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Patriarch Hazim, ‘man of moderation,’ dies at 92, burial Sunday

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Dec-06/197433-patriarch-hazim-man-of-moderation-dies-at-92.ashx#axzz2EEJMIP23 Patriarch Hazim, ‘man of
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2012

      Patriarch Hazim, ‘man of moderation,’ dies at 92
      December 06, 2012 01:49 AM
      By Hussein Dakroub
      The Daily Star

      Read more:
      (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

      BEIRUT: Lebanese political and religious leaders Wednesday lamented
      the death of Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim as a great loss
      for Lebanon and the Arab world, praising him as “a man of moderation,
      dialogue and reconciliation” who defended Muslim-Christian coexistence.

      Hazim died at a Beirut hospital Wednesday morning, a day after suffering
      a stroke. He was 92.

      Hazim, who served as the head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the
      Levant and Antioch for 33 years, was admitted to Saint George Hospital
      in Ashrafieh Tuesday with a cerebral failure.

      Soon after news of Hazim’s death spread, churches in the northern region
      of Koura tolled their bells as Lebanese officials, including President
      Michel Sleiman, visited St. Nicolas Church in Beirut to offer
      condolences. An acting Greek Orthodox patriarch will be nominated Thursday.

      Funeral services for Hazim will be held at noon Sunday at St. Nicolas
      Church in Ashrafieh before the casket is transported to the Mariamite
      Cathedral in Damascus.

      Hazim’s funeral will be held at the Mariamite Cathedral at 2 p.m. Monday
      after which he will be laid to rest at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate’s
      cemetery in Damascus, according to a statement released by the institution.

      Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued instructions declaring the day of the
      funeral as a national day of mourning.

      Sleiman said in a statement that Hazim’s death was “a loss not only for
      his sect, but also for Lebanon and the Arabs given his wisdom, courage
      and repeated calls for dialogue.”

      He later visited St. Nicolas Church to offer condolences. With Hazim’s
      death, “a glorious page of the life of a man of faith, dialogue and
      knowledge has been turned,” Sleiman wrote in the golden condolences book.

      Mikati said Hazim’s death was “a great loss” not only for the Greek
      Orthodox Church, but also for all of the Lebanese, the Arabs and the
      Eastern churches.

      Describing Hazim as an example to be followed in spiritual, humanitarian
      and social work, Mikati said in a statement released by his office:
      “With the passing of Patriarch Hazim, Lebanon and the Arab world have
      lost a man of moderation and reconciliation, who had always believed in
      dialogue among all sects, religions and civilizations as well as in
      [sectarian] coexistence away from fanaticism and isolation.”

      Mikati, who is currently in Italy, also praised Hazim’s role in
      defending the Arab causes, particularly the cause of the Palestinians
      and their right to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital,
      saying that his struggle for such an issue made him deserve the title of
      “the patriarch of the Arabs.”

      Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri lauded Hazim as a man who called for
      an inter-Lebanese dialogue, safeguarding unity and renouncing violence.

      “With the loss of Patriarch Hazim, the Lebanese have lost a great,
      national and spiritual pillar. They look forward to the Greek Orthodox
      Church to remain a source of giving and love and faithful to its
      heritage in this Arab East,” Hariri said in a statement released by his

      The head of the Future Movement said Hazim confronted several challenges
      in Lebanon and the region with “solid stances that safeguarded the
      values of [sectarian] coexistence, moderation and openness.” Former
      Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, head of the Future parliamentary bloc,
      said with Hazim’s death, Lebanon and the Arab world have lost “a major
      pillar of moderation and wisdom.”

      “Patriarch Hazim was a keystone of openness and coexistence in Lebanon
      and the Arab world,” Siniora said in a statement. “He was also a
      fundamental sponsor and guarantor of [inter-Lebanese] reconciliation.
      His stances were based on reason, sought calm and stability and were
      committed to the Arab and Lebanese interest.”

      Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai offered condolences over Hazim’s death,
      saying in a telegram that the late patriarch had led his church with
      “much enthusiasm, dedication and wisdom.”

      Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani expressed deep regret over
      Hazim’s death, saying the late patriarch was “one of the great religious
      and Arab symbols in Lebanon and the world.”

      He described Hazim as “a man of moderation, openness, dialogue, love and
      coexistence between Muslims and Christians.” Qabbani called Beirut
      Metropolitan Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elias Audi to offer condolences.

      Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, deputy head of the Higher Shiite Council, and
      Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Naim Hasan also called Audi to offer
      condolences over Hazim’s death.

      Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari described Hazim as “a great man”
      who led the Greek Orthodox community through a difficult time in the
      region. He said Hazim had always called for unity and dialogue and was
      the “resounding voice of freedom.”

      Born in the village of Mhardeh near Hama in Syria in 1920, Hazim was the
      son of an Arab Orthodox family.

      After finishing school in Hama, Syria, Hazim moved to Beirut where he
      studied literature and started serving the Orthodox Church in Lebanon.
      Hazim founded the University of Balamand in Lebanon which he then served
      for many years as dean.

      In 1971 he was appointed Orthodox Metropolitan of the Syrian city of
      Latakia. He was appointed Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and
      Antioch in 1979. – With additional reporting by Dana Khraiche

      Read more:
      (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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