Vatican Announces Release of Kidnapped Iraqi Archbishop

Vatican Announces Release of Kidnapped Iraqi Archbishop


The Vatican press office announced with relief and satisfaction today that, “we learned of the release of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul who had been kidnapped yesterday afternoon.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, made the declaration today upon learning of the release in Iraq of the kidnapped Syrian Catholic archbishop.

"The Holy Father”, he said, “was immediately informed and he thanked God for the happy outcome of this affair.

"The kidnapping caused great surprise because the archbishop was well loved by both Christians and Muslims."

He added that, "No ransom was paid.

Last evening Navarro-Valls, made the following statement to journalists: "The news has reached us of the kidnapping of Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul, Iraq, The Holy See deplores in the firmest possible manner this despicable terrorist act and asks that this worthy pastor be released immediately to his ministry."

Archbishop Casmoussa was born in Karakoche in northern Iraq in 1938. He was ordained a priest in 1962 and consecrated a bishop in December 1999.

The Iraqi population is estimated at 25 million. Approximately 750,000 are Christians, 70% of whom belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church. There are 60,000 Syrian Catholics in Iraq.

The kidnapping comes 2 weeks before Iraqi elections are scheduled and officials expect violence in the area to continue.

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