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Thailand: King Installs New Top Buddhist Monk

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The investiture of Thailand’s new Buddhist supreme patriarch took place at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok on Feb. 12 in a royal ceremony presided over by the king.

Venerable Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong was anointed the 20th supreme monk, with other temples across the country joining the celebration by ringing bells.

King Vajiralongkorn named the abbot of Wat Rajabopit as the new supreme patriarch last week after an amendment to the country’s Sangha Act was passed by the National Legislative Assembly on Dec. 29.

The amendment gives the king the right to name the top monk, ending the power of the Supreme Sangha Council to nominate candidates.

Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong, 89, is of Dhammayuttika Nikaya, the Dhammayut monastic order, one of the two orders of Buddhist monks in Thailand.

He succeeds Venerable Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, who died in 2013.

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The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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