Lebanon's Maronite bishops have elected Archbishop Bechara El-Rai as the new patriarch for the Middle East's largest Catholic church.
Results of the closed-door meetings were announced on Tuesday, six days after the bishops started prayers and consultations at the church's seat in Bkirki, northeast of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
The 71-year-old Al-Rai became patriarch after winning more than two thirds of the votes of the 38 bishops. He is known as a moderate with good relations with all Lebanese factions.
The Maronite Church has up to 5 million followers worldwide. Its head exerts significant influence in Lebanon, where Christians make up about 40 percent of the country's 4 million people.
The outgoing patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, was deeply involved in Lebanon's fractious politics.