Mor Julius Yeshu Cicek, the highest priest in Europe with the Syriac Orthodox Church, died in Germany on Oct. 29, a spokeswoman for the church said Thursday. He was 63.
A cause of death was not immediately known. Cicek was the church's Metropolitan for Middle Europe since the position was created in 1979. He oversaw the establishment of 51 churches and three monasteries.
Cicek was found in a hotel room in Dusseldorf where he was spending the night before traveling to Switzerland for a conference, church spokeswoman Naures Atto said.
Thousands of followers were expected to attend his funeral at the Saint Afrem Syriac Monastery in the Dutch town of Glane, near the German border.
Cicek also edited and published more than 100 books in Syriac, the Aramaic dialect that is the church's official language.
The Syriac Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches, tracing its foundation to the apostle Peter in 34 A.D. It has several million followers worldwide, with its base in Damascus, Syria, AP reports.
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