Successor of murdered bishop in Hatay holds first service
Paolo Bizzeti, the bishop who assumed the post after the killing of Luigi Padovese three years ago, held his first service at the İskendarun Catholic Church on Nov. 29, 2015. AA PhotoThe bishop appointed as the Anatolian Apostolic Vicar by Pope Francis after the murder of his predecessor in the southern province of Hatay has held his first church service, in the İskenderun district of Hatay.
Paolo Bizzeti, the bishop who assumed the post after the killing of Luigi Padovese three years ago, held his first service at the İskendarun Catholic Church on Nov. 29, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Speaking in Italian during the service, Bizzeti expressed appreciation for his new post, saying he had always wanted to have a home in Hatay.
“I wanted to have a home in Hatay both for myself and for an association called ‘Friends of the Middle East,’ which I founded in 1991. God made my dream come true and gave me the pleasure of living together with you,” he said.
Bizzeti was born in Italy and became a priest in 1975. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Bologna and later wrote a 360-page book on Turkey.
The move came three years after the former vicar Padovese was killed by his driver in 2010.
Before killing Padovese, his driver Murat Altun had accused the vicar of forcing him to have sexual intercourse. Altun was later sentenced to 15 years in prison by the İskenderun 2nd Criminal Court.
Padovese’s post at the İskenderun Catholic Church has been empty since his killing, as no appointment had been made by the Pope.
However, on Aug. 14 this year, Bizzeti was announced as the new Anatolian Apostolic Vicar by Pope Francis.