Lebanon’s former Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir، who wielded considerable political influence during the country’s civil war and was an ardent advocate of a Syrian troop withdrawal، died Sunday، the church said، Voice of America reported.
Sfeir، who would have turned 99 on May 15، died about 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) “after days of intensive medical care،” said a statement by the Maronite church.
He became the leader of the church in 1986 until he resigned in 2011، because of his declining health، and held the title “76th Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant.”
He was a respected power broker during the 1975-1990 civil war، which saw bitter infighting between rival militias including opposing Christian factions.
Sfeir، who spoke fluent Arabic and French، was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1994.