His Beatitude Ignatios IV (Hazim)
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
On learning of the passing to the heavenly Father of His Beatitude Ignatios IV (Hazim) on 5 December 2012, His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III (Laham) immediately sent by telegram the following message to the Orthodox Holy Synod in Beirut:
With a deep feeling of pain and sadness we received the news of the death of our brother, His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatios IV, of Antioch and All the East of the Greek Orthodox Church.
On hearing the news we could not refrain from tears; our pen and tongue alike unable to express our sorrow.
In our name, and that of the Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in the East and the diaspora, and also speaking as President of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, we offer our sincere condolences to our beloved sister Church, through its Holy Synod.
We ask Christ, risen from the dead, to receive our brother in his heavenly dwelling-place together with all the children of the resurrection, the righteous and the saints.
With my sincere condolences and prayer
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
On Saturday 8 December 2012 His Beatitude Gregorios III went to St Nicholas’ Cathedral in Beirut, to offer his condolences to the Locum tenens, Metropolitan Saba Esper, and participated in a service with Orthodox bishops around the coffin in which the Patriarch’s venerable remains were exposed.
On Sunday 9 December 2012, he went to the funeral of the late Patriarch in the same St Nicholas’ Cathedral, together with five Melkite Greek Catholic bishops, their Excellencies Salim Bustros, Ibrahim Nehmeh, George Haddad, Elias Rahhal, Michael Abrass and Archimandrites Nicholas Hakim, Superior of the Patriarchal Residence in Ain Traz, and Naim Gharbi, Rector of the Major Seminary of Saint Anna in Rabweh, seminarians and some priests from Beirut.
After the funeral in Beirut the body of the late Patriarch was transported to Damascus in a special convoy.
His Beatitude, accompanied by Mgr. Joseph Absi Vicar General in Damascus, and Mgr. Boulos Borkhosh, Metropolitan of Bosra and Arab Mountain (Houran, Syria) and some priests also went to Damascus for the funeral on Monday 10 December 2012 at 2p.m., in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition.
His Beatitude gave some accounts and interviews as follows in brief:
“We pay affectionate homage to a Syrian national, religious and world figure, a man of vision, sagacity, wisdom and a clear, vibrant voice in ecclesial and national dialogue.
“We share in the mourning of our sister Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.
“Personally, I have lost a brother and friend whom I have known since 1964 (some 48 years): as priest, bishop, and (since 2000) Patriarch. He is a patron in heaven, where he re-joins his brother and friend the late Patriarch Maximos V (Hakim). They were real friends and companions.
“May God send our dear sister Church of Antioch, a good successor to this venerable predecessor!”