(dpa) - The Vatican on Thursday expressed its sorrow at the news that Mosul Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho had been found dead in Iraq after his kidnapping last week.
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said in a statement:
"The news of the death of Archbishop Rahho, who was kidnapped a few days ago, is a deep and painful blow to the Holy Father who was informed immediately.
"We had all continued to hope and pray for his release, something the Pope had requested on a number of occasions in his appeals.
"Unfortunately the most senseless and unjustified violence continues to be inflicted on the Iraqi people, and especially on the small Christian community to which the Pope and all of us are particularly close in prayer and solidarity at this moment of great suffering.
"It is to be hoped that this tragic event may once more - and more powerfully - underline the responsibility of everyone, and especially of the international community, for the pacification of so troubled a country," the statement concluded.