Friday, April 08, 2005

Farewell To The Pope In Iraq

Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, the head of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church, held a mass in Baghdad in memory of Pope John Paul II. The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Under a late afternoon sun on Thursday, the worshippers passed through a protective cordon of red-bereted soldiers from the newly trained, mostly Muslim, Iraqi army. Inside, amid air smoky with incense, a tearful congregation recalled the Polish man who had given help and hope to Iraq's dwindling Christian population.

"The Pope won the hearts of everybody because he worked for the good of all," said Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, the head of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church. John Paul's death "was a loss not only for Iraqi Catholics and Christians but indeed it was a loss for the whole world".


In a show of solidarity, five Shiites, including a cleric from Iran, also attended.

"It is a big honour to come here and join our friends and brothers at this service," said the Iranian, Ali Akbar Hakim.

"John Paul II has been very close to Iraqis," Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad's Roman Catholic, or Latin, community said in an interview this week. "Christians need a protector, or father, someone who protects them, and I think the Pope is one who protected them."


Christian Iraq has published photos from the mass in Baghdad.


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