Former Syriac Catholic Patriarch Dies
Syria-born Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud died 7 April in a Rome hospital. The 81-year-old cardinal was the retired prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and the former patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church. He is pictured during the 2005 conc lave in St. Peters Basilica at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
11 Apr 2012 by Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Mourning the death of
Syrian-born Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, who died
April 7 in a Rome hospital, Pope Benedict XVI also
prayed for the people of the Middle East “living through
The 81-year-old cardinal was the retired prefect of
the Congregation for Eastern Churches and the former
patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of
Cardinals, led the Latin-rite funeral Mass April 10 in St.
Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Daoud's body was to be flown to
Beirut for a Syriac-rite burial with the other patriarchs of
In his homily, Cardinal Sodano said he had visited
the ailing patriarch a few days before he died. He said
Cardinal Daoud told him he was “offering to the Lord his
suffering for the good of the holy church and above all for
the unity of all Christians.”
In a condolence message to Syriac Patriarch
Ignatius Joseph III Younan of Antioch, Pope Benedict
called the cardinal a “faithful pastor who devoted himself
with faith and generosity to the service of the people of
The pope also assured the patriarch that during
“these days, when we celebrate the resurrection of the
Lord,” he was offering special prayers “for the peoples of
the region who are living through difficult times.”
Cardinal Daoud was born Basile Moussa Daoud
in Meskene, Syria, Sept. 18, 1930, and had served as
archbishop of Homs, one of the cities now being most
deeply affected by violence as the government of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad reacts to efforts to oust him.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1954, he earned a
degree in canon law from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran
University. He was elected bishop of Cairo in 1977 and
archbishop of Homs in 1994.
The synod of the Syriac Catholic Church, one of
the Eastern churches in communion with Rome, elected
him patriarch of Antioch in 1998 and, following Syriac
tradition, he took the name Ignace in honor of St. Ignatius
He resigned as patriarch in 2001 after Blessed
John Paul II named him prefect of the Congregation for
Eastern Churches, which oversees the Vatican’s care for
the 22 Eastern Catholic churches that originated in the
Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa and that
continue to maintain distinctive liturgical and legal
systems. He retired as prefect in 2007.
Addressing an international meeting on religion
and peace in 2000, the cardinal said everyone talks about
the need for peace, and many organizations are committed
to trying to bring peace to the world.
“Certainly, they can do much, but they cannot
make peace,” he said. While saying that “prayer as a
source of peace in our contemporary world seems unusual
and perhaps even lame,” he added that, if peace is order,
harmony and understanding, then it must begin in the
heart of each individual.
“This interior peace cannot come except when one
is at peace with God,” he had said.
Tags: Syria Syriac Catholic Church Antioch