Thailand’s Supreme Patriarch, who led the country’s order of Buddhist monks for over two decades, died Thursday, at age 100:

Doctors said that Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara (SOM-ded PRA YA-na-SUNG-WORN) died at Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok, where he had been treated since being admitted for an illness more than a decade ago, on Feb. 20, 2002.

Thailand is the world’s most heavily Buddhist country, with more than 90 percent of its 67 million people members of the religion. As the head of the religion, the patriarch has legal authority to oversee different sects of Buddhism.

The Supreme Patriarch promotes Buddhism and leads the Sangha Supreme Council, which oversees the country’s Buddhist monks and novices of all sects. The council’s job is to make sure monks follow Buddha’s teachings and do not violate the rules set by the council.

His successor will be formally appointed by Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Via ABC News/AP.

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