Antuan Ilgit

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Antuan Ilgit

Auxiliary Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia
ChurchCatholic Church
Appointed28 August 2023
Ordination26 June 2010
by Giovanni Lajolo
Consecration25 November 2023
Personal details
Born (1972-06-22) June 22, 1972 (age 51)
NationalityItalian, Turkish
Alma mater
  • Senin Himayen Altında
  • Under Your Protection
Coat of arms

Antuan Ilgit, S.J. (born 22 June 1972) is a Turkish prelate of the Catholic Church who has been an auxiliary bishop of the Vicariate of Anatolia since 2023. A member of the Jesuits, he has been vicar general and chancellor of that vicariate since 2022. He completed his priestly formation and education in Italy and the United States. His research focuses on bioethics and examines disability, sexual morality and interreligious dialogue with Islam.


Antuan Ilgit was born on 22 June 1972 in Hersbruck, Germany, to a family of Turkish immigrants and raised a Muslim. His father was a fisherman and his mother a homemaker.[1] He moved with his family to Turkey as a child[2] and was raised in Mersin.[3] Though fluent in several languages, he does not know German.[4] He entered university planning on a career in government administration or teaching.[1] In 1994 he received a four-year degree in Public Administration from the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Gazi University in Ankara.[2]

After completing his degree he performed his military service in Ankara and there in 1995 began to explore the Christian faith.[3] He converted to Catholicism from Islam in 1997.[4] Speaking of his Muslim heritage in 2010, he said:[3]

My conversion was a refinement of my faith. The Islamic part of my path is very important for me because the Lord revealed himself to me in the Islamic faith, in faith in the One God. This is how he drew close to me. I will not give up on this part of my life, Christianity is the next step, it is the culmination of the previous path which as a whole I consider to be a real gift.

After exploring his vocation with the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Emilia-Romagna for several years,[5] on 1 November 2005 he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Genoa, Italy. He made his first vows in Padua in 2007 and was ordained a deacon on 18 April 2009 in Venice.[5] He was ordained a priest on 26 June 2010 at the Church of the Gesù in Rome by Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo.[5][a] He celebrated his first Mass a week later at the Church of Saint Teresa of Lisieux in Ankara.[3] He is the first Jesuit to hold Turkish citizenship. Since 2013 he has dual citizenship, Turkish and Italian.[6]

He earned a bachelor's degree in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2008. He did a year of studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and obtained a licentiate in moral theology with a focus on bioethics at the Alphonsian Academy of the Pontifical Lateran University in 2011.[2] His thesis "A Comparison between Issues Related to the Beginning of Life in Turkish Bioethics and the Teaching of the Catholic Church" considered issues regarding abortion, contraception, IVF, and the use of embryonic stem cells based on research analyzing Turkish laws regulating biomedical research, statements of the Union of Turkish Medical Association, and the decisions and studies of the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey.[citation needed]

He received a master's degree in healthcare ethics from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia in 2013.[2]

He earned his doctoral degree in moral theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in 2017[2] with a dissertation entitled "Muslim and Catholic Perspectives on Disability in the Contemporary Context of Turkey: A Proposal for Muslim-Christian Dialogue".[citation needed] While studying there, he participated in the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) program, an interdisciplinary engagement in contemporary ethics.[7] He also assisted at St. Leonard's Parish in Boston's traditionally Italian North End neighborhood.[7]

His assignments have included stints as assistant to the parish priest of the Turkish-speaking Catholic community of Meryemana (Ankara) while serving as bursar of the Jesuit community in 2010-2011; animator, formator and spiritual father at the Pontifical Interregional Seminary of the Campania Region in Naples from 2017 to 2020; and lecturer in moral theology and bioethics at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy from 2017 to 2023. From September 2020 to April 2021, he did his final year of Jesuit formation in Salamanca, Spain.[2] He spent the next year in Iskenderun, the headquarters of the vicariate of Anatolia,[8] and in 2022 he became vicar general and chancellor of the vicariate of Anatolia, as well as the national coordinator for youth and vocational pastoral care of the Turkish Episcopal Conference.[2] Following the earthquake in Turkey and Syria of 6 February 2023 that destroyed the cathedral and much of İskenderun, he organized relief services in cooperation with the other local Christian communities.[9]

On 19 November 2022, he made his final vows as a Jesuit in Ankara.[2][8] In July 2023, he led a group of Turkish students to participate in World Youth Day in Lisbon, where they met with Pope Francis.[10][11] He has met Pope Francis on several other occasions, once serving as translator when the pope met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[1]

Pope Francis named him titular bishop of Tubernuca and auxiliary bishop of the Vicariate of Anatolia on 28 August 2023.[2] He is the first Turk named a bishop since the papal nuncio Julio Murat in 2012.[1]

He received his episcopal consecration on 25 November in the Basilica of St. Anthony of Istanbul.[12]


  • Muslim and Catholic Perspectives on Disability: A Proposal for Muslim-Christian Dialogue. Libra Kitap. 2017. ISBN 978-605-2380-07-9.[13]


  1. ^ His ordination followed closely upon the assassination of the Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, Bishop Luigi Padovese, in Iskenderun on 3 June 2010.


  1. ^ a b c d Palermo, Antonella (28 August 2023). "The Jesuit Ilgit, auxiliary bishop of Anatolia: to be a bridge between the Church and Turkey". Italy24. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Resignations and Appointments, 28.08.2023" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 28 August 2023. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Zambon, Maria Grazia (5 July 2010). "Ankara, mass of Fr. Antuan, first Turkish Jesuit". Asia News. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b "In Franken als Muslim geboren, bald Weihbischof in Türkei" (in German). 28 August 2023. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  5. ^ a b c "Papa Francesco nomina Antuan Ilgit SJ Vescovo Ausiliare dell'Anatolia". Gesuiti (in Italian). 28 August 2023. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  6. ^ "Padre Ilgit, un gesuita turco-italiano". Gesuiti (in Italian). 24 January 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Ethics Fellowship". Boston College News. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  8. ^ a b Balhan, Jean-Marc (28 November 2022). "Derniers vœux d'Antuan Ilgıt à Ankara". Jesuits Pro (in French). Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  9. ^ "Antuan Ilgit: le Jésuite Turc qui a vécu le tremblement de terre". Jesuits Global (in French). 21 March 2023. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  10. ^ Salvi, Dario (28 August 2023). "Fr Antuan, a Turkish bishop for the earthquake victims in Iskenderun". Asia News. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  11. ^ "O abraço de Francisco aos jovens turcos atingidos pelo terremoto" (in Portuguese). Vatican News. 3 August 2023. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  12. ^ "Anatolia, il vescovo ausiliare Ilgit: giovani e dialogo per rinascere dopo il terremoto". AsiaNews (in Italian). 26 November 2023. Retrieved 27 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Muslim and Catholic Perspectives on Disability - A Proposal for Muslim - Christian Dialogue". Libra Kitap. Retrieved 30 August 2023. Includes table of contents.
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