Lebanon bid farewell Sunday in a popular Mass at St. Nicolas Church to the late Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch Ignatius IV Hazim, who died at a Beirut hospital Wednesday morning a day after suffering a stroke.
Hundreds attended the funeral service at the Ashrafieh church in honor of the 92-years old patriarch.
Hazim’s casket will be transported to the Mariamite Cathedral in Damascus later on Sunday.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced Sunday as an official day of mourning for the patriarch.
The patriarch’s passing has been described by President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati and most of the Lebanese parties as a loss for Lebanon and the region, and he was praised for believing and maintaining the principle of coexistence. He was dubbed as a man of moderation by Lebanese officials.
Hazim, who served 33 years as patriarch, was born in the village of Mhardeh near Hama in Syria in 1920. In 1971 he was appointed Orthodox Metropolitan of the Syrian city of Latakia. He was appointed Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch in 1979, according to the Daily Star.