Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong Dies Aged 93

Cambodian Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong, the country's Buddhist religious leader, picks up a ballot during a draw ceremony in Phnom Penh on May 29, 2018 to determine the order in which political parties are listed on the ballots for the national election in July. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

PHNOM PENH – The Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong has passed away due to old age, the Sangha Council announced on Feb. 26 in the evening.

Tep Vong died at Ounalom Pagoda, in central Phnom Penh, where he was the abbot. The venerable was 92 years old according to international standards, but 93 years old as per the Council, which uses a counting method based on the Khmer Buddhist calendar.

Tep Vong’s body will remain at the pagoda until it is cremated. The date of the cremation ceremony will be announced later, the council secretariat said.

The venerable had been admitted to Calmette Hospital several weeks ago.

Venerable Tep Vong, a member of the Maha Nikaya Order, was among the first monks to be reordained after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

In 1991, he became the supreme patriarch and was granted the Samdech title.

In a restructuring of the Buddhist leadership in 2006, he became the Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia. He was also a member of the Royal Council of the Throne, which is responsible for selecting the Cambodian monarch.

Tep Vong was born in Siem Reap in January 1932. He entered the monkhood for the first time in 1952 and again in 1979.

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