At the news of the death of Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Andrea Riccardi said:
“I express my sympathy and that of the entire Community of Sant'Egidio for the death of Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, one of the oldest Christian churches. Patriarch Zakka I, who I knew well, was a man of dialogue and encounter, meek and open to search for what unites, concerned for peace and unity among the Christian churches and he believed strongly in the mission of the great religions, which he regarded as 'the conscience of the world', for peace and the unity of the human race.
Zakka I participated over the years in the days of Prayer for Peace in the Spirit of Assisi organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio. In particular, I remember him in Milan, in 1993, at the meeting of Prayer for peace organised by Sant'Egidio together with Cardinal Martini, (pictured) when he said during his preaching in the cathedral of the city at the beginning of the meeting: "The followers of the great religions should work together for justice and compassion in order to make mankind happy”.
With him, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Syria, battered by war and the continuing violence in Syria and whose bishop of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim, was abducted last April, has lost a wise father and a passionate guide".
The Community of Sant'Egidio is joined fraternally in mourning and prayer to the Syrian Orthodox Church of Syria for its patriarch.