Religion: Of Antioch & All the East

Popes once grandly divided up the world, while abbots governed dukedoms the size of Rhode Island. Since then, temporal authority among religious leaders has mostly gone out of style. Last week a cleric who still has much civic influence arrived for a six-week visit in the U.S.: His Beatitude Paul Peter Meouchi, 68, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.

Meouchi (pronounced May-oo-she) is spiritual leader of some 500,000 Lebanese Christians, plus more than 200,000 in the U.S. who observe the Maronite Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. But his importance goes well...

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