H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka's Encyclical on Fr Abdel's Martyrdomþ
- His Eminence, our brother in Christ, Mor Severius Hawa Esteemed Archbishop of Baghdad and Basrah
After prayers and peace in the Lord, we say:
With great sorrow we received the news of the martyrdom of the late
Reverend Father Yousef Adel Abboudi the parish priest of St.
Severius the Great, who was slain for sticking to the faith in the
Lord Jesus in performing his priestly duty. We cried for his
departure because it is a great loss to the Holy Church and his
family. Our comfort is in knowing that his virtuous spirit has
joined the spirits of the martyrs who were seen by St. John the
apostle as wearing white robes, the robes of righteousness and
holiness. And we shall perform memorial prayers for him tomorrow at
St. Ephraim the Syriac church in Ma'arret Saidnaya. And even though
we grieved for his loss on earth, yet we believe that God's heavenly
angels has received his soul with praise and hymns of glory.
His disastrous loss is very great and painful. But although his
virtuous body was laid to rest on earth, yet we bid him farewell
with strong faith and surrender to God's will and hope for the
general resurrection. We should not surrender to grief but we must
look on his departure through the eye of faith and see his pious
spirit flying in paradise with the spirits of the martyrs, saints
and devout priests. St. Paul the apostle commands us not to grieve
for "those who slept in faith like people of no hope", specially
that our beloved departed, father Yousef, has granted the crown of
martyrdom because of his faith in the Lord Jesus and his devotion to
Him, and we believe that the Lord Jesus has prepared for him in
heaven a crown of glory according to His promise.
In the face of such painful calamity we cannot but ask God Almighty
through the intercession of the righteous man of God, the slain
priest Yousef, to bring comfort to your eminence's heart and to his
brothers the priests and to his virtuous widow and his parents and
his pious uncle, Archdeacon Bashir Abboudi and all members of the
family and parish whom he served selflessly. And to grant us all
the power to endure this sorrowful event with faith in the Lord
Jesus Who promised us that He will come again with great glory and
all those in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, those
who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have
done evil to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5: 28-29). Let
his soul be with the saints who believed and done good works and let
his memory be everlasting.
May the grace of God be with you.
(Our Father Who art in Heaven ).
(Seal and Signature)