Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday encouraged Christians and Muslims in Iraq to continue their centuries-old brotherly ties as he prayed for peace and harmony in that violence-wracked country.
Benedict told pilgrims at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo that he had "the joy" on Saturday to meet with the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, Emmanuel III Delly.
Delly has been seeking the release of a priest who was kidnapped in Baghdad, and the pope also has appealed publicly for his release. The Rev. Hanna Saad Sirop, who is director of the Theology Department at Babel College, was abducted August 15 as he left Mass celebrating the Assumption holiday. Benedict made no mention of the case Sunday.