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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 18:07 GMT
Funeral Mass for Iraqi archbishop
The funeral of Iraqi Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho 14 March 2008
The funeral took place in Mar Aada church in Kremlis
Christians from across Iraq have attended the funeral of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho.

Surrounded by armed guards, mourners wept and held flowers as the coffin was carried through the village of Kremlis, near Mosul in northern Iraq.

The archbishop's body was found in a shallow grave on Thursday, two weeks after he was kidnapped.

His abductors had telephoned the church authorities to say where his body was.

"He was a man of honesty, loyalty and peace," Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the patriarch of the Chaldean church in Iraq, said during a nearly hour-long funeral Mass.

"He was loved by all Iraqi people."

The killing has been condemned by Pope Benedict XVI, the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Maliki, and Iraq's Sunni and Shia leaders.

Archbishop Rahho was kidnapped after leading prayers at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul on 29 February. Three of his aides were killed in the abduction.

Iraqi police say the condition of the archbishop's body, which bore no bullet wounds, suggests he may have died at least a week ago.

According to the SIR Catholic news agency, the kidnappers told Iraqi church officials on Wednesday that Archbishop Rahho was very ill and, later on the same day, that he was dead.

It is not clear whether he was killed, or died of natural causes. Nobody has claimed responsibility for his death.

The Chaldeans are the largest sect within Iraq's Christian community, which was estimated at 800,000 before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

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