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Cardinal Delly, former Chaldean patriarch, dead at 86

Catholic World News - April 09, 2014

Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, who led the Chaldean Catholic Church from 2003 to 2012, has died in a San Diego hospital, according to a Fides news service report.

Born in 1927, Cardinal Delly was ordained to the priesthood in 1952 and the episcopate in 1963. In October 2003, seven months after the US invasion of Iraq, he was elected patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007.

“Cardinal Delly served the Chaldean Church for more than 60 years with dedication, first as a priest and then as bishop and as patriarch,” said his successor, Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako. “He suffered moments of difficulty: the revolution in 1958; the wars in the last decades; the persecution of Christians followed by the invasion of the USA. In all this time he remained loyal to his country and to his people, he did not abandon his flock, he remained with his faithful, praying, helping, encouraging them.”

“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,” Pope Francis said in a telegram of condolence. “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.”

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