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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 19.12.2012]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


DELLY Card. Emmanuel III


Cardinal Patriarch Mar Emmanuel III Delly (Emmanuel-Karim), Patriarch emeritus of Babylon for the Chaldeans, was born on 27 September 1927 in Telkaif, Iraq. He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1952 and holds doctorates in theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University and in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University.

After his studies in Rome, on 30 December 1960 he returned to Baghdad as secretary to the Patriarch.

On 7 December 1962, at age 35, he was appointed titular Bishop of Palaeopolis in Asia and Auxiliary of the Patriarchate of Babylon for Chaldeans. He was ordained a bishop on 19 April 1963.

On 6 May 1967 he was promoted to the titular Church of Kaškar for Chaldeans. He also served as Auxiliary in Baghdad until his retirement on 24 October 2002.

On 3 December 2003 he was elected Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, succeeding the late Patriarch Raphaël I Bidawid, and was also granted ecclesiastical communion by John Paul II.

He is Patriarch of the largest Christian Church in Iraq (80 percent of the country’s Christians). It includes 8 dioceses with 100 parishes, as well as another 8 dioceses in diaspora.

In October 2005 he participated in the XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. 

He was a President Delegate ad honorem of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops (10-24 October 2010), "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. ‘Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul’ (Acts 4:32)".

From 8 to 12 November 2005 he presided a special Synod of Chaldean Bishops in Rome. 

He was President of the Synod of the Chaldean Church and of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Iraq.

He has endeavoured to improve the morale and safety of the population and to maintain friendly relations with Islam.

Patriarch emeritus of Babylon for the Chaldeans, 19 December 2012.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007.


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