On Wednesday afternoon, Pope John Paul II received in audience His Beatitude Emmanuel III Dely, the new Patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans, Iraq, who was elected at the end of the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church, which took place on December 2-3 at the Vatican.
The new Patriarch succeeds His Beatitude Raphael I Bidawid who died this past July.
The Holy Father granted ecclesiastical communion to the new patriarch in accordance with the established canons.
According to Eastern rite traditions, Chaldean top Church leaders or patriarchs are elected by majority in a council of Chaldean bishops. If bishops cannot elect the patriarch, then the Pope elects one. If one is elected, the Pope accepts him by granting the ecclesiastical communion.
In brief remarks to members of the synod, John Paul II asked them to convey to the faithful of their communities his “affection and prayers.”
“The Pope is close to all Iraqis and knows their aspirations for peace, security and freedom.”
“Peace is so necessary if we look at your land, which needs more than ever authentic peace and tranquility. Work to ‘join the efforts’ of all believers for respectful dialogue that fosters building up a stable and free society at all levels,” the Pontiff concluded.