After suffering a stroke yesterday, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim of Antioch passed away in a Beirut hospital this morning.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari commented, “The Orthodox community has lost a historic, great man who led his people with great wisdom in a difficult phase of the region’s history.”

With the passing of this Patriarch, says former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the “Lebanese . . . have lost a great, national and spiritual pillar as they look forward for the Greek Orthodox Church to remain a source of giving and love and which can remain loyal to its heritage in the Arab world.”

Fortunately, Makari added, “We assure him that his community will be fine . . . and its role will remain one that is primarily aimed at building a new, democratic Syria and in strengthening stability in Lebanon and nation-building,” he added.

See here for a brief history of his life.

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