04/15/2005, 00.00
VATICAN – CONCLAVE – SYRIA

Moussa I Daoud, symbol of the Eastern Catholic tradition

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Ignace Moussa I Daoud, 74, is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Vatican body in charge of relations with Catholic communities adhering to Eastern Rites: there are altogether 20 Churches with a total of 17.4 million followers in the world.

Born in Meskaneh, Syria, Cardinal Daoud holds a licentiate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

He was elected in 1977 by the Syrian Patriarchal Synod as Bishop of Cairo, Egypt, where he was instrumental in the building of Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral and, among other things, the Sittina Mariam Hospital.

In 1994 he became the Archbishop of Homs for Syrians in Syria, the diocese where he came from. Four years later, in 1998, he was elected Patriarch of Antioch for Syrians.

In 2000, Pope Paul John II appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, signalling the importance of Eastern Rite Churches that are in communion with Rome.

Such a goal, as John Paul II stressed on several occasion, was meant to underline the vocation of the Universal Church by focusing on is dual—Western and Eastern—traditions.

As Patriarch emeritus of Antioch for Syrians, Card Moussa I Daoud played an important role in organising John Paul II's historic trip to Syria in 2001.

However, he has been ostracised by the Greek Orthodox Church which did not allow him to accompany the Pope in his visit to Greece in that same year because he belongs to an 'Uniate' Church, that is a Eastern Rite Church tied to Rome.

Cardinal Moussa I Daoud is fluent in Arabic, Italian and French. (LF)

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