Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a priest of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, has been made second personal secretary to Pope Francis, reports the Catholic News Agency.
The position is among the Pope’s closest collaborators, and this marks the first time that an Eastern Catholic priest has been appointed to the position.
The vacancy was filled by Msgr Lahzi Gaid on March 17. It was created when Msgr Alfred Xuereb was transferred from his position as Pope Francis’ personal secretary to being Prelate Secretary General of the Secretariat for the Economy.
Msgr Fabian Pedacchio Leaniz, who had been second to Msgr Xuereb and is a priest of the Buenos Aires archdiocese, is now First Secretary to the Pope, and Msgr Lahzi Gaid will assist him.
As Second Secretary, Msgr Lahzi Gaid will aid the Holy Father in his daily life, with such tasks as translating and answering personal correspondence in the Pope’s name.
Msgr Lahzi Gaid currently serves in the Secretariat of State, and is known for reading the Gospel, and summarising the Pope’s comments, in Arabic at his General Audiences. He has also served as translator for the Pope’s meetings with Arabic-speaking delegates, including at his encounter with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine.
He was born in 1975 in Cairo, and is one of eight siblings. In addition to his native Arabic, he speaks Italian, French, and English.
Pope brings Coptic Catholic priest into his secretariat (Vatican Insider)