On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the Archbishop-elect of Tehran-Ispahan, Iran, Friar Dominique Mathieu, was consecrated through the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer of His Eminence, Leonardo Cardinal SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. His Eminence, Mauro Cardinal GAMBETTI, and the Most Reverend Ignazio BEDINI, Archbishop emeritus of Ispahan, served as co-consecrators. The ordination took place in the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles in Rome.
Many other archbishops and bishops took part in the solemn liturgy, including the Most Reverend Rami AL-KABALAN, Titular Bishop of Arethusa dei Siri. Several confreres attended, including the Custos of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, Friar Anton BULAI; the Custos of the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi), Friar Marco MORONI; the Custos of the Provincial Custody of St. Daniel and Companion Martyrs in Italy (Calabria), Friar Giorgio TASSONE; and the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia, Friar Igor SALMIC. Other concelebrants included the Guardians of the General Houses in Rome, as well as various confreres and priest-friends of the friars. The size of the Basilica made it possible to host a celebration that was as solemn as it was participatory, in accordance with the current regulations.
Other dignitaries present included His Excellency, Seyed Taha HASHEMI, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Holy See and His Excellency, Patrick RENAULT, Ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See.
At the beginning of the celebration, the Minister General, Friar Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI, spoke, greeting everyone and in particular, expressing esteem and gratitude to Friar Dominique for his dedication in serving the Order as an Assistant General. He also praised him for his transparency, which is characteristic of his interpersonal relationships.
Cardinal SANDRI gave a beautiful and expressive homily in which he encouraged Friar Dominique in this new mission. The cardinal took inspiration from the words addressed to the Prophet Jeremiah, in the story of his vocation, and from the Sermon on the Mount, proclaimed in the Gospel of Matthew. The cardinal also mentioned the Franciscan greeting of peace. Then he touched on some of the more colorful aspects of Friar Dominique and his passion for astronomy. The cardinal mentioned the tradition of the Magi which holds that they came from Persia. He also drew a parallel between the observation of the stars and Friar Dominique’s new ministry, including his episcopal coat of arms, which features the star of Persia, representing the Virgin Mary and contains the name of Jesus, placed on the white background of the Eucharistic bread.
In conclusion, Friar Dominique addressed the assembly—those present and those live-streaming the event—and thanked them for attending. He spoke in various languages so that parts of his message could be understood by those who did not speak Italian.
Friar Víctor Manuel MORA MESÉN
Friar Agnello STOIA