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Iraq's Chaldean church elect new patriarch, Sako, to replace retired Cardinal Delly

Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church has elected a new patriarch, Monsignor Louis Sako, to replace the retired Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly.

The Vatican on Friday said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the appointment made by a meeting of bishops of the Eastern rite church.

The 64-year-old Sako has been archbishop of Kirkuk since 2003. Delly, 85, became Iraq's first cardinal when he was elevated by Benedict in 2007.

In the aftermath of the Iraq war, Delly had urged the country's remaining 1.5 million Christians to stay in the country amid a surge in attacks by Islamic militants.