Istanbul (Turkey) - The funeral of Catholic Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca González, who died on the evening of Tuesday 22 December due to the effects of Covid-19, was celebrated today, Tuesday 29 December, in Istanbul, at the Catholic Cathedral dedicated to the Holy Spirit, in the neighborhood of Harbiye. Funeral rites were celebrated in accordance with the standards arranged because of the pandemic. The body of the Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul for the faithful of the Latin rite was buried in the Latin Catholic cemetery of Feriköy.
In recent days, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also broadcast a message of condolence following the death of the Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul, who was also President of the Turkish Catholic Bishops' Conference. "I am sorry" Erdogan's message reads "for the death of Rubén Tierrablanca González, Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul and President of the Turkish Bishops' Conference, who had been in intensive care for some time because of Covid-19. I would like to express my condolences to the Latin Catholic community, to those close to him and in particular to his dear family". On the occasion of the solemnity of Christmas, the Turkish President also sent a message of congratulations to Christians, inviting everyone to "accept our differences as wealth", in order to "build a more prosperous future in mutual respect".
Originally from Mexico, belonged to the Order of Friars Minor, Rubén Tierrablanca González died at the age of 68, saddening all those whom he had comforted in the course of his life thanks to the gift of his simple faith and his charity always ready to help the most needy (see Fides 23/12/2020). In Turkey since 2003, he had served as guardian of the Franciscan convent in Istanbul and as parish priest, reviving the International Fraternity for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue in Turkey. On April 16, 2016, Pope Francis appointed him Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul. In 2018 he was appointed President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Turkey. After his death, Pope Francis appointed the Dominican Lorenzo Piretto, Archbishop Emeritus of Izmir, as Apostolic Administrator sede vacant of the Apostolic Vicariate of Istanbul and of the Exarchate for the faithful of the Byzantine rite residing in Turkey. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 29/12/2020)