London and Ramallah – Archbishop of Jerusalem Hilarion Capucci passed away at the age of 94 in exile in Italian Capital of Rome on Sunday.
The official Palestinian Wafa news agency quoted President Mahmoud Abbas who mourned the late Archbishop describing him as a martyr for Jerusalem and a “brave fighter.”
Palestinian government spokesperson Youssef Mahmoud said in a statement that the death of Archbishop Capucci saddens every Palestinian citizen for his patriotic stances and continuous support for the Palestinian people and cause.
His death was also mourned in a statement issued by Hamas and its leader President Abbas which praised him for a life devoted to “defending the Palestinian people and their just cause.” The statement added that Archbishop Capucci was one of its leaders and spent his life a strong fighter for all the rights of Palestinian people.
Izzat al-Rishq, member of the political bureau of Hamas, tweeted on his account that Palestine had lost a great supporter who always stood by the Palestinian people and called for their rights, adding that Capucci had paid a price for his brave opinions.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Gregarious III Laham mourned Capucci, affirming that he was the hero of the Palestinian cause for which he had struggled all his life.
The late Capucci was born in Aleppo city in 1922 and became a bishop of the Greek Catholic Church in Jerusalem in 1965.
In 1974, Israeli occupation forces arrested Capucci and sentenced him to 12 years in prison on charge of supporting the resistance, but they released him after four years under pressure from the Vatican and then they exiled him from the occupied Palestine in 1978 to Rome.