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2009 - His Excellency

Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho

of Mosul, Iraq


On 9 June 2009 the Path to Peace Foundation bestowed posthumously the 2009 Path to Peace Award to Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, of Mosul, Iraq.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, and President of the Path to Peace Foundation, announced that decision was made by the Board of the Path to Peace Foundation, an agency established to carry out projects to support the work of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations.

Paulos Faraj Rahho was born in Mosul, Iraq, in 1942. He spent nearly all his life in Mosul, a city with one of the oldest Christian populations. Following his ordination to the priesthood he was appointed to St. Isaiah’s Church in Mosul, then to the Sacred Heart on Tel Keppe, a new district of Mosul. He also opened an orphanage for disabled children.

On February 16, 2001, he was ordained Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, giving him responsibility for about 20,000 Catholics in ten parishes. Chaldean Catholics comprise a tiny minority of the Iraqi population, but are the largest group among the less than 1 million Christians in the country.

Archbishop Rahho expressed disquiet at the moves to incorporate Sharia law more fundamentally into the Iraqi constitution, and continued throughout his life to lead worship in difficult situations. Following the start of the Iraq war, Christians have endured hardships. Despite the adversities facing Christians, Archbishop Rahho encouraged Christians to stay in Mosul, and he pushed for tolerance among all factions.

On February 29, 2008, gunmen kidnapped Rahho outside his church in Mosul as he drove home after he had finished celebrating a prayer service. After two weeks of searching, officials at the Archeparchy were  informed that the Archbishop had died and where to find his body. Also murdered were his bodyguards and driver.

It is in the context of the debate on intercultural and interreligious dialogue currently taking place at the United Nations, that the Path to Peace Foundation wishes to recognize a deeply-felt and precious testimony in favor of the urgency to respect and promote everywhere in the world the fundamental right to religious freedom.                                   

In addition to the Path to Path Award, four individuals received the Servitor Pacis Award for their contribution to the common good. These honorees are: Judge Andrew Napolitano, Bob & Suzanne Wright (Co-Founders of Autism Speaks), and Father John P. Foley, S.J. (Co-Founder of Cristo Rey Network). The event was held at a Gala Dinner sponsored by the Foundation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

 New York, June 2009