Pontiff Mourns Cardinal Ghattas

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI extolled the zeal and simplicity of the former patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, who died Tuesday. He was 89.

In a telegram sent today to Archbishop Antonios Naguib, the current patriarch of the Catholic Coptic Church in Alexandria, the Pope affirms his “union in prayer with that patriarchal Church, with the family of the deceased and with all those who mourn.” The cardinal died Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt.

The Holy Father asked that the “Risen Christ to welcome into his joy and peace this faithful servant of the Church who, first as a missionary of the Congregation of the Mission, then as bishop of Luxor, and finally as patriarch, committed himself with zeal and simplicity to the service of the People of God, in a spirit of dialogue and coexistence with everyone.”

He conferred his apostolic blessing upon “bishops, priests and faithful of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, upon the Lazarist confreres of the late cardinal, upon his family and upon all those who, with hope, participate in his funeral.”

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