BEIRUT: Bishop Saba Esper was elected Friday as temporary successor to the late Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim.
The appointment came during a meeting at Balamad monastery, some 85 kilometers north of Beirut.
Hazim, who was born in the Syrian town of Maharda in Hama Province, died Wednesday at a Beirut hospital, a day after suffering a stroke. He was 92.
He served as the head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch for 33 years.
Hazim's funeral will be held Sunday at 12 p.m. at St. Nicolas Church in Ashrafieh, Beirut. His body will be flown to his native village for burial.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced Sunday as an official day of mourning over the patriarch’s death.
Lebanese leaders have described Hazim’s death as a loss for Lebanon and the region and praised his role as a religious leader who believed in the principle of coexistence.