His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, was elected president of the World Council of Churches, representing the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Catholicosate said in a press statement.
The election took place during the council’s 11th Assembly over the weekend being held in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Aram I has served as what is known as a moderator (chairman) of the central and executive committees of the World Council of Churches for two terms, first from 1991 to 1998 and later from 1998 to 2006.
The Catholicos has also served as president of the Middle East Council of Churches.
The World Council of Churches elected eight presidents representing different geographic regions and religious denominations.
According to the Cilician Catholicosate statement, Aram I agreed to take on the presidency according to the wishes of the World Council of Churches in an effort to advance the ecumenical movement.
The World Council of Churches said that Aram I “has played an important role in initiation of Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox-Lutheran Theological Dialogues. His Holiness has served as a president of the Middle East Council of Churches since November 2007.”