New Supreme Patriarch named

THAILAND - Somdet Phra Maharatchamongkha-lachan has been nominated as the 20th Supreme Patriarch, the Office of National Buddhism (ONB) said.

The 88-year-old abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen has been serving as acting Supreme Patriarch even before His Holiness Somdet Phra Sangharaja Sakalamahasanghapari-nayaka passed away last month.

ONB director Nopparat Benjawatananun said yesterday that the Council of State had ruled that a quorum of senior monks serving as assistants to the late Supreme Patriarch became inactive after his death, but did not explain how that related to the ONB's nomination of Phra Maharatchamongkhalachan.

The council ruling cites the 1962 Sangha Act, which stipulates that the most senior Somdet should serve as the next Supreme Patriarch, in case the position becomes vacant.

The nomination, together with the council's ruling, will be considered by the all-monastic Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand.

Phra Maharatchamongkhalachan's appointment will need the endorsement of His Majesty to become official.