The successor comes after after a gap of five years since the murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese. Bishop Padovese was stabbed and beheaded on June 3, 2010, in Iskenderun. His driver, reportedly had mental problems, was convicted of his murder in 2013.
Father Paolo Bizzeti, aged 67, is a native of Florence who was ordained to the priesthood in 1975. He is founder of an Italian association called “Friends of the Middle East.”
A statement released by the Italian Jesuits reveals that Bishop Bizzeti said he had asked his superiors to send him to Turkey in 1984, “but the time was not right.” In the 30 years since, he said, he has continued to study Ephesus, Tarsus and other Turkish cities associated with the New Testament, to visit the Christian communities there and to accompany pilgrims.
Bishop Bizzeti has requested the prayers of all for his much loved mission in Turkey: “I am going with much humility because I am not young, I must learn the language. I’m going at the beginning of the jubilee Year of Mercy, and I ask everyone to be merciful toward me and I hope to bring them the mercy of God.”.