It was announced this afternoon that Simon XVI, Patriarch of the Sanctarian Catholic Church, has died. He was 88-years-old. He passed away following a cardiac attack that occurred in the early hours of last Saturday morning. He had served as head of the Church of Sanctaria since 2003.

Both the President and the Prime Minister today paid tribute to the late Patriarch, in particular praising his policies that the Church increase its outreach efforts to drug addicts and the homeless in recent years. Flags have been ordered to fly at half-mast until sundown tonight. Amanda Thomas, Secretary for Culture, the Arts, and Heritage also paid tribute to Simon XVI and confirmed she would be attending the funeral as representative of the Government. The President’s office also confirmed she would be attending the funeral, which has been set for next Monday, July 16th at 11am.

With the passing of Simon XVI, the Church of Sanctaria now enters a period of sede vacante; the Chamberlain of the Sanctarian Catholic Church will now act as head of the body until a successor has been chosen by the Synod of Bishops; the Chamberlain is not permitted to execute any policies or announce new changes or directions, he is simply to act as an administrator.

Simon XVI’s successor as Patriarch, or more strictly speaking his successor as Archbishop of the See of Sanctus, will be elected by the Synod of Bishops from among their own number. It is the only See of the Sanctarian Catholic Church that requires its Bishop to be elected. To be eligible for translation to the See of Sanctus, Bishops and Archbishops must be under the age of 70; of the 80 or so dioceses and archdioceses in Sanctaria, only about 30 have incumbents therefore eligible for election.

The date of the next meeting of Synod, which meets on a regular basis, was originally set for this Friday, July 13th. The Chamberlain’s office has confirmed it would be postponed and an Extraordinary Synod would be called to elect the next Patriarch of the Church; the office has indicated the date for this Synod will not be set until after the funeral next Monday.

Edward Allens
Religion Correspondent