how do the Syrian Orthodox Christians pick a new patriarch

edited March 2014 in Random Issues
after the late Mor Ignatius Zakka... how do the syrians pick a new Patriarch?   


  • Hello,

    I found the following from a Facebook page named "Abducted Archbishops Aleppo". I'm not sure as to how credible this information is, but it does shed a little light on the Syrians and what their steps are moving forward. Let us offer to them our deepest condolences on the departure of thier father and pray for them that God may grant a Shepherd for them according to his heart.


    “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a
    little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
    Matthew 25:21

    Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas:
    We cannot
    challenge the will of God when he calls his servant to share the joy of
    his Master. The first day of spring, Friday 21 March 2014, brought the
    long dreaded, yet inevitable, into realisation. His Holiness, Moran Mor
    Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, ended his rule, to finally receive his reward
    from his true and only Master, our Lord Jesus Christ. His departure has
    left us with a void at the Antiochean See of St. Peter. The 122nd
    Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church was among the most predominant
    church leaders, with His Patriarchal tenure outlasted all his
    predecessors, serving 34 years. He certainly raised the bar for his
    successors in respect to his different ecclesiastical accomplishments.

    The thrice blessed, Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, served the Church
    during a difficult era. The period of his patriarchate was marked by
    sweeping technological advancement, globalisation, and, most
    importantly, consecutive regional wars. He captained his tight ship
    through its maiden voyage, when ecumenical, interfaith and diplomatic
    relations were the order of the day, which by his wisdom he excelled on
    all fronts. His Holiness conducted a record-breaking number of
    consecrations of monks and bishops. The majority of both clergy and
    laity of the Syrian Orthodox Church have solely been brought up under
    his pastoral baton. Indisputably, he is the spiritual father of the
    church today, as most adherents have seen no other Syrian Orthodox
    patriarchs. This suffices for the wise, as the list of virtues of His
    Holiness is unmatched.

    Uncertainty in the Church:
    With such a
    distinguished legacy, the patriarchal void we are faced with today has
    presented a mammoth challenge that definitely cannot be simply or
    hastily handled overnight. The only guideline the church possesses is
    based on an out-dated constitution. Good leadership, whether
    ecclesiastical or secular, paves the way for success. Traditionally,
    patriarchal candidates never produced a programme of action, or faced
    open public debates. It is rather premature and unwise to assess or
    suggest or hazard any astute and poised decisions. Thorough analysis
    should be encouraged to consider the qualities of potential patriarchal
    candidates to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, before the accession
    and succession to the patriarchal See.

    His Holiness’ State Funeral:

    His Holiness is currently lying in state in Germany, and will, over the
    next few days, be flown to Lebanon, where the funeral prayers will take
    place. The hearse will, at a later stage, be moved to the Mausoleum of
    Patriarchs, built by His Holiness in Maraat Saidnaya, Damascus,
    according to his testament.

    Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim:

    Recent vital events complicate the process of the election of a new
    patriarch. On 22nd April 2013, an unidentified armed group, in the
    northern parts of Aleppo, kidnapped Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and
    Mor Bolous Yazigi, the Archbishops of Aleppo. Recent encouraging
    developments reported by General Abbas Ibrahim, the main negotiator in
    the case of the kidnapped Archbishops, indicate that the case is at its
    final stage, and that their release is imminent.

    Election Procedure (A few points to consider):

    • Locum Tenant (Qaimaqam): The Patriarchal Secretary has issued a
    communiqué, stipulating the canonical procedure of electing a new
    Patriarch. The most important role is that of the Locum Tenant
    (Qaimaqam). According to the constitution, this delicate responsibility
    falls on the shoulders of the most senior Metropolitan by consecration.
    Indisputably, the Locum Tenant should be Mor Gregorios Saliba Shemun
    and/or Mor Severus Hawa, hence there is no need for the complexity of
    electing a Qaimaqam, which violates the constitution.
    • Timeliness
    of the Elections: The future Patriarch must be respected, wise, mature,
    and meet the criteria listed in the constitution. Reflecting on the
    recent election of the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church (our
    sister church), a wise and calm procedure was executed, giving time for
    grief, and careful analysis of a suitable and worthy candidate. The
    procedure was given 247 days of grace period to find a worthy candidate
    (Pope Shenouda III ended his patriarchal rule on 17/03/2012, and Pope
    Tawadros II came to office on 18/11/2012). The college of Syrian
    Orthodox Metropolitans should be wise and mature enough not to hurry
    such an important event. They should learn from the recent successful
    election, with the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit, in the Coptic
    Orthodox Church.
    • Last Wish: His Holiness, Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka
    I Iwas, on many occasions with regional heads of states and churches,
    clergy and laity, expressed his sincere last wish to see Mor Gregorios
    Yohanna Ibrahim to be released and to succeed him. The most recent
    witness to this claim was confessed on a live programme, Suryoyo SAT, by
    the Patriarchal Secretary who said, ‘Our Patriarch said, I wish that
    Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim is freed, as he would be the best
    Patriarch to lead our Church in the coming era.’ His Holiness was a
    learned man, who knew more than anyone about who could lead the Church
    during this period. A Patriarch who has been governing the Church for 34
    years, should have his last wish fulfilled. Bless his soul!

    Absent Candidate: Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, is one of
    the most predominant, respected and well-known Metropolitans of the
    Syrian Orthodox Church, and his fate is linked with the Patriarchal
    succession. This is clearly indicated in almost all letters of
    condolence issued by world Church leaders, expressing their expectation
    of the new leader for the Syrian Orthodox Church, and praying for the
    imminent return of Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim. Out of respect for the
    position of the Patriarch, a considerable time-frame needs to be in
    place to allow Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim’s return to contest
    democratic elections. If there is a time-pressure for the election of a
    new Patriarch, the least we could do for Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim
    is to accept him as an absent candidate for the election of the new
    Patriarch, or better still, out of respect, to fulfil Moran Mor Ignatius
    Zakka I Iwas’ last wish, and for the sacrifice of Mor Gregorios Yohanna
    Ibrahim’ sacrifice and suffering. The entire Syrian Orthodox Church,
    and the majority of world Church leaders would appreciate this noble
    gesture, by the members of the Holy Synod.

    Call for Solidarity with the Syrian Orthodox Church:

    “Our Church Needs You All” more than any other time. Please let us work
    together in solidarity. The Church needs our input, and above all, our
    sincere prayers. We pray for the Locum Tenant in his endeavours to
    achieve a careful and smooth Patriarchal succession.

    Yours sincerely,
    Abducted Archbishops

  • thanks a lot! GBU
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