Catholic World News

Controversial Archbishop Capucci, expelled from Israel, dies at 94

January 02, 2017

Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, the former Melkite Catholic patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem, has died at the age of 94.

A native of Syria, Archbishop Capucci was arrested by Israeli police in 1974 and eventually smuggling arms to Palestinian militants on the West Bank. He was sentenced to a 12-year prison term, but released after four years but expelled from Israel.

Archbishop Capucci resigned from his episcopal duties in 1974, at the age of only 51. He continued to play an active role in public affairs, however. He was a mediator in negotiations for the release of US hostages in Iran in 1980, and was an outspoken critic of US intervention in Iraq. In 2009 he was a passenger on a ship that sought to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Syrian prelate was living in Rome at the time of his death.


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  • Posted by: Archpriest - Jan. 02, 2017 7:19 PM ET USA

    Archbishop HILARION was arrested and framed, presumably by the Israeli Mosad, due to his effectiveness in advocating Palestinian rights. He vehemently denied the" trumped up" charge of gun-running. He was traveling on a diplomatic passport of the Holy See when he was illegally arrested despite his diplomatic status.