Vatican puts Iraqi priest, deacons killed in Mosul on the road to sainthood

The Vatican has granted permission for the opening of the sainthood cause of an Iraqi priest and three deacons who were murdered by armed gunmen in Mosul 11 years ago.

The Congregation for Saints' Causes gave 'nihil obstat' ('no objection'), which permits a diocesan bishop to open a local inquiry into a candidate's sanctity, according to Fides.

Fides confirmed that because of the difficult conditions facing the church in Mosul, the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle of Detroit will be handling the process.

ReutersAn Iraqi Christian in Mosul

Chaldean Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni, his cousin deacon Basman Yousef Daud, and deacons Wahid Hanna Isho and Gassan Isam Bidawed were killed on June 3, 2007, in front of the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul. Ganni had reportedly just finished celebrating mass for the feast of Pentecost.

According to the Catholic News Service, the three deacons had been accompanying Ganni because of increasing threats against him by militants.

Armed gunman shot the four men and then booby-trapped their car with explosives to prevent others from recovering the bodies safely, according to Asia News.

The Catholic News Service reported that Ganni was born in Mosul in 1972, graduated in engineering and studied theology from 1996 to 2003 at Rome's Pontifical Irish College and the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas the 'Angelicum,' where he received a licence in ecumenical theology.