Bishop dino Gabriel

Bishop Dino Gabriel – the Zulu-speaking Italian – has been elected as the Anglican Church’s new head of the Diocese of Natal.

Gabriel, who has been the head of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Zululand, will step into the shoes of Bishop Rubin Phillip at the end of September when he retires.

Gabriel was elected at an Elective Assembly on Thursday after a two-day conference.

Phillip was expected to comment on the new appointment on Friday. However Paddy Kearney, a prominent Durban Catholic and member of Diakonia, described Gabriel as “an extraordinary person”.

“I know him very well and he’s been a great success as Bishop of Zululand, he’s been there a very long time,” he said.

“He’s a very pastoral bishop with a genuine concern for the people,” he said.

Kearney said Gabriel, also well known in other churches, would be well received because of his pleasant, engaging and charismatic disposition.

“It’s a very big promotion for him,” he said. “As the Diocese of Natal you are regarded as the second diocese after the archbishop who is based in Cape Town,” he said.