The Orthodox Church (often called the Eastern Orthodox Church) is the first Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Her history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles. For twenty centuries, she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship and structure remain intact. The Church of Antioch has maintained continuous succession in the Apostolic Faith down to the present.
The current Bishop/Patriarch of Antioch is His Beatitude John X, who was enthroned on Sunday, February 10, 2013 following the repose of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV on December 5, 2012. Patriarch Ignatius served the See of Antioch from July 2, 1979 until the date of his repose.
His Beatitude John X was born in 1955 in the city of Lattakia, Syria. His father Mounah Yazigi was from Lattakia, a teacher of Arabic language. His mother Rosa Moussi is from Tripoli, Lebanon. They gave birth to four children – two boys and two girls. His Beatitude’s brother is His Grace Metropolitan Boulos of Aleppo. One sister is a nun. His Beatitude lived and studied in the city schools. He graduated from the University of Teshreen with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering. During his university studies, he played an active and leading role with the youth, which led to the establishment of a Byzantine Music School and many spiritual youth programs. His work led to a great spiritual revival among his generation.
In 1978, His Beatitude graduated from the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, University of Balamand, with a Bachelor in Theology. In 1983 he graduated from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece with a doctoral degree in Liturgia. He was awarded the Doctorate with distinction. The title of his doctoral 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 Beatitude earned a Diploma in Byzantine Music from the Conservatory of Byzantine Music in Thessaloniki, Greece.
His Eminence Metropolitan John Mansour of Lattakia ordained John Yazigi a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1983. As priest he served in the Archdiocese of Lattakia. Since 1981, he taught courses on Liturgics at the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at the University of Balamand. During the periods of 1988-1991 and 2001-2005 he served as Dean of the Institute of Theology. In addition, he served as Abbot of St. George Al Humayrah Patriarchal Monastery in Syria. There he founded a monastic community and a school of ecclesiastic studies. He also served as the Abbot of the Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Monastery in the years 2001-2005. His Beatitude 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 there till 2008 when he was elected by the Holy Synod as the Metropolitan of Europe. He was elected by the Holy Synod meeting in Balamand Monastery as Patriarch of Antioch and all the East on Monday December 17th, 2012.
In addition to his pastoral care in these parishes, he was involved in many worldwide activities at the ecumenical, Christian and especially Orthodox Christian spheres. He participated in many international conferences in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, United States of America, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
His Beatitude is distinguished by his ecclesiastic, national and ecumenical presence shown through his participation in many conferences, on the national and international levels. He is renowned for his clear vision, based on truth, and eagerness to find the best solutions for conflicts amongst parties. He is known by his compassionate and friendly character. He is a good listener, and a faithful steward for those in need.
Wherever he worked, His Beatitude proved to be a man of action and a good sower of the Word of God, seeking to reveal the beauty of the Spouse of Christ and making Her shiny and strong. He is known by his closeness to the Youth and his ability to involve them in the service of the church, their society and their nation. He is a good administrator, and a proven man who knows how to work with others and reinforce institutions. He played a leading role in Higher Education while he was Dean of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology.
His Beatitude 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 and deacons. In addition, he translated and wrote many articles, and gave many lectures in different universities, parishes and institutes.