Who's who: Patriarch John Yazigi (Youhanna X)

A profile of John Yazigi who was appointed head of Syria's largest church in December 2012

IN BRIEF

Patriarch John Yazigi was born in 1955 in the city of Lattakia, Syria. Graduated as a civil engineer, he continued his education at the University of Balamand, and held a Bachelor in Theology. In 1983 he earned with High Honor his doctoral degree in Liturgics from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

 

His Eminence Metropolitan John Mansour of Lattakia ordained John Yazigi a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1983, to serve in the Archdiocese of Lattakia. He was elected Patriarch for the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East for the Greek Orthodox Church. 

 

Since 1981, he taught the courses on Liturgics at the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at Balamand.

 

In 1995, the Holy Synod of Antioch elected him as the Bishop of Pyrgou, an area called in Arabic Wadi An-Nasara or Al-Hosn. He served the parishes there till 2008, when was elected Metropolitan of Western and Central Europe.

 

BIOGRAPHY

 

Patriarch John Yazigi was born in 1955 in the city of Lattakia, Syria. He lived and studied in the city schools, and graduated from the University of Tishreen with a Bachelor in Civil Engineering. During his studies, he played an important role with the youth leading and teaching them Byzantine Music. As a young bellever in the Church, his work was fruitful since it led to the establishment of a Byzantine Music School and many spiritual youth programs. By the blessing of God, his work led to a great spiritual revival among his generation.

 

In 1978, His Eminence graduated from the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, University of Balamand, with a Bachelor in Theology. In 1983 he earned with High Honor his doctoral degree in Liturgics from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece. The tile of his Thesis published in Greek is: "The Service of Holy Baptism: An Historical, Theological, and Liturgical Study." In 1981, and simultaneously with his doctoral studies, His Eminence successfully earned a Diploma in Byzantine Music issued by the Conservatory of Byzantine Music in Thessaloniki, Greece.

 

CAREER

 

His Eminence Metropolitan John Mansour of Lattakia ordained John Yazigi a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1983, to serve in the Archdiocese of Lattakia.

 

Since 1981, he taught the courses on Liturgics at the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at Balamand. During the periods of 1988-1991 and 2001-2005 he served as the Dean of the Institute of Theology.

 

In addition, he was appointed Abbot of St. George Al Humayrah Patriarchal Monastery, Syria, in the period of 1993- 2005 where His Eminence founded a monastic community and a school of ecclesiastic studies. His Eminence also became the Abbot of the Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Monastery, Lebanon, in the years 2001-2005. Presently, Metropolitan John is the spiritual father of the Convent of our Lady of Blemmana in Tartous, Syria.

 

In 1995, the Holy Synod of Antioch elected him as the Bishop of Pyrgou, an area called in Arabic Wadi An-Nasara or Al-Hosn. He served the parishes there till 2008, when was elected Metropolitan of Western and Central Europe.

 

In addition to his pastoral care in these parishes, His Eminence was involved in many worldwide activities at the ecumenical, Christian and especially Orthodox Christian spheres. Metropolitan John participated in many international conferences, namely in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, United States of America, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

 

His Eminence is the author of several books on Theology, education, music, and liturgy. He published a series on liturgical studies. He edited the liturgical books of the Orthodox Church in Arabic, and more specifically the liturgical books of the Archbishops, priests, deacons. In addition, he translated and wrote many articles, and gave many lectures in different universities, parishes and institutes.

 

PUBLISHED BOOKS

 

The Service of Baptism: A Historic, Theological and Liturgical Study, Thessalonica, 1983 [Greek] (in fulfillment of the PHD Thesis Requirements).

Principles of Byzantine Music, Balamand, 1990, Second Edition 2001.

The Life of St. Nectarios the Wonderworker, Lattakya, 1990.

Priesthood & Marriage of Priests, Lattakya, 1992

Baptism as a Sacrament of Initiation into the life in Christ, Lattakya, 1992.

The Liturgikon, St. George Al-Humayrah Patriarchal Monastery, 2001, Second edition 2005.

The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysotom, Al-Humayrah Patriarchal Monastery, 2001

The Prayers Before and After Holy Communion, St. George Al-Humayrah Patriarchal Monastery, 2003

The Presanctified Liturgy, Al-Humayrah Patriarchal Monastery, 2001

Introduction to the Liturgical Families and Rites (English) St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, 2003.

Introduction to the Liturgical Families and Rites (Arabic) St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, 2003

The Service of Matrimony: Past and Present, St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, 2003.

The Praklesis Service, Balamand Patriarchal Monastery, 2004

Liturgical Guide in services and Prayers. St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, University of Balamand, 2005.

Liturgical Sources, St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, University of Balamand, 2005

Church Praises, The Diocese of Pyrgou, 2006.

Divine Worship,The Diocese of Pyrgou, 2007.

The Service of the Diaconate, Blemana Convent, 2007.

The Service of the Archbishops, The Diocese of Pyrgou, 2007.

TRANSLATIONS

The life of Our Holy Righteous Mother Makrina, by St. Gregory of Nyssa, An-Nour Publications, 1984.

For Those Who Believe in Justification by Works, by St. Mark the Monk, in Chapters in Prayers and Spiritual Life, An-Nour, 1990.

 

CONFERENCES

 

The Meaning of the Church From an Eastern point of view, The Institute for Orthodox Studies Cambridge, 2002 .

The Mystery of Repentance, Conference on Eastern Liturgics, Holy Spirit University – Kaslik, 2000.

The Hymnographic Contribution of the Antiochian Orthodox Church to the

Byzantine Liturgical System During the Sixth and Seventh Centuries. Univerisyt of Balamand, 1999.

The Byzantine Divine Liturgy, A Conference on Liturgics, the Holy Sprit University, Kaslik, 2004.

The Unmerceneries Healers of the Church. A Lecture in the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the St. George Hospital, Beirut, 2002.

Antioch: Its Theology and Pastoral Care, A Lecture in the occasion of the Annual priestly convention of the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America, Pennsylvania, 2002.

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Source: The Syrian Observer; The official Website of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

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