|Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, patriarch-elect|
of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
He was selected on Monday, March 31, 2014 by the Synod of the Bishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch at the patriarchate headquarters St. Jacob's St. Jacob Baradeus monastery in the village of Atchaneh (al-Atshana or Atshaneh) northeast of the capital Beirut in Lebanon as the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, succeeding the late Zakka I Iwas.
Aphrem Karim was born in Qamishli city , the capital of a northeastern Syrian province Hasaka, wedged between the borders of Turkey and Iraq, in 1965.
He was the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vcar of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America, and before that he was the secretary of late Patriarch Iwas. Patriarch Iwas passed away on March 21st in a medical center in Germany at the age of 80 and was interred in Mar Aphrem Monetary in Sednaya, Damascus Countryside.
Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim 's official title will be the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. It was not clear if Karim will be based in Syria or in Lebanon as patriarch.The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch had been residing in Lebanon since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East is one of seven autocephalous churches under the Oriental Orthodox Church. The Syriac Church is one of the first Christian communities established by the Apostle Saint Peter. It uses Syriac as its official and liturgical language.
There are more than 1.7 million members, living in Syria, Lebanon Iraq and India although there are also significant communities in Germany, Sweden and in the United States, where immigrants from the Near East (Western Asia) introduced the faith in the late 19th century.
It belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches with the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church) since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.
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