Beirut (AsiaNews) – Bishop Joseph Absi, patriarchal vicar of the Archeparchy of Damascus (Syria), is the new patriarch of the Greek-Melkite Church.
His election took place today during the extraordinary Synod currently underway in Aley, a hilltop town about 17 km south-east of Beirut (Lebanon), following the resignation of Gregory III Lahham.
The resignation of the patriarch emeritus ends a troubled period marked by contrasts between the former patriarch and some "rebel" bishops. The row ended through the mediation of the apostolic nuncio to Syria Card Mario Zenari and his colleague in Lebanon Mgr Gabriele Caccia.
Why did His Beatitude Gregory III resign?
I'm betting that PF sent in the nuncio to "take his scalp".
He was 80 and had long reached retirement age. There is also some mention here and there that he put himself offside with many of his fellow bishops by allegedly alienating Church property without going through the necessary processes.
There are reports that the Lebanese Christian community believed that Gregory III was too pro-Syrian. On the standard maps of Syria even today, Lebanon is just a province not an independent sovereign state.
Patriarchs do not have a retirement age and like ALL bishops before Paul VI innovation were not required to retire.... a bishop is the Shepard of his flock toll death.
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