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Bishops elect new leader of Chaldean Catholics

A Baghdad-based bishop was elected patriarch of Babylon, spiritual leader of the world's estimated one million Chaldean Catholics, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

Bishop Emmanuel-Karim Delly, 76, was elected at a synod of 22 bishops called to Rome by Pope John Paul II to break a deadlock in the choice of a successor to Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid, who died in July after a long illness. He was 81.

The new patriarch took the name Karim III.

Iraqi Christians number about 800,000 about three percent of the population with the ancient Chaldean community the largest. Church groups say they number between 500,000 and 700,000, but the numbers have been steadily shrinking.

A total of 22 bishops took part in the voting, including prelates from the Chaldean Diaspora in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The Chaldean Church, like other Eastern-Rite churches, is loyal to the pope but does not follow the Roman church's Latin Rite.

Bishops elect new leader of Chaldean Catholics (Boston Globe/AP 3/12/03)

Archbishop Emmanuel III (Emmanuel-Karim) Delly (
Chaldean church elects Baghdad-based archbishop as new patriarch (Catholic News Service 3/12/03)
New Chaldean Patriarch, Pope exchange full communion (Catholic World News 4/12/03)
Bishops Elect Chaldean Catholics Leader (Associated Press 3/12/03)

5 Dec 2003