Enugu: Very Rev. Fr. Raymond Arazu, CsSp, is dead. In a statement issued on Sunday by Fr. Vitalis Anusionwu, C.SSp Provincial Secretary, Holy Ghost Fathers, Eastern Province of Nigeria
It is with a deep sense of loss but also in total submission to the will of God that we announce the transition of our confrere, Rev. Fr. Dr. Raymond ARAZU, C.S.Sp. whose sad event occurred in the morning of Sunday, December 26, 2021.
Fr. Arazu as you know had been weak in health and had been effectively managed by health experts. He struggled with prostate cancer for a long time and then diabetes. As he became weaker a few days ago, he was taken to Parklane hospital, Enugu, where he departed this world, around 7 a.m today being the 26th of December, 2021.
Please do remember him in your prayers and also say Masses for his repose following our tradition.
When his funeral date and arrangements have been finalized, it will be communicated accordingly.
May he rest in perfect peace, Amen!
Fraternally yours in
Arazu, who died at the age of 82 years was a renowned traditional medicine practicioner (dibịa) and exorcist. He was also Chairman, Anambra State Traditional Medicine Board and an ofo holder in his Eze Dibia clan of Otuke, Ihembosi in Ekwusigo LGA of Anambra State.
Indeed, Arazu was an embodiment of a perfect union between African traditionalism and Christianity.
Below are some excerpts on his glorious life
Daily Independent (25th June, 2014)
Nigeria: Arazu – Priest and ‘Dibia’ Combined in One
“Reverend Father Raymond Arazu (Agbawodikeizu of Ihembosi and Arazunwa bu Africa), a Catholic priest of the Order of the Holy Ghost Fathers is a man of many parts. Even though he is a reverend father, his admirers know him more for his practice of traditional medicine.
Every Tuesday, the day he consults and sees patients of every hue, his Spiritan Centre for Self-realization is full and patients attend the centre to buy their medicines when they run out. A man always deep in reflection, Fr. Arazu has written seven books mostly on esoteric science and devotes the first Monday of every month to teaching of that branch of science at the centre.”
Daily Sun (3rd February, 2021)
“If you hold the impression that a Catholic priest cannot be an Ofo custodian in Igbo land, you had better have a rethink as a renowned priest; Rev Father (Dr) Raymond Arazu of Eze Dibia clan in Otuke village, Ihembosi in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State is already a substantive custodian one.Daily Sun was told that the title is the exclusive preserve of the oldest man in that community.Rev Fr Arazu in his explanation after taking the prestigious Ofo stick said that the development was not his choice but was forced on him by fate (nature) as the oldest man in his community.
He further explained that he had carried out researches on the Ofo tree which he said actually originated from Senegal and found out that it was a spiritual tree that had structures similar to human skeleton.He said that Ofo tree is a sacred and spiritual tree that could not be hewed for fire wood and that any person having Ofo in his hand must compulsorily stand on the side of truth.Asked if he would not incur the wrath of the church for becoming a custodian of Ofo which is supposed to be for the traditionalists in Igbo land, his clan inclusive, the priest said that he was an authority and well-read; having gone to Rome, Italy to study Theology and Philosophy. He added that he actually got Doctorate Degree in Moral Theology which he said had given him the opportunity to study a lot about religion and tradition: «The fact that I›m a priest does not exempt me following the tradition of my people. I made a complete research about this Ofo thing.«The tree grows like that tree (pointing to a tree in his compound). You don›t cut it with a cutlass or any sharp object. It falls on its own. The branches fall off and they look like human skeleton. And that›s why the ancients chose it as a sacred tree».
On his passion for herbalism, Fr Arazu noted that herbalism runs in his family and in his blood.He recalled that he actually had psychological problem as a young man in the seminary because of herbalism in the family and that he actually wanted to leave the programme prematurely but was prevailed upon by his spiritual director then who dissuaded him not to withdraw: “When I look around, I know the value and use of the leaves and roots in the environment since my childhood. I actually learnt that from my father».He said he could make herbs available for all manner of diseases including anti-witch craft.”
While praying for the repose of his soul, it is our sincere prayer that Okuke Abịama Chi Ndigbo raises other Arazus to continue his onerous task of finding harmony between Catholicism (Christianity) and Igbo Traditionalism.