Archbishop Mario Conti, the Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow, has died aged 88 following a short illness.
The Archdiocese of Glasgow said he died peacefully on Tuesday evening at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in the city.
He had been a priest for 64 years and a bishop for 45 years.
He trained at St Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire, before studying at the Scots College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he obtained degrees in philosophy and theology and was ordained a priest in Rome on October 26, 1958.
He was one of the last surviving bishops in the world to have been appointed by Pope (now saint) Paul VI.
After 25 years in Aberdeen as Bishop, he was named as successor to Cardinal Tom Winning as Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002, and served in that role for 10 years.
Archbishop William Nolan, the current Archbishop of Glasgow, said: “The death of Archbishop Mario will be felt not just in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, but across Scotland and beyond. He was a much-loved figure, a man of great energy and pastoral zeal, who loved the Church and loved the people in his care.
“When I was appointed Archbishop earlier this year I found him both gracious and welcoming and full of ideas and suggestions for the future.”
One of his proudest moments came when he welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Britain at the first public Mass of the German Pope’s state visit in 2010 at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.
He held honorary doctorates from the universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian.
He was also a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a former lead chaplain to the Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, said on Tuesday evening: “It was with great sadness that we learned today of the death of Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.
“His presence as a bishop has been a constant for so long, it is difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t an active or retired member of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.
“As the current Bishop of Aberdeen I have many fond memories of him during his 25 years as Bishop of Aberdeen. Although he became Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002 his ties to the north east of Scotland remained strong.
“His interest in and knowledge of Scotland’s Catholic history was well known and his commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of the church was unwavering.
“In his retirement, he was a source of great wisdom and pastoral support to his successors both in Glasgow and Aberdeen.
“His work in ecumenism and interfaith matters as well as his affection for the Italian community in Scotland were among his defining characteristics.
“On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”
Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “We are very saddened to learn about the death of Archbishop Mario Conti, Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow, and extend our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and members of the Catholic Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Archbishop Conti made an outstanding contribution to ecumenism within Scotland and internationally and we recall this with gratitude. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”