|Mar Ignace Andrew Akhidjan|
|Patriarch of Antioch|
|Church||Syriac Catholic Church|
|See||Patriarch of Antioch|
|Enthroned||20 August 1662|
|Reign ended||18 July 1677|
|Successor||Ignace Peter Sahbadin|
|Birth name||'Abdul-Ghal Akhidjan|
18 July 1677|
Mar Ignace Andrew 'Abdul-Ghal Akhidjan (or Akhijan, Akidjian, 1622–1677) was the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church from 1662 to 1677. His election as Patriarch marked the first separation of the hierarchy between the Syriac Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Andrew Akhidjan was born in 1622 in Mardin and soon came in contact with the Carmelites missionaries. He studied from 1649 in the Maronite College in Rome and after three years he returned in the East where he was ordained priest in 1652 by the Maronite Patriarch.
In those years in Aleppo a number of Syriac Christians entered in full communion with the Catholic Church and formed the first Syrian Catholic community. They chose as their bishop Andrew Akhidjan who was consecrated bishop on 29 June 1656 by Maronite patriarch John Bawab of Safra, taking the name of Andrew. He took possession of his church on 9 August 1656. He suffered a strong and violent opposition by the Orthodox Syriacs that forced him to escape in Lebanon on 15 May 1657, from where he returned to Aleppo on 12 March 1658. His ministry as Syriac bishop of Aleppo was confirmed by the Pope on 28 January 1659.
At the death of the Syrian Patriarch in 1662, the Syrian Catholic party in Aleppo was able to persuade the synod of the Syriac Church to elect Andrew Akhidjan as Patriarch, and thus he was elected on 19 April 1662, but with the opposition of thee Orthodox party which elected Abdul Masih as Patriarch. On 3 August 1662 the Ottoman sultan Mehmed IV confirmed Akhidjan in the patriarchal office and on 20 August 1662 he was formally enthroned, taking the traditional name of Ignace. Akhidjan's election was confirmed by Rome only a few years later.
Andrew Akhidjan died on 18 July 1677. The patriarchal line that began with Akhidjan ended a few years later, when in 1702 the new Patriarch, Ignace Peter Sahbadin, with the three Syriac Catholic bishops (among them bishop Amin Kahn Risqallah), died in Adana after the persecutions.
- ↑ P.Dib (1912). "Akidjian". Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques. 1. Paris: Letouzey et Ané. pp. 1283.
- ↑ Frazee, Charles A. (2006). Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire 1453–1923. Cambridge University Press. pp. 134–135. ISBN 9780521027007. http://books.google.it/books?id=X6DM4szwUpEC&printsec=frontcover#PPA134,M1.