This morning, Pope Francis sent a telegram to Iraq expressing his condolences to the patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphaël I Sako, recognizing the death of Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, retired bishop of Babylon and former archbishop of Bagdad, who died at age 86 in San Diego, California.
Francis expressed that he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death of Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, retired patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans.
Confirmed as archbishop of Bagdad and the patriarch of Babylon in 2003, his time in these positions coincided with the Iraq War. He was elevated to cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. When he was nominated as cardinal, the Iraqi Prime Minister said that his nomination “honors all Iraqis and represents a victory for Iraq in its fight against terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism.” At that concistory, Pope Benedict highlighted the important role of Cardinal Delly in the war-torn nation.
Cardinal Delly was considered a defender of Christians in Iraq. He called for prayers and peace as he witnessed attacks on Christian sites in Iraq. He was a strong voice against the conflict and tragedy in the region. He raised global awareness of happenings in Iraq and was a voice of hope.
Francis’ message of condolence also assured the Iraqi people of his prayers: I offer you, the clergy, men and women religious and lay faithful of the Patriarchate, both in Iraq and in the diaspora, my condolences and the assurance of my prayers. I recall with deep gratitude the late Patriarch’s dedication to his people and to the promotion of respectful, just and peaceful relations with followers of other religious traditions.”
“I join you and all who mourn the passing of this esteemed Pastor in commending his noble soul to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and hope in the Lord.”
Vatican Secretary of State Jesuit Cardinal Pietro Parolin also sent his condolences.
Cardinal Parolin wrote to his “brother bishops” and to the Church in Iraq that he offers his “heartfelt sympathy on the passing of His Beatitude Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly. I pray that the Lord whom he served with fidelity will grant him eternal rest.” (D.C.L.)
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On ZENIT’s webpage:
For the full text of the telegram, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-telegram-of-condolence-on-death-of-cardinal-emmanuel-iii-delly