The next patriarch will follow Gregorius III Lahham, who has resigned. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The synod is held annually by the church, normally in June, at the summer residence of the patriarch.Sources following the elections told The Daily Star that Zahle Bishop Issam Darwiche is seen as being backed by Justice Minister Salim Jreissati to become the next patriarch, while Minister of State for Planning Michel Pharaon reportedly backs Beirut Bishop Salim Bustros.There are four orders in the Church: the Aleppian Order, the Chouerite Order, the Salvatorian Order and the Melkite Paulists Order.Bou Rjeily compared the upcoming elections to political elections.It is possible for a Syrian bishop living outside Lebanon or Syria to become patriarch, Bou Rjeily said.This, Bou Rjeily explained, was because there were a number of vacant seats from bishops who had passed away in many of the orders, meaning the order with the largest number of serving clergy would have an edge in this year's election.The president of the Greek-Melkite Catholic League said that then the new patriarch would be allowed to appoint the bishops to the vacant seats rather than an election.
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