Lutheran Leader Condemns Kidnapping and Death of Iraqi Archbishop ELCA NEWS SERVICE

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CHICAGO (ELCA) — The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ELCA) and president of the Lutheran World Federation LWF), issued a March 19 message calling the kidnapping and death of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho “a tragic act of violence.” Rahho, 65, was abducted Feb. 29 and his body was found March 13 in Mosul, Iraq.

“We extend our condolences to members of the

Chaldean Catholic Church and unite with people of faith from every tradition who condemn not only this kidnapping and death, but all acts of terror and extremism,” Hanson said.

Hanson said Rahho was recently quoted as saying, “Everyone is suffering from this war irrespective of religious affiliation, but in Mosul Christians face starker choices.”

“In the midst of this Holy Week, we pray for religious tolerance and mutual respect of other faith traditions throughout the world, and especially, we lift up the plight of all people who are persecuted for their faith,” Hanson said.

“Resting in God’s promised mercy, we lift up our prayers for peace and hope,” he said.

The LWF, based in Geneva, is a global communion of more than 68.3 million Christians in 140 Lutheran churches in 78 countries. The ELCA, an LWF member, is the fifth largest Protestant church body in the United States with 4.8 million members. — — — Statement of Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson on the Death of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho

In the midst of this Holy Week, we pray for religious tolerance and mutual respect of other faith traditions throughout the world, and especially, we lift up the plight of all people who are persecuted for their faith. We remember particularly the Chaldean community during these days of loss, suffering, and mourning. The kidnapping and death of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho is a tragic act of violence. We extend our condolences to members of the Chaldean Catholic Church and unite with people of faith from every tradition who condemn not only this kidnapping and death, but all acts of terror and extremism.

Archbishop Rahho had recently shared with a Vatican news agency: “Everyone is suffering from this war irrespective of religious affiliation, but in Mosul Christians face starker choices.” During this sacred week we remember our Lord’s plea, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Resting in God’s promised mercy, we lift up our prayers for peace and hope. For all who experience suffering, persecution, and death we pray, “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson Presiding Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America March 19, 2008

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