Syria’s state-run news agency says Youhanna Yazigi was elected as the First Hierarch of the Damascus-based Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East. He replaces Patriarch Ignatius Hazim, who died earlier this month. Youhanna, 57, is from the Syrian city of Latakia, where he established the city’s first Christian music school. He has training as a civil engineer. It’s estimated that the Church has over a million adherents in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon. Youhanna’s predecessor split his time between the two countries.
17 December 2012
As quoted in the Seattle Times
On Monday, Patriarch Youhanna Yazigi was elected as successor to the late Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Hazim, who died earlier this month. The election came during a closed meeting of 18 bishops at Balamand Monastery, some 85 kilometres (53 miles) north of Beirut. Speaking following his appointment, Youhanna said that he’d do his best to keep on serving the Church and asked the Lord to give him strength in doing so.
Ignatius, who was born in the Syrian town of Mhardeh, in Hama Governorate, passed away 5 December at the age of 92 in a Beirut hospital, a day after suffering a stroke. Youhanna, 57, hails from Latakia in Syria, where he pursued studies in civil engineering. Throughout his studies, John had a pivotal role in establishing several spiritual programmes and trained choirs in Byzantine music. In 1978, Youhanna earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Institute of St John Damascus Faculty of Theology at the University of Balamand. Then, he earned a doctorate in theology in 1983 from the University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Youhanna became a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1983. In 1981, he took up teaching liturgy at the St John Damascus Faculty of Theology at Balamand University where he had previously studied, assuming the position of dean of the faculty from 1988-1991 and 2001-2005. He became the superior of the Balamand Monastery from 2001 to 2005. In 2008, he became the Antiochian Metropolitan of Western and Central Europe.
17 December 2012
The Daily Star: Lebanon News