Hundreds of enthusiastic well-wishers gathered outside St. Mark’s Cathedral on Saturday afternoon to congratulate and welcome back Cyril Aphrem Karim, the new worldwide patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church.Teaneck is a scholarly place. It is home to an important Syrian Orthodox community that has ties to the early history of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as to Neo-Aramaic and scholarly Syriac studies. Gorgias Press, the well-known academic press specializing in Syriac studies is located in nearby Piscataway. Other associations of Teaneck with ancient Judaism are noted here and here.
Karim, 48, who had been serving as archbishop of the church’s Eastern United States Diocese since moving to Teaneck in 1996, was elected March 31 to head one of the world’s oldest Christian sects.
Karim — whose official title will be Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East — returned Saturday from Damascus, where he was installed this week as the 123rd successor to St. Peter the Apostle.
He will reside in Syria.
Background on the new Patriarch is here.