represented. The workshop discussed the proposed Guidelines for formation in African Traditional Religion, Islam and Interreligious Dialogue for use in novitiates in sub-Saharan Africa.
20 – 23 March 2012 (Lagos, Nigeria)
Workshop on Interreligious collaboration in the spirit of Africae Munus organized for Diocesan Directors of interreligious dialogue together with major superiors of Religious Congregations working in Nigeria.
MEETINGS ATTENDED AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
31 July – 4 August 1995 (Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Buddhist-Christian Colloquium. This meeting took place in a Buddhist Monastery in Kaohsiung, a southern city of Taiwan. Organised entirely by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Vatican City (PCID), Fo Kuang Shan Buddhist Order (Light of Buddha on the Mountain) hosted the colloquium and collaborated with the PCID to make it a successful experience. The Buddhist Monastery which has 800 female monks and 200 male monks living in it put itself completely at the service of the colloquium. Pro Dialogo 90(1995) is dedicated entirely to the report of the colloquium.
11 – 12 August 1997 (Ranchi, India)
Seminar on “Building the future together, a Dialogue with Indigenous Religions of North-East India”. The aim of the seminar was to explore new ways of fostering dialogue, exchange of ideas and encounter with the large tribal populace of the North-Eastern India. An elaborate report of this meeting can be found in Theology in Context 15(1998), 115-116.
1 – 8 December 1999 (Cape Town, South Africa)
Assembly of the Parliament of World’s Religions. The Chicago-based Conference of the Parliament of World’s Religions organised an assembly of followers of many religions in Cape Town. This was the third time such a gathering was organised: the first was in 1893, and the second in 1993, both took place in Chicago. A report of the proceedings of this Assembly was published in Pro Dialogo 103(2000), 84-88.
3 – 9 October 2000 (Ibadan, Nigeria)
Workshop on “Interreligious Dialogue and Nation Building in West Africa” organised by the A.E.C.A.W.A (Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa) Interreligious Dialogue Commission. It brought together participants from the English speaking countries of West Africa. The communiqué after the meeting was published in Pro Dialogo 106(2001), 132-133; while a report of the meeting appeared in Pro Dialogo 107(2001), 252.
12 – 17 August 2001 (Nairobi, Kenya)
Colloquium on “Pastoral Leadership and United Action in a Crisis Situation”. The meeting was facilitated by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The purpose of this meeting was to reflect on the situation of the Sudan. A report of this meeting appeared in the daily edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 28 August, 2001, page 2.
23 – 30 June 2002 (Banjul, Gambia)
Seminar for the Missionaries of the Holy Ghost Congregation. It was an occasion to update missionaries on approach to Muslims in the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Acts of this seminar were published in Spiritan Life 14(2002). For the report, confer Pro Dialogo111(2002), 330.
12 – 16 July 2002 (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Plenary Assembly of the A.M.E.C.E.A. (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa). It was an opportunity to inform the Bishops of the activities of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Africa. A report was published in Pro Dialogo 111(2002), 332-334.
7 – 12 October 2002 (Accra, Ghana)
Workshop on the theme “Religion, Violence and Peace in West Africa”, organized by the A.E.C.A.W.A. Interreligious Dialogue Commission.
3 – 4 April 2003 (Pretoria, South Africa)
Conference at the Department of Missiology, University of South Africa (UNISA). Papers published in Pro Dialogo 114(2003) 354-366,and in Bigard Theological Studies.
10 – 14 November 2003 (Ibadan, Nigeria)
Workshop on the theme “Offer Forgiveness and receive Peace: A Challenge to multi-Religious Society” organised by the A.E.C.A.W.A. Commission for Interreligious dialogue from Christians and Muslims in their region. A report and the Communiqué were published in Pro Dialogo 115(2004), 74-77.
15 – 17 December 2003 (Abuja, Nigeria)
International Congress on Dialogue of Civilizations, Religions and Cultures in West Africa,organized by UNESCO.
7 – 13 July 2004 (Barcelona, Spain)
Assembly of the Parliament of World’s Religions organized by Conference of the Parliament of World’s Religions based in Chicago. It is estimated that 7,000 persons participated in the assembly. A report of the assembly was published in Pro Dialogo 118(2005), 128-130.
30 July – 1 August 2004 (Salzburg, Austria)
International Conference on Religions, Cultures, Globalization: Living Together in a Global Age, organized by the Department of African Studies in University of Salzburg.
4 – 10 September 2004 (Anchillo, Mozambique)
Seminar on the praxis of interreligious dialogue, organized by the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique. Participants were mainly missionaries who work in areas with good presence of people of other religions in the northern part of Mozambique.
7 – 16 May 2005 (Athens, Greece)
Conference on Mission and Evangelism. This was organized by the World Council of Churches. The Catholic Church was officially represented by a twenty-four member Delegation
7 – 9 June 2005 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Conference on the Critical Moment for Interreligious Dialogue, sponsored by the World Council of Churches. About 100 participants of several nationalities, belonging to different religious traditions took part in the conference to reflect on new effective ways of promoting interreligious dialogue in the world.
27 June – 1 July 2005 (Beira, Mozambique)
10th Theological Week Seminar in which about 60 persons of mainly Catholic missionaries participated. Those who presented papers include people of other religions, notably a Muslim and a Priest of African Traditional Religion.
19 – 21 July 2006 (Seattle, United States of America)
64th Tekakwitha Conference of the Native Americans. About 1000 Native Americans from all over United States of America participated. Most of them are Catholics. They come together to affirm their faith in Christ, following the pathways of the native traditions and in the footsteps of their model – Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
5 – 11 October 2007 (Freetown, Sierra Leone)
11th Plenary Assembly of AECAWA. It is a meeting that brings together the Episcopal Conferences of all the English speaking countries of West Africa. A report was published in Pro Dialogo 126(2007), 261-264.
28 April 2009 (Rome, Italy)
Lecture at Pontifical Gregorian University on the theme “Religioni tradizionali: tra dialogo e attenzione pastorale”. This is part of a programme of theIstituto di Studi Interdisciplinari su Religioni e Culturepromoted by the Pontifical Gregorian University for the students and experts in interreligious and intercultural exchanges.
13 – 16 July 2009 (Accra, Ghana)
Workshop by AECAWA-Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism on “Strengthening democracy in West Africa: The role of interreligious dialogue and ecumenism”. Participants of mixed religions were drawn mainly from Ghana and Nigeria.
13 – 14 May 2010 (Munich, Germany)
2nd Ecumenical “Kirchentag” organised by the German Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Ecclesial bodies with international participation of conferenciers.. The theme was “That you may have hope”.
SOME OF THE COUNTRIES VISITED (SOME, SEVERAL TIMES) IN THE COURSE OF CARRYING OUT INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Congo Democratic Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Holland (Netherlands), Hong Kong (China), India, Ireland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Mozambique, Poland, Portugal, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Syria, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania/Zanzibar, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Yugoslavia.