Patriarch of Antioch Tapped for
Syrian is New Prefect of Congregation for the Oriental Churches
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- John Paul II on Saturday
officially appointed Patriarch Ignace Moussa I Daoud of Antioch of the
Syrians, as prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental
The new Vatican prefect, who will quite likely be created a cardinal at
the next consistory, is replacing Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, 77, who
resigned for reasons of age.
The Italian cardinal had been the right-hand man of the late Vatican
secretary of state, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli. Together, they fostered
a policy of dialogue between the Vatican and Communist regimes that
gravitated around Moscow until the end of the 1980s. Cardinal
Silvestrini had been prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental
Churches since 1991.
Patriarch Ignace Moussa I Daoud, 70, born in Syria, finished his canon
law studies in Rome at the Pontifical Lateran University. He was named
bishop of the See of Cairo of the Syrians in 1977. In 1994 he was
promoted to the Archeparchy of Homs-Hama of the Syrians. Four years
later, in 1998, the Catholic-Syrian Sacred Synod of Antioch elected him
With the appointment of His Beatitude Ignace Moussa I Daoud, a primary
exponent of the ancient and glorious Oriental Churches once again
occupies the office of prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental
Churches. In the past, this post was held by the Armenian patriarch of
Catholic rite, Gregoire-Pierre XV Agagianian (1895-1971), and Duraisamy
Simon Lourdusamy, former archbishop of Bangalore, India.
This Vatican congregation has the task of being a unifying link with the
Eastern Catholic Churches to foster their growth, safeguard their
rights, and maintain the Eastern Christian tradition alive and whole in
the Catholic Church, along with the liturgical and spiritual patrimony
of the Latin Church.
Some of these Churches have other rites (sometimes the same as the
Orthodox Church), and another discipline (some, for example, accept the
ordination of married priests). All, however, all acknowledge the
primacy of the Bishop of Rome, sign of communion for the universal
In addition, the congregation has exclusive authority in the following
regions: Egypt and the Sinai peninsula, Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia,
Southern Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon,
Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Afghanistan.