John X Yazigi
|Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East|
|Church||Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch|
|Installed||February 10, 2013|
|Predecessor||Ignatius IV of Antioch|
|Birth name||John Yazigi|
|Born||January 1, 1955|
|Residence||Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, Syria|
|Alma mater||Tishreen University|
University of Balamand
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
John Yazigi was born in Latakia, Syria. His father Mounah Yazigi, an Arabic language teacher, was originally from the village of Marmarita in Wadi al-Nasara and his mother Rosa Moussi is from Tripoli, Lebanon. He graduated from Tishreen University with a degree in civil engineering, then he earned a degree in theology in 1978 from the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology at the University of Balamand. In 1983, he graduated from the theological faculty of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a focus in liturgics. He also has a degree in Byzantine music from the Conservatory of Byzantine Music of Thessaloniki.
On January 24, 1995, he was consecrated as the vicar bishop of Al-Hosn. After his consecration, Bishop John immediately began to work to revive the patriarchal monastery of St. George in Al-Humayrah, serving as the monastery's abbot from 1995-2002. Through his efforts, the monastery became a center of spiritual and public life in the area.
From 1981 until 2008, he was the instructor of liturgics at the Balamand Seminary. From 1989 until 1992, and then again from 2001 until 2005, he was also the rector of the seminary. During his second term as rector, he was also the abbot of the Balamand monastery.
On June 17, 2008, he was chosen as the metropolitan of Western and Central Europe. He was enthroned by Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch. On August 19, 2010, his title was changed to "Metropolitan of Europe."
On December 17, 2012, twelve days after the death of the previous patriarch, Ignatius IV of Antioch, John Yazigi was elected Patriarch of Antioch. This was unexpected as Yazigi had only been a member of the Holy Synod for a little under 5 years, having been elected to the Metropolitan See of Western and Central Europe in 2008. The normal procedure for the election of a Patriarch requires all candidates to have been a member of the Holy Synod for at least 5 years, but reports indicate that the synod agreed to set that rule aside for this election. Patriarch John X arrived in Damascus, Syria on December 20, 2012 for prayers in the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, where he also received congratulations from members, civil authorities (including the Minister for Presidential Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic, Mansour Fadlallah Azzam, on behalf of the President of Syria) and other well-wishers. On Sunday December 23, 2012, the solemn Divine Liturgy of installation and thanksgiving was offered by the newly elected Patriarch.
In his installation sermon, Patriarch John X stressed his rejection of western interference in the Syrian civil war as well as his intention to promote peaceful co-existence with Muslims and other Syrians. The ambassador of the Russian Federation in Damascus, Azmatullah Kulmohammadov, stressed the firm support of Russia for Syrian national unity, national peace and an end to the civil war. The Antiochian Orthodox patriarch in response called upon the entire Syrian people to defend its national unity and to fight instability and insecurity.
On February 10, 2013, John X was formally enthroned as the Metropolitan Bishop of Antioch (the customary see of the Patriarch of Antioch), ceasing to be Metropolitan of Europe. This occasion marks the commencement of John X's patriarchal reign. The enthronement took place in the principal church of the See of Antioch, the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, as required by tradition. However, because of the present civil war in Syria the service was necessarily restrained. A second service of enthronement took place on February 17, 2013 in the Cathedral of St Nicholas, Ashrafieh (one of the oldest Christian districts of Beirut), which was attended by Antiochian Orthodox Christians from all over the world, and especially by the President and Prime Minister of Lebanon, and the Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church. During his sermon, the Patriarch promised that the Antiochian Church would engage in dialogue based on mutual respect. He also promised to continue the Patriarchate's aid to all families, children and women who are suffering as a result of the conflict. On working together with the Muslim community, he said, "Muslims are partners in the nation, and our ties with them go beyond coexistence; we share with them the responsibility to build a [better] future and confront dangers".
In April 2018, John X of Antioch, together with Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and Greek Melkite Patriarch Youssef Absi issued a strong condemnation of the 2018 missile strikes against Syria. They said the bombing "were clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter", and that the "unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organizations and gives them momentum to continue in their terrorism."