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Holy Land mourns death of Archbishop Sambi


Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States since 2005, died at the age of 73, on Wednesday  evening, July 27, 2011. The Nuncio was on a ventilator at a Baltimore hospital due to complications from a lung surgery performed two weeks ago as reported by Radio Vatican. He was Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Cyprus, as well as Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine from 1998 to 2005.

Born on June 27, 1938 in Sogliano, Rubicone, near Rimini (Italy), Pietro Sambi was ordained priest in 1964. Five years later, he joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in the Nunciatures and Apostolic Delegations served  in Cameroon,  between 1970 and 1980 in Jerusalem, Cuba, Algeria, Nicaragua, Belgium and India.

In 1985 he was appointed Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Burundi, then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Indonesia from 1991 to 1998, and Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Cyprus as well as Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine from 1998 to 2005. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Sambi Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in 2005.

In the Spring of 2002, Archbishop Sambi helped resolve the crisis resulting from the siege by the Israeli army in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where 200 Palestinians had taken refuge. Vatican Radio stated on July 28th, “the Italian prelate worked intensively for Christians in the Holy Land.”

The Church in Jerusalem remembers well, the years Archbishop Sambi spent in the Holy City. “He really loved the Holy Land and the Holy Land loved him,” said His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.  A Mass in his memory will be celebrated on Saturday, August 6th, 6:00 p.m., the feast of the Transfiguration at the Co-Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio and Delegate will preside and Patriarch Twal will deliver the homily.


Editorial Team and Agencies