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Pope appoints new Apostolic Nuncio to United Arab Emirates

Monsignor Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to UAE

Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, titular archbishop of Roselle, as Apostolic Nuncio to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on January 3.

Archbishop El-Kassis will be the first nuncio to reside in the Nunciature in Abu Dhabi.

Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra opened the offices of the nunciature in Abu Dhabi on behalf of the Holy See on February 4, 2022. El-Kassis is expected to arrive in Abu Dhabi next month after serving as nuncio to Pakistan since November 2019.

Church leaders in Pakistan have welcomed the appointment of Monsignor Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis as UAE's Nuncio.

The President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan, Archbishop Joseph Arshad, called the transfer an honour for Archbishop El-Kassis.

According to Archbishop Arshad, "It will further strengthen diplomatic relations and facilitate mutual understanding between the Holy See and the United Arab Emirates."

Archbishop Arshad of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi diocese commented that Archbishop El-Kassis is a friendly person whose relationships with the government and the Church are good.

"It was a positive sign for the local Church that he visited many parishes and institutions, and I hope that the Christian community in the UAE, mostly foreigners, will be supported likewise. The UAE has already built several churches, which have demonstrated a great desire to improve interfaith efforts between Christians and Muslims and to facilitate closeness between religions, especially the Vatican," Archbishop Arshad told UCA News.  

Archbishop El-Kassis holds a doctorate in both Civil and Canon Law. He was assigned to the apostolic nunciature in Indonesia, Sudan, and Turkey from 2000 until 2019 and worked at the Holy See's Secretariat of State.

He speaks Arabic, English, Italian, French, Indonesian, German and Spanish.

The Papal Nuncio or the Nuncio represents the pope and the Vatican to a state or an international organization such as the United Nations. As well as selecting and appointing new bishops, the nuncio disciplined errant clergymen. - By Anbu Selvam


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