Legal hurdles over Catholico’s trip to Damascus cleared

March 26, 2014 by  
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Patriarch Ignatius ZakkaKochi, March 25, 2014: Legal hurdles have been cleared for Catholicos Baselios Thomas I’s trip to Damascus to attend the funeral services of Ignatius Zakka- I, the supreme head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, who passed away last week.

The trip had been put in trouble after the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Kolenchery, rejected the application to release the passport of the prelate, against whom there the court had earlier issued an arrest warrant. The passport of the Catholicos was surrendered following the arrest warrant issued against him by the court on petitions alleging fund misappropriation.

“The passport has been released on Monday following an application. The Catholicos will leave for Damascus as early as possible,” said Church authorities. Patriarch Zakka I died in Germany on Friday and the funeral is scheduled to be held in Damascus on Friday.

As per the protocol of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Catholicos Baselios Thomas I holds highest office after the patriarch. Therefore he is the prelate who is to preside over the funeral and the election of new patriarch thereafter. A 40-member delegation comprising priests, bishops and laymen will accompany the Catholicos.

– new indian express


Pope Francis expresses sorrow for the death of Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas

Vatican, March 23, 2014: Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolences to the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antionch and all the East upon the death of Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas who passed away in a German hospital on March 21, at the age of 80.
In his message, the Pope describes the Patriarch as “an outstanding spiritual leader who corageously led his people through very difficult times”.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s message:
To the Locum Tenens Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East
With deep sorrow I have learned of the passing of His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, father and chief pastor of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East, and I hasten to express to you, to the Bishops, clergy and lay faithful, my personal condolences and the prayerful closeness of all Catholics at this time of deeply-felt loss. The whole Christian world has lost one of its outstanding spiritual leaders, courageous and wise in leading people through very difficult times.

Following his election ad Patriarch in 1980 His Holiness was an engaged witness of the successive violent conflicts that have brought untold death and suffering to the Middle East, especially to Iraq and most recently Syria. His Holiness was a man of dialogue and peace with regard to the followers of all religious traditions. In particular I give heartfelt thanks to God for his constant work to improve relations among Christians and, from the time he attended the Second Vatican Council as an observer, for his extraordinary contribution to strengthening communion between Syrian Orthodox Christians and the Catholic faithful.

May the Almighty receive him into his kingdom and grant him eternal rest, and may the memory of his long and devoted service to the Church live on as a challenge and a stimulus to all.


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