Election of New Archbishop in Iraq OK'd

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II gave a boost to the presence of the Catholic Church in Iraq by approving the election of the new archbishop of the Archeparchy of Kirkuk of the Chaldeans.

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As is traditional in the Eastern-rite Churches, the election of the archbishop — in this case, Father Louis Sako — was carried out by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church, at a meeting held last Oct. 16-24 in Baghdad.

The Pope gave his consent Saturday to the election, to ratify the Chaldean Church’s communion with the universal Church.

The new archbishop, who until now was parish priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Mosul, was born on July 4, 1948. He has a doctorate in Eastern patrology from the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome, and in history from the Sorbonne of Paris.

During the period of the embargo against Iraq, Father Sako founded a medical clinic for the poor with the help of doctors and pharmacists. He has been rector of the patriarchal seminary for five years.

No announcement has been made of John Paul II’s consent to the election of the successor of the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, Raphael Bidawid, who died July 7 in Beirut, Lebanon.

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