I wish to express my deepest condolences to the Australian Chaldean Community on the passing of His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch Emeritus of Babylon of the Chaldeans.
Cardinal Delly was a priest for more than 60 years, 50 years as Bishop and Patriarch, and always served the Church in Iraq. Although the situation was very dangerous, he stayed for his congregation and his country.
Mar Emmanuel III Delly was born on 27 September 1927, in Telkaif, Archeparchy of Mosul of the Chaldeans. He graduated in theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University and in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University.
Ordained as a Priest in 1952, he returned to Baghdad as secretary to the Patriarch in 1960. He was elected to the titular see of Paleopolis of Asia in 1962.
In 2003, after the war in Iraq began, he was elected Patriarch of Babylon by the bishops of the Chaldean Church.
His time in the ministry was plagued by violence and terror and the exodus of half the Iraqi Christian population. This period brought death and destruction and left the country in serious trouble.
Cardinal Delly was a voice of comfort to his followers in troubled times, and his faith in his country, his church and his people was unwavering.
Mar Emmanuel III Delly passed away April 9 at a hospital in the United States at the age of 87.
Cardinal Delly is a great loss to the Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Chaldean Australian community will all miss his wise leadership.