It was with much sadness that we learned of the repose, on Wednesday 5th December 2012, of our beloved Patriarch, His Beatitude Ignatius the IV.

Ignatius IV (Hazim) in 2010

The news of his death was reported in Syria's state news agency, Sana.

Patriarch Ignatius had been taken to Beirut's St George's hospital only a few days earlier but died on Wednesday, apparently after suffering a stroke. The Sana news agency reports that his remains would be brought from Lebanon back to Syria for burial.

Born in 1920 in the village of Murhada, near Hama in Syria, with the name Habib he took the name Ignatius IV on 2nd July 1979 when he became the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, , the third ranking hierarch of the Orthodox Church after the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria. Before that, though, he was ordained Bishop of Palmyra in central Syria in 1961 and nine years later became Metropolitan of Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast of Syria.

He had led the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East since being installed as Patriarch. At his death Patriarch Ignatius was 92 years old (though some sources say 91) and is thought to have been the longest serving Patriarch in modern times of any of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The Antiochian Orthodox Church is the largest Arab Christian Church in the Middle East,

He will be sorely missed.

Memory Eternal.

An short interview with Fr. Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America, about the falling asleep in the Lord of His Beatitude Ignatious IV of Antioch can be heard here. or click here for a biography of His Beatitude's remarkable life of service and leadership.