Iraqi Christians Remember Murdered Archbishop

Paulos Faraj Rahho, Archbishop of Mosul, Kidnapped and Killed 13 Years Ago

iraqi christians archbishop
© Fides

As they prepare to welcome Pope Francis, Iraqi Christians commemorate Paulos Faraj Rahho, Archbishop of Mosul, on the thirteenth anniversary of his kidnapping and assassination, and there are those who ask to re-launch the investigations to clarify the enigmas that still surround his death, reported Fides News Agency.

On February 29, 2008, the car in which the Archbishop was traveling was attacked by a group of unknown armed men. Archbishop Rahho had just left the church of the Holy Spirit, where he had celebrated the Via Crucis. The driver and two of his collaborators who were in the car with him were killed immediately, while the Archbishop was kidnapped. After days of intense negotiations for his release, his lifeless body was found on March 12, near an abandoned cemetery in Karama district. The causes of his death have never been definitively clarified. Now, while Mosul is also preparing to welcome Pope Francis during his pastoral visit to Iraq, the information portal launches an appeal to reopen the dossier of the investigation into this kidnapping, to try to shed light on those responsible for this kidnapping and the criminal act that led to his death.

In the aftermath of 2003, the US-led military intervention and the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, the city of Mosul was the scene of an escalation of violence, crimes, and kidnappings against local Christian communities.

The Synod of Chaldean Bishops had already in September 2016 put on the agenda the opening of the process of beatification of Archbishop Rahho and the Chaldean priest Raghiid Aziz Ganni and Sister Cecilia Moshi Hanna, killed in Baghdad in 2002.

In May 2018, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the Nihil Obstat required to start the canonization process of Father Raghiid Ganni and the three deacons – Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawid – killed with him by the armed commando who on June 3, 2007, attacked the church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul.

At the end of October 2019, the diocesan phase of the Cause of Beatification and Declaration of Martyrdom of the 48 servants of God, who were killed on October 31, 2010, in Baghdad by a terrorist commando in the attack on the Syrian Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baghdad, ended.