BEIRUT: Bishop Joseph Absi was elected on Wednesday the new patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, a source told The Daily Star.
The election of Absi comes a month after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Gregorius III Lahham.
Lahham had hinted at his intention to resign several times over the past few years, and eventually made the decision following the unraveling of Orthodox Christianity’s synod in June 2016.
Lahham wrote a letter on June 20, 2016, to the Synod of the Eastern Churches to announce his resignation.
“My resignation from my patriarchal duties is the end of a humanitarian, Catholic Christian, blessed road, in which the divine savior has blessed me,” the statement announcing Lahham’s decision read.
In his statement, Lahham said he had written four letters to Pope Francis in order to explain his decision.
“I am ready to give up my patriarchal service at the exact age of 85, that is, on Dec. 15, 2017,” the patriarch said.
Born in Syria’s Daraya, Lahham was elected patriarch on Nov. 29, 2000.