The newly-elected Greek Orthodox Patriarch for Antioch and the Whole Orient was formally installed in a traditional ceremony in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday (8 July).
The newly-elected Greek Orthodox Patriarch for Antioch and the Whole Orient was formally installed in a traditional ceremony in Damascus, Syria, on Sunday (8 July). Agnatius Hazeem -- Bishop of the Northern Syrian port of Latakia -- was elected five days earlier (3 July). He succeeds the late Patriarch, Elias the Fourth, who died of a heart attack in June this year, at the age of sixty-five.
SYNOPSIS: The formal installation ceremony took place in St.Mary's Cathedral in Damascus. Agnatius the Fourth -- who is fifty-nine years old -- was chosen in a secret ballot from a list of three-possible candidates. The body responsible for the choice was the Greek Orthodox Holy Synod, attended by twelve Bishops.
Agnatius the Fourth -- seen here during Sunday's installation ceremony -- was born in 1920 in the small village of Mahrada, in the Hama Province of Central Syria. Later, he moved to Lebanon, where he joined a seminary.
Agnatius the Fourth travelled to France where in 1953, he obtained a doctorate in theology. In 1961, he was appointed patriarchal vicar in the Syrian town of Latakia. Four years later, he became Bishop of the town.
In addition to Arabic, the new Patriarch is well versed in French and English, knows Russian and Greek, and has translated or written several books.
The installation ceremony was attended by many high-ranking representatives of churches throughout the world. The Greek Orthodox Church is divided into eight-one dioceses and has more than eight million followers world-wide.