Message of the Holy Father
The Golden Jubilee of the episcopal consecration of Your Holiness, which has culminated in your distinguished ministry as Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, offers me the opportunity to extend my congratulations and prayerful good wishes to you.
I thank the Lord for the many blessings he has bestowed on the Assyrian Church of the East through your ministry, and I am grateful for your commitment to promoting constructive dialogue, fruitful cooperation and growing friendship between our Churches. I recall your presence at the funeral of John Paul II and, previously, your 1994 visit to Rome to sign a Common Declaration on Christology. The subsequent Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East has borne many fruits. I renew the hope which I expressed during your visit to Rome in June 2007, that "the fruitful labour which the Commission has accomplished over the years can continue, while never losing sight of the ultimate goal of our common journey towards the re-establishment of full communion".
I wish also to reiterate my solidarity with the Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, praying that effective forms of common witness to the Gospel and pastoral collaboration in the service of peace, reconciliation and unity may be deepened between the Catholic and Assyrian faithful.
Your Holiness, on this significant anniversary, I pray that the love of God the Father may enfold you, the wisdom of the Son enlighten you and the fire of the Holy Spirit continue to inspire you.
With sentiments of respect, I extend to Your Holiness a fraternal embrace in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
[00734-02.01] [Original text: English]