Pope Francis Sends Condolences for Death of Assyrian Patriarch of the East

Recalls His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV’s Enduring Commitment to Improving Relations Among Christians

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“The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times.”

Pope Francis expressed this in a telegram of condolence upon hearing of the passing of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.

The Assyrian Patriarch passed away at age 79 Thursday morning at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

In the telegram, the Pope noted His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV «suffered greatly» because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria, and «resolutely called attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution.»

The Holy Father recalled that he and the patriarch spoke «at length» during the patriarch’s recent visit to the Vatican.

Francis gave «heartfelt thanks to God for the enduring commitment of His Holiness to improving relations among Christians” and in particular, between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.

The Holy Father concluded, praying, “May the Lord receive him into his kingdom and grant him eternal rest, and may the memory of his long and devoted service to the Church live on as a challenge and inspiration to us all.”

The Church leader was consecrated as Patriarch on October 17, 1976. Having served 39 years at his post, his tenure was the tenth longest in Church history.

The Iraq native was known for having brought stability and peace to a Church in turmoil.

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Article on Patriarch’s Death: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/assyrian-patriarch-passes-away-in-minnesota

The Telegram: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-telegram-for-death-of-patriarch-of-assyrian-church-of-east

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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