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New Bishops for Syrian Catholic Church

03 Mar 2011 – by Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has approved the elections of bishops for the Syrian Catholic Church, including new archbishops for Baghdad and Mosul in Iraq.

The appointments come after increasing violence against Catholic personnel and institutions in Iraq. Last fall, a bomb attack on a Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad left more than 50 people dead.

Named as Syrian-rite archbishop of Baghdad was Father Yousif Mansoor, 59, an Iraqi-born priest currently serving at the St. Joseph Syrian Catholic Church in Mississauga, Ontario. Since 1997, he has been in charge of pastoral care for Syrian-rite Catholics in the United States and Canada. He speaks Syrian, Arabic, French and English.

Named as Syrian-rite archbishop of Mosul was Iraqi Father Boutros Moshe, 67, who has worked in seminary formation in Baghdad and Mosul. In 2007, he became rector of the new seminary in Qaraqosh near Mosul, and has been vicar general of the Syrian Archdiocese of Mosul.

Archbishop-elect Moshe succeeds Archbishop Georges Casmoussa, 72, who said after last year’s church bombing that the United Nations should step in and protect the Catholic community in Iraq. Archbishop Casmoussa was kidnapped by gunmen in 2005 and threatened with death, but eventually was released unharmed. Archbishop Casmoussa was transferred to the Syrian Catholic patriarchal curia.

The pope also approved the election of Father Jihad Battah, 54, as a bishop of the Syrian Catholic patriarchal curia. After several years of pastoral experience in Syria and Lebanon, he was rector of the College of St. Ephraim in Rome until 2009, when he returned to Damascus to serve as vicar general of the Syrian-rite archdiocese.