Pope Ignatius IV (Hazim), head of Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (Photo: courtesy of orthodoxchristianity.net)
The head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Syria, Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, has died at the age of 91.
Patriarch Ignatius suffered a stroke on Tuesday and entered intensive care at St. George's Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon, where he died the next day.
The cleric was born in 1921 in Hama, Syria. He was one of the founders of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Lebanon and Syria in 1942.
In 1945, Hazim joined St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, and on his return to the Middle East founded the University of Balamand in Lebanon, and worked as dean there for several years.
Ignatius was ordained as the head of Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East in 1979. The church has around a million members.