LONDON (CNS) — Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad, Iraq, died July 27 of kidney problems. The bishop, who was 67, died in Irbil, in Kurdish northern Iraq.
He was scheduled to be buried in St. Joseph Cathedral, Ankawa, near Irbil, later the same day after a funeral celebrated by the Chaldean patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad.
Pope John Paul II ordained him a bishop Jan. 6, 2003 — less than three months before the U.S.-led invasion of his country. Throughout the war years, Bishop Abouna ministered to the Christian people of Baghdad.
Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil said the bishop was a pastor who was “always smiling, even in difficult situations.”
“He was a very close friend, not just to me but to so many others,” he told the United Kingdom branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a charity for persecuted Christians that had helped fund Bishop Abouna’s health care.
Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk also paid tribute to Bishop Abouna in a July 27 press statement.
“He really took care of each one of his priests, and he always worked for the unity of the church,“ he said.“I hope he can pray for us from heaven.”
Bishop Abouna was born March 23, 1943, in Bedar, a village outside the northern Iraqi town of Zakho. He entered St. Peter’s Seminary, then based in Mosul, and was ordained a priest June 5, 1966.
A year later, he was appointed to a parish in Basra, southern Iraq, and four years later became pastor of St. Joseph the Worker, Baghdad, where he served for 20 years.
In 1989, he became secretary to Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Bidawid of Baghdad.
About two years later, he moved to London to serve as priest in charge of the Chaldean and Syrian-Catholic Mission in England, a role in which he remained for 11 years.