His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East
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.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of New York and All North America
His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. He completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Assiyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania in May, 2010.
With the blessing of Patriarch Elias IV of blessed memory, Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rodopoulos) ordained him to be a deacon on December 4, 1976 in Thessaloniki, Greece, and Patriarch Ignatius IV, of blessed memory, ordained him a priest on December 10, 1980 in Damascus, Syria. The priest Joseph served as dean of St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus and as overseer of Holy Cross Church and other parishes in the suburbs of Damascus. He served as superintendent of the secondary school in Damascus from 1980 until 1983. He then went abroad to pastor the Antiochian Orthodox Church in London, England, from 1983 to 1986 and the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cyprus from 1986 until 1991, when he was elected to be a bishop.
Bishop Joseph was consecrated with the title, Bishop of Katana in Syria, and served as Patriarchal Assistant and Secretary of the Holy Synod of Antioch. In 1995, he was sent by Patriarch Ignatius to America. Here, in our Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph was assigned to the West Coast Chancery by Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory. Bishop Joseph was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California by Metropolitan Philip as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West on September 12, 2004.
On December 11, 2011, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon, Patriarch Ignatius IV elevated Bishop Joseph to the rank of Archbishop, in honor of his many years of service as a bishop both in our Archdiocese and in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
On July 3, 2014, Archbishop Joseph was elected to become the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
Metropolitan Joseph's achievements in apostolic ministry over the course of almost 20 years of diakonia as Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles & the West, as well as the locum tenens of the Diocese of Eagle River & the Northwest, form a solid testimony to his spiritual, ethical, and personal leadership qualifications. Over this vast expanse of the western United States and Canada, including Alaska, Metropolitan Joseph has tirelessly and unrelentingly maintained a personal apostolic presence in the more than 60 parishes under his care. His Eminence has maintained a personal culture of contact, by direct phone, with all his clergy. Many of the clergy and laity testify that Sayidna always remembers and acts on any important issue placed before him. This unique combination of traits, sobriety and blameless familiarity form the bedrock for his personal effectiveness with all.
Based upon his solid spiritual, ascetical, intellectual, and cultural formation and education, His Eminence has effectively established solid and meaningful Annual Clergy Seminars, and deepened the spiritual and educational experience of both clergy and laity at the annual Parish Life Conferences. He has brought in many and diverse Orthodox authors, leaders, and teachers to enrich the clergy and the laity of his two western dioceses. This has served to promote a strong sense of clergy brotherhood, inter-parochial exchanges, and has become the envy of other Orthodox jurisdictions everywhere. Guest speakers and visitors constantly remark that Metropolitan Joseph's clergy are outstanding in their consistent and active involvement in such events. His Eminence has labored intensely to deepen the spiritual life of his clergy, by encouraging frequent confession, personal prayer, continual education, and a heightened sense of the fullness of our Orthodox Christian tradition of interior and ascetical transfiguration in Christ.
His Eminence has demonstrated episcopal hospitality in his way of life and has led the way in cultivating an active pan-Orthodox community in the western United States and Canada. All of the canonical Orthodox hierarchs of the West relate to Metropolitan Joseph in a personal way as an episcopal concelebrant. This episcopal brotherhood has increasingly been reflected in the inter-parochial interaction of the priests and laity of all the parishes, across the western states and provinces.
Metropolitan Joseph has taken care in establishing a strong, clear, and straightforward liturgical guidance for all his parishes. He pioneered the use of the internet in publishing the entire text of all the Sunday and festal services of the Church throughout the year. His love for the divine services inspires him to improve the liturgical praxis of all the clergy, through constant interactions and special teachings. In addition, he constantly promotes the spiritual climate of the dioceses under his care with such things as "the thought of the day."
Sayidna Joseph is fluent in English, Arabic and Greek and is conversant in other European languages.
His name day is the second Sunday after Pascha (Joseph of Arimathea).
His Grace, Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic
His Grace the Right Reverend Thomas (Joseph) is a bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, serving in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic.
Of Arab-American heritage, Thomas Joseph was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1953. He attended John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, graduating in 1970. He went on to college at William Paterson College, graduating in 1974. After college, he worked in the Department of Community Improvements in Paterson, then served as a teacher for the Paterson Board of Education. When the Antiochian Village camp opened in the late 1970s, he was recruited by Fr. John Namie to serve as one of the original camp counselors from 1979 to 1982.
In the fall of 1979, Thomas began part-time study at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and was made a subdeacon by Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of Blessed Memory in July of 1982. He continued his studies until the spring of 1983, when he was assigned to Virgin Mary Church in Yonkers, New York.
In 1984, Metropolitan Philip assigned him to St. George Church in Houston, Texas, where he served as Director of Christian Education and Youth Services. While in Texas, the Archdiocese also assigned him to oversee Christian Education and then later teen activities for the churches in the Southwest Region (now the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America). In July of 1988 Thomas was ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of Toledo.
On August 28, 1994, Bishop Antoun (Khouri) ordained Dn. Thomas to the priesthood, and Fr. Thomas served as assistant pastor at his parish in Houston until August of 1996, when he was appointed pastor of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Pinellas Park, Florida, near St. Petersburg.
Between 1996 and his consecration to the episcopacy, Fr. Thomas served in multiple capacities aside from his work as a pastor. He was an appointed member of the Archdiocese Youth Department Board; Spiritual Advisor to the Teen SOYO (Society of Orthodox Youth Organization) Southeastern Region; Chairperson of the Tampa Bay Orthodox Clergy Association; Director of Programs in Pastoral Bioethics for the International Academy of Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine in the United States; Speaker at Braunels, Germany, and at City University of Hong Kong on Bioethics; author of published articles on Christian Bioethics; Speaker at Antiochian Village and third session camp priest for many years; and past President and Vice President of the Tampa Bay Council of Orthodox Churches. In July 2002, Fr. Thomas was granted a Master of Arts degree in Applied Orthodox Theology jointly from the Antiochian House of Studies and the St. John of Damascus School of Theology of the University of Balamand in Lebanon.
On February 15, 2004, Fr. Thomas was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Bp. Antoun, and on December 5, 2004, he was consecrated to the episcopacy by Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch in Damascus, Syria.
Bishop Thomas was enthroned as Bishop of Oakland and the East at St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh (Borough of Oakland), Pennsylvania, on May 6, 2005. In August of 2006, he was awarded a Doctorate in Education from California Coast University. His Grace also sits on the editorial board of the journal Christian Bioethics, which is published by Oxford University Press.
His Grace is also the author of several published articles, including Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Its Importance in the Culture Wars, Training Up a Child: Educational Options for Orthodox Christians, An Orthodox University: Higher Education for Orthodox Christians and Sanctified Schooling: Working out Salvation Within Education. He also co-authored The Emergence of Local Orthodox Christian Societies in America.
In 2006, the Church of St. George in Charleston, West Virginia purchased a chancery for the diocese, and in October of that year St. George was elevated to a cathedral, thus adding another see to the diocese. The diocese was then renamed the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic.
His Grace's residence is at the diocesan chancery in Charleston.
In addition to his duties in the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, Bishop Thomas also served as the locum tenens of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest from December 2010 to December 2011. Within the Archdiocese, His Grace assists Metropolitan Joseph in overseeing the Antiochian Village, the Christian Education Department, the Youth Department and the Antiochian House of Studies.
Since 2011, he has also chaired the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. In May 2014, His Grace was appointed Assistant to the President of the Balamand University in charge of Student Recruitment in North America. In May 2015, His Grace was elected to the Board of Trustees of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.
Reverend Father Joseph Hazar, Dean
Fr. Joseph was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 24, 1983 to Elias and Jeanet Hazar, from Marja'youn Lebanon and Damascus, Syria, respectively. From the very young age of 3 years old, he felt a calling to serve the Lord as a priest. He was baptized at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, the first parish founded by St Raphael of Brooklyn.
On Palm Sunday in 2004, Joseph was ordained a Subdeacon by Metropolitan PHILIP of blessed memory. In 2006, he received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Hellenic College (Brookline, MA) and his Master of Divinity in 2011 from St Tikhon Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, PA. After seminary, he spent a year furthering his studies at the Patriarchal seminary of the Balamand in north Lebanon.
Fr. Joseph served as youth director, intern, and pastoral assistant at the Basilica of St Mary (Livonia, MI), St Elijah Church (Oklahoma City), St George Church (Cicero, IL), and St George Church (Fishers, IN). He has also given numerous retreats and lectures throughout the country. He also served in various capacities at a number of Orthodox camps throughout the country, beginning with 3 summers at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA.
In 2014, Joseph married his wife, Jennifer, and they have two daughters. On June 28, 2015, Joseph was ordained to the diaconate, and on June 9, 2016, he was ordained to the holy priesthood, both ordinations by the laying on of hands by His Grace, Bishop ANTHONY of Toledo and the Midwest.
In 2016, Fr. Joseph was assigned to be the pastor of St John Orthodox Church of Levittown, NY.
On August 1, 2018, Fr. Joseph was entrusted the care of the flock of St George Cathedral in Charleston by His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, where he holds the title Dean of the Cathedral. Here, Fr. Joseph works closely with the parish family to do the will of God and work towards salvation, which is the only thing that is truly important in this world.
Rev. Father Christopher Eid served as Dean of the Cathedral from 2015-2018
V. Rev. Father Olof Scott served as Dean of the Cathedral from 1976-2015, Dean Emeritus.
V. Rev. Father Raphael Husson served as Pastor of St. George Orthodox Church from 1929-1967.