Pioneer Catholic Bishop of South Sudan’s Torit Diocese Dies on All Saints Day at 87

Late Bishop Paride Taban. Credit: Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC)

Bishop Paride Taban, the first Catholic Bishop of Torit Diocese in South Sudan, has passed on Wednesday, November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints. He was aged 87.

Bishop Taban died in Nairobi, Kenya after a protracted illness, members of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) have announced in a statement.

“He has been unwell for sometime and the Good Shepherd called him on the Solemnity of All the Saints,” SCBC members, who include Catholic Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan say.

They add, “The news is sudden and you will be updated with upcoming arrangements.”

Born in Katire in 1936, the late Bishop Taban was ordained a Priest in May 1964. 


In January 1980, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Juba Archdiocese and assigned the Titular See of Tadamata.

The late South Sudanese Catholic Bishop was appointed first Bishop of Torit in July 1983. Owing to the Sudan war, the South Sudanese Clergy would occasionally flee to other countries, including Uganda, Kenya, and the Central African Republic (CAR). Nevertheless, he spent most his time in the SPLA-controlled areas of South Sudan, also called “liberated territories”, and operated from Narus in Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan. He also reached out to the people of God in other Catholic Dioceses, where Bishops were trapped in government-controlled townships and could not access large parts of their own Episcopal Sees.

Bishop Taban retired from the administration of Torit Diocese in 2004 and proceeded to complete the establishment of the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron, an initiative he had founded in 2000.

According to the information that is provided on the website of the Peace Village, Bishop Paride established the project in Kuron “to unite the population in the area and set an example of peaceful cohabitation in war-torn South Sudan,”

Kuron Peace Village is situated in Eastern Equatoria State, the Southeastern part of South Sudan that borders Kenya and Uganda. Here, different ethnic groups live and work together in the village.

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In a message shared with ACI Africa during his 40th Anniversary as Bishop, late Bishop Taban recalled the reason behind the Peace Village, saying, “I have been dreaming of a community where people with different ethnicities and different religious backgrounds can live side by side with confidence, in harmony and fellowship.”

Late Bishop Taban has received awards for his work at the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron, including the Sergio Vieira de Mello Peace Prize awarded by former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

Bishop Taban who was the first leader of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC) also won the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for co-founding the ecumenical body, building Kuron Peace Village and chairing the mediation initiative between the Government of South Sudan and COBRA Faction of the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army.

The late South Sudanese Catholic Bishop has been lauded for promoting a healthy lifestyle through participating in exercises anchored on peacebuilding.

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