Bishop Samir Mazloum said Monday the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI  was unexpected and rare in the papacy’s history.
Pope Benedict said in a historic announcement he no longer had the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church .
Speaking to LBC TV, Mazloum said “the news was surprising to everyone,” adding that “the measures to elect a new pope will proceed normally through a preparatory phase.”
Pope Benedict’s resignation marks the first since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. The resignation means there will be no period of mourning before the conclave begins March 1 in the Sistine Chapel.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai , having recently been appointed a cardinal, will participate in the election of a new pontiff, marking the first time a Maronite patriarch has been eligible to vote at a conclave.
During a historic visit to Lebanon in September , Benedict XVI prayed for peace, reconciliation and interreligious harmony in the Levant region.
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