Lebanon’s Patriarchs

Elected patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in 1986 — just as Lebanon’s civil war entered its bloodiest stage — Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir is the glue binding the worldwide Maronite Church. His tenure has been marked by his constant appeals for justice, mercy, peace, reason and, at times, sanity.

Catholicos Aram I leads the Armenian Apostolic Catholicosate of Cilicia from the Beirut suburb of Antelias, where thousands of families found refuge after the deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey during World War I. The catholicosate maintains eparchies throughout the Middle East, Greece and North America.

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III guides his small flock of some 159,000 from Beirut, where thousands of Syriac Catholic families found refuge from Turkey in the 1920’s. In honor of St. Ignatius, the first- century bishop of Antioch, Syriac Catholic patriarchs always take the name Ignatius in addition to another.

Led by Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, the Armenian Catholic Church numbers only 594,000 people worldwide. Yet, it has contributed considerably to the vitality of the Armenian people, invigorating monasticism, scholarship and social service.

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