H.H Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II
Patriarch & Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Churches
On March 21, 2014, Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas died after a long illness. Following his death, the Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch was convened to elect a successor. The synod was held at St. Jacob Baradeus Monastery in Atchaneh, Lebanon, presided over by Mor Baselios Thomas I Catholicos of India and Mor Severius Jamil Hawa Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra and Patriarchal Locum Tenens. The synod elected Cyril Aphrem Karim to be the 123rd successor of St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch. He was enthroned on May 29, 2014, at St. Ephrem’s Monastery, Maarat Saidnaya, near Damascus, Syria. Baselios Thomas I oversaw the ceremony. Karim took the patriarchal name Ignatius, replacing his episcopal name Cyril, and, being the second patriarch to bear the monastic name Aphrem (the first being Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum), his name became Ignatius Aphrem II. Unlike his immediate predecessors, but following older convention, Aphrem II chose not to use his family name, Karim, in his official title.