Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch

Maximos V Hakim (1967–2000)


Maximos V Hakim (Arabic: مكسيكوس الخامس حكيم‎) (1908–2001) was elected Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch in 1967 and served until 2000. He guided the church through tubulent changes in the Middle East and rapid expansion in the Western hemisphere.

 

Life

He was born George Selim Hakim at Tanta, Egypt, May 18, 1908, to parents who were originally from Aleppo. He was educated locally and at Le College de la Sainte Famille (High School of the Holy Family) Jesuit school in Cairo. After completing his studies at St. Anne of Jerusalem, he was ordained a priest in the Basilica of St. Anne by Maximos IV Sayegh, then Archbishop of Tyre, on July 20, 1930. As a young priest he taught for a year in the patriarchal school in Beirut before returning to Cairo in 1931.

 

Episcopate

He was consecrated Archbishop of St. John of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and all Galilee, in Cairo on June 13, 1943, by Patriarch Cyril IX Moghabghab, assisted by the Archbishops Dionysios Kfoury and Peter Kamel Medawar, patriarchal auxiliaries. He was elected Patriarch by the Holy Synod at Ain Traz on November 22, 1967.

As a priest, he distinguished himself by his running of the Patriarchal College in Cairo and by the launching and publication of the review Le Lien. Later, as an archbishop, he built schools, a junior seminary, an orphanage, a home for the elderly and several churches. He took particular care for the clergy and for the religious and secular orders and he brought in several groups of Europeans come to integrate themselves into the Church. As archbishop he spearheaded efforts to provide relief for Palestinians during the 1948 exodus.

Under his guidance as patriarch, a minor seminary was established at Damascus and later a major seminary for the formation of priests was opened at Raboueh in Lebanon. He later funded numerous scholarships for needy seminarians during the Lebanese Civil War. He also oversaw the growth of the Melkite church in North and South America as many of the faithful emigrated to the West.

Maximos condemned the violence that pitted Muslim against Christian in Lebanon, where Greek Catholics constitute 4% of the population. In 1982, he negotiated with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt to safeguard ancient Christian villages in the Chouf valley. He enjoyed warmer ties with Syria than his colleague, Butros Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of the more powerful Maronite Catholic community. Even so, community politics would prove dangerous for him at times. In 1990, he was targeted by would-be assassins as he travelled to the predominantly Christian city of Zahle, located in the predonimately Shi'ite Beq'a valley.

Following an old tradition of the more than 900-years old Order of Knighthood, founded in Jerusalem to take care of lepers in the Hospital St. Lazare, he was the Spiritual Protector of the international ecumenical Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, as is his successor.

Patriarch Maximos resigned on November 29, 2000, due to failing health and was succeeded by Patriarch Gregory III Laham. He died on June 29, 2001 in Beirut.

 

Writings

A prolific writer, Maximos is best remembered for his Arabic work Al Rabita and the French works, Message de Galiléerenc, and Pages d'Évangile lues en Galilée.