His Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod earlier today, December 17, during a special session held at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Patriarch-elect was born in 1955 in the city of Latakiya, Syria into a pious Orthodox home. His father was Syrian and was a professor of Arabic Language. His mother is Lebanese. He has four brothers, with his brother Paul being the current Metropolitan of Aleppo, and he has one sister who is a nun. During his early studies, he played a key role in the leadership of Orthodox youth, and organized many choirs to sing in the local churches.
The Patriarch-elect received his primary, secondary and university education in Latakiya, Syria graduating with a degree in civil engineering. He earned a degree in theology in 1978 from the St. John of Damascus School of Orthodox of Theology at the Balamand University and a doctorate in theology (emphases in liturgy and Byzantine music) in 1983 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He was tonsured a monk at the Athonite Monastery of St Paul on the Holy Mountain, was ordained to the holy diaconate in 1979 and to the holy priesthood in 1983, and in 1981 became professor of Liturgical Studies at the St. John of Damascus School of Orthodox Theology at the Balamand University. He assumed the position of dean of that theological school from 1988-1991 and again from 2001-2005. He was elected and consecrated to the sacred episcopacy in 1995 with the title Bishop of al-Hosn. He has served as superior of the Monastery of St George al-Humayrah in the Christian Valley (Wadi al-Nasara) in Syria, superior of the Our Lady of Balamand Monastery, and spiritual father to the Convent of the Dormition in Blemmana, Syria. In 2008 he was elected and enthroned as the Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe.
The Patriarch-elect has had strong influence in the Middle East and other areas , having participated in many international Orthodox and ecumenical conferences in countries such as Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, Russia, and Great Britain. His love of music has led him to translate many selections of liturgical music. He is the author of a work on the principles of Byzantine Music which he first wrote in 1990, with a second edition having been published in 2001. In 1999 he lectured at the Balamand University on the subject of the contribution of the Church of Antioch to liturgical development in the 6th and 7th centuries. He has written scholarly works on the life of St. Nektarios The Wonderworker, the role of marriage in the life of Orthodox clergy, the life of St. Macrina, St. Gregory Nazianzus, and a comprehensive work on the life of the saints published in 1984. In 2002, he lectured at Oxford University on the topic of the Church in the Middle East, and also at the biennial Clergy Symposium for the Archdiocese of North America.
The date of His Beatitude's Enthronement has not yet been announced. Eis polla eti dhespota!