Former Franciscan leader of the Holy Land dies at 77; buried today, October 27, 2015

l_monsnazzaro150413IT(Franciscan Monastery, DC) Bishop Giuseppe Nazzaro, ofm, 77, former Custos of the Holy Land, and one of the founding members of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, who had also served as Latin-rite bishop in Aleppo, died this morning in the hospital of San Giovanni Moscati, in Avellino, Italy. Bishop Nazzaro was born Dec. 22, 1937, in San Potito Ultra (Avellino) and entered the minor seminary of the Custody of the Holy Land, in Rome, in 1950.

He received the Franciscan habit in 1956 and made his solemn profession in the 1960s. He was assigned to Aleppo for the first time in 1966, a year after his ordination. Ministry followed in Rome (1968), in Alexandria, Egypt (1971) and Cairo (1977).

During the Custodial Chapter of 1986 he was appointed secretary of the Custody. In 1992 he was appointed as Custos of the Holy Land. Following his term, in 1998, he was transferred to Italy. But in 2001 he was again sent to Syria. One year later he was chosen as apostolic vicar of Aleppo by St. John Paul II, and ordained bishop on Jan. 6, 2003 by the Pope himself in the Basilica of St. Peter.

Bishop Nazzaro left office in 2013, at the age of 75 years, by which time Syria had already been embroiled for two years in unrest and street protests against the central government. Nazzaro spent the last years of his life traveling, giving talks and interviews to raise public awareness among the media and politicians about the tragedy of the Syrian people.

The funeral will be held today, October 27, 2015, in Italy.  You prayers are appreciated.