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Mor Ignatius Aphrem II
to guide the Syrian Orthodox

· Elected by the Synod of the Church of Antioch meeting in Lebanon ·

Beirut, 1. The Syrian Orthodox Church has elected her 123th patriarch. Cyril Aphrem Karim, a 48-year-old from Syria, will replace Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, who died on 21 March in a hospital in Kiel, Germany. 

He was almost 81 years old. The patriarch's election took place in the general quartier of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Atshaneh, a village north east of Beirut. Karim's official title will be Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and he will take the name Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. Until now he has been and an archbishop of the Eastern Rite in the United States.

The Syrian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Eastern Christian communities which has more than four million faithful who live in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Syrian Orthodox communities are also present in Germany, Sweden and the United States, due to the large waves of migration which began in the 19th century.

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