The Reuters news agency, and several other agencies are reporting, though not the Holy See as yet, that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria killed Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, 59, who was kidnapped on 29 July.
Pope Francis mentioned his name at Mass on the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola on 31 July.
For the past 30 thirty years Father Dall’Oglio has been leading a religious and cultural life at the Monastery of Saint Moses (Deir Mar Musa). The Monastery and its community was known to be an interfaith center devoted to Muslim-Christian friendship. Rebuilding this 6th century but abandoned monastery was Father’s and his small community’s attempt at preserving Syrian Christian establishments. One of the stunning pieces of Syrian religious patrimony Dall’Oglio preserved was an 11th century fresco of the Last Judgment.
Father Dall’Oglio was ordained as a Syrian Catholic priest; he spoke Arabic and studied Islamic theology and philosophy. His doctoral studies and writing at the Gregorian University concentrated on the virtue of hope in Islam.
Father was expelled from Syria in 2012, though he would sneak back into the country from time-to-time.
More recently his voice has been heard in calling for the deposition of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some Islamist rebel groups.