Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس
|Scripture||Septuagint, New Testament|
|Theology||Eastern Orthodox theology|
|Primate||John X Yazigi Patriarch of Antioch and all the East (Dec 17, 2012)|
|Language||Koine Greek, Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish|
|Headquarters|| Mariamite Cathedral, Damascus, Syria |
Traditionally: Antioch, Byzantine Empire
Monastic residence: Balamand Monastery, Koura, Lebanon
|Territory||Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, parts of Turkey, United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, European Union, formerly Cyprus, and formerly Georgia and parts of the Central Caucasus area|
|Founder||Apostles Peter and Paul|
|Branched from||Church of Antioch|
|Members||Approx. 4.3 million (2012)|
|Part of a series on the|
|Eastern Orthodox Church|
The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, also known as the Antiochian Orthodox Church and legally as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (Arabic : بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس, romanized: Baṭriyarkiyyat ʾAnṭākiya wa-Sāʾir al-Mašriq li-r-Rūm al-ʾUrṯūḏuks, lit. 'Romaean/Byzantine Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East'), is an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, it considers itself the successor to the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter and Paul.
The seat of the patriarchate was formerly Antioch, in what is now Turkey. However, in the 14th century, it was moved to Damascus, modern-day Syria, following the Ottoman invasion of Antioch. Its traditional territory includes Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and also parts of Turkey. Its territory formerly included the Church of Cyprus until the latter became autocephalous in 431. Both the Orthodox Churches of Antioch and Cyprus are members of the Middle East Council of Churches.
Its North American branch is autonomous, although the Holy Synod of Antioch still appoints its head bishop, chosen from a list of three candidates nominated in the North American archdiocese. Its Australasia and Oceania branch is the largest in terms of geographic area due to the relatively large size of Australia and the large portion of the Pacific Ocean that the archdiocese covers.
The head of the Orthodox Church of Antioch is called Patriarch. The present Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch is John X Yazigi, who presided over the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe (2008–2013). He was elected as primate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East as John X of Antioch (Yazigi) on December 17, 2012. He succeeded Ignatius IV who had died on December 5, 2012. Membership statistics are not available, but may be as high as 1,100,000 in Syriaand 400,000 in Lebanon where they make up 8% of the population or 20% of Christians who make up 39-41% of Lebanon. The seat of the Patriarch in Damascus is the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus.
The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch is one of several churches that lay claim to be the canonical incumbent of the ancient see of St Peter and St Paul in Antioch. The Oriental Orthodox Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch makes the same claim, as do the Syriac Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, all of them Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See. These three, however, mutually recognize each other as holding authentic patriarchates, being part of the same Catholic communion. The Roman Catholic Church also appointed titular Latin Rite patriarchs for many centuries, until the office was left vacant in 1953 and abolished in 1964 and all claims renounced.
The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch claims the status of most ancient Christian church in the world. According to Luke the Evangelist- himself a Greco-Syrian member of that community:
The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
St Peter and St Paul the Apostle are considered the cofounders of the Patriarchate of Antioch, the former being its first bishop. When Peter left Antioch, Evodios and Ignatius took over the charge of the Patriarchate. Both Evodios and Ignatius died as martyrs under Roman persecution.
Hellenistic Judaism and the Judeo-Greek "wisdom" literature popular in the late Second Temple era amongst both Hellenized Rabbinical Jews (known as Mityavnim in Hebrew) and gentile Greek proselyte converts to mainstream Judaism played an important part in the formation of the Melkite-Antiochian Greek Orthodox tradition. Some typically Grecian "Ancient Synagogal" priestly rites and hymns have survived partially to the present in the distinct church services of the Melkite Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities of the Hatay Province of Southern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.
Some historians believe that a sizable proportion of the Hellenized Jewish communities and most gentile Greco-Macedonian settlers in Southern Turkey (Antioch, Alexandretta and neighboring cities) and Syria/Lebanon – the former being called "Hellenistai" in the Acts – converted progressively to the Greco-Roman branch of Christianity that eventually constituted the "Melkite" (or "Imperial") Hellenistic Churches in Western Asia and North Africa
As Jewish Christianity originated at Jerusalem, so Gentile Christianity started at Antioch, then the leading center of the Hellenistic East, with Peter and Paul as its apostles. From Antioch it spread to the various cities and provinces of Syria, among the Hellenistic Syrians as well as among the Hellenistic Jews who, as a result of the great rebellions against the Romans in A.D. 70 and 130, were driven out from Jerusalem and Palestine into Syria.
Acts 6 points to the problematic cultural tensions between the Hellenized Jews and Greek-speaking Judeo-Christians centered around Antioch and related Cilician, Southern-Anatolian and Syrian "Diasporas" and (the generally more conservative) Aramaic-speaking Jewish converts to Christianity based in Jerusalem and neighboring Israeli towns:
The ‘Hebrews’ were Jewish Christians who spoke almost exclusively Aramaic, and the ‘Hellenists’ were also Jewish Christians whose mother tongue was Greek. They were Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora, who returned to settle in Jerusalem. To identify them, Luke uses the term Hellenistai. When he had in mind Greeks, gentiles, non-Jews who spoke Greek and lived according to the Greek fashion, then he used the word Hellenes (Acts 21.28). As the very context of Acts 6 makes clear, the Hellenistai are not Hellenes.
These ethno-cultural and social tensions were eventually surmounted by the emergence of a new, typically Antiochian Greek doctrine (doxa) spearheaded by Paul (himself a Hellenized Cilician Jew) and his followers be they 1. Established, autochthonous Hellenized Cilician-Western Syrian Jews (themselves descendants of Babylonian and ‘Asian’ Jewish migrants who had adopted early on various elements of Greek culture and civilization while retaining a generally conservative attachment to Jewish laws & traditions), 2. Heathen, ‘Classical’ Greeks, Greco-Macedonian and Greco-Syrian gentiles, and 3. the local, autochthonous descendants of Greek or Greco-Syrian converts to mainstream Judaism – known as “Proselytes” (Greek: προσήλυτος/proselytes or ‘newcomers to Israel’) and Greek-speaking Jews born of mixed marriages.
Paul's efforts were probably facilitated by the arrival of a fourth wave of Greek-speaking newcomers to Cilicia/Southern Turkey and Northwestern Syria: Cypriot and ‘Cyrenian’ (Libyan) Jewish migrants of non-Egyptian North African Jewish origin and gentile Roman settlers from Italy- many of whom already spoke fluent Koine Greek and/or sent their children to Greco-Syrian schools. Some scholars believe that, at the time, these Cypriot and Cyrenian North African Jewish migrants were generally less affluent than the autochthonous Cilician-Syrian Jews and practiced a more ‘liberal’ form of Judaism, more propitious for the formation of a new canon:
[North African] Cyrenian Jews were of sufficient importance in those days to have their name associated with a synagogue at Jerusalem (Acts 6:9). And when the persecution arose about Stephen [a Hellenized Syrian-Cilician Jew, and one of the first known converts to Christianity], some of these Jews of Cyrene who had been converted at Jerusalem, were scattered abroad and came with others to Antioch [...] and one of them, Lucius, became a prophet in the early church there [the Greek-speaking ‘Orthodox’ Church of Antioch].
These subtle, progressive socio-cultural shifts are somehow summarized succinctly in Chapter 3 of the Epistle to the Galatians:
There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither slave nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
The unique combination of ethnocultural traits inhered from the fusion of a Greek cultural base, Hellenistic Judaism and Roman civilization gave birth to the distinctly Antiochian “Eastern Mediterranean-Roman” Christian traditions of Cilicia (Southeastern Turkey) and Syria/Lebanon:
The mixture of Roman, Greek, and Jewish elements admirably adapted Antioch for the great part it played in the early history of Christianity. The city was the cradle of the church.
Some of the typically Antiochian ancient liturgical traditions of the community rooted in Hellenistic Judaism and, more generally, Second Temple Greco-Jewish Septuagint culture, were expunged progressively in the late medieval and modern eras by both Phanariot European-Greek (Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople) and Vatican (Roman Catholic) theologians who sought to 'bring back' Levantine Greek Orthodox and Greek-Catholic communities into the European Christian fold.
But members of the community in Southern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon still call themselves Rûm which means "Eastern Roman" or "Asian Greek" in Arabic. In that particular context, the term "Rûm" is used in preference to "Yāvāni" or "Ionani" which means "European-Greek" or Ionian in Biblical Hebrew (borrowed from Old Persian Yavan = Greece) and Classical Arabic. Members of the community also call themselves 'Melkites', which literally means "monarchists" or "supporters of the emperor" in Semitic languages - a reference to their past allegiance to Greco-Macedonian, Roman and Byzantine imperial rule. But, in the modern era, the term tends to be more commonly used by followers of the Greek Catholic Church of Antioch and Alexandria and Jerusalem.
Following the fall of the Turkish Ottoman Empire and the Tsarist Russian Empire (long the protector of Greek-Orthodox minorities in the Levant), and the ensuing rise of French colonialism, communism, Islamism and Israeli nationalism, some members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch embraced secularism and/or Arab Nationalism as a way to modernize and "secularize" the newly formed nation-states of Northern Syria and Lebanon, and thus provide a viable "alternative" to political Islam, communism and Jewish nationalism (viewed as ideologies potentially exclusive of Byzantine Christian minorities).
This often led to interfaith conflicts with the Maronite Church in Lebanon, notably regarding Palestinian refugees after 1948 and 1967. Various (sometimes secular) intellectuals with a Greek Orthodox Antiochian background played an important role in the development of Baathism, the most prominent being Michel Aflaq, one of the founders of the movement.
In the early 20th Century (notably during World War I), Lebanese-American writers of Greek-Orthodox Antiochian background such as Abraham Dimitri Rihbany, known as Abraham Mitrie Rihbany (a convert to Presbyterianism), popularized the notion of studying ancient Greco-Semitic culture to better understand the historic and ethnocultural context of the Christian Gospels : his original views were developed in a series of articles for The Atlantic Monthly , and in 1916 published in book form as The Syrian Christ.
At a time when most of the Arab world area was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, France and England, Rihbany called for US military intervention in the Holy Land to fend off Ottoman Pan-Islamism, French colonialism, Soviet Communism and radical Zionist enterprises- all viewed as potentially detrimental to Christian minorities.
After the death of the head of the Patriarchate of Antioch, Ignatius IV (Hazim), Patriarch of Antioch, Syria, Arabia, Cilicia, Iberia, Mesopotamia and All the Middle East, on December 7, 2012, Metropolitan Saba Esber was elected locum tenens until the election of the new patriarch. On Monday, December 17, the Holy Synod of Antioch announcedthe election of Metropolitan John (Yazigi) as the new Patriarch, taking the name John X.
In Western Asia and North Africa:
in Asia and Oceania:
in the Americas:
Patriarchate is an ecclesiological term in Christianity, designating the office and jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical patriarch.
The Syriac Catholic Church, also known as Syriac Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch, is an Eastern Catholic Christian Church in the Levant that uses the West Syriac Rite liturgy and has many practices and rites in common with the Syriac Orthodox Church. Being one of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, the Syriac Catholic Church has full autonomy and is a self-governed sui iuris Church while it is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. The Syriac Catholic Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity. After the Calcedonian Schism the Church of Antioch became part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and was known as the Syriac Orthodox Church, while a new Antiochian Patriarchate was established to fill its place by the churches which accepted the Council of Calcedon. The Syriac Orthodox Church came into full communion with the Holy See and the modern Syriac Orthodox Church is a result of those that did not want to join the Catholic Church. Therefore the Syriac Catholic Church is the continuation of the original Church of Antioch.
Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch. As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period. This diocese is one of the few for which the names of its bishops from the apostolic beginnings have been preserved. Today five churches use the title of Patriarch of Antioch: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and the Maronite Church. Historically, there has also been a Latin Patriarch of Antioch.
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The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, often referred to in North America as simply the Antiochian Archdiocese, is the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch in the United States and Canada. Originally under the care of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Syro-Levantine Orthodox Christian immigrants to the United States and Canada were granted their own jurisdiction under the Church of Antioch in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. Internal conflicts divided the Antiochian Orthodox faithful into two parallel archdioceses—those of New York and Toledo—until 1975, when Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) became the sole Archbishop of the reunited Antiochian Archdiocese. The Holy Synod of Antioch granted the Archdiocese an autonomous status referred to as Self-Rule in 2003, and by 2014 the Archdiocese had grown to over 275 parish churches.
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, officially called simply the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is an autocephalous Church within the wider communion of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It is headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the incumbent being Theophilos III since 2005. Christians believe that it was in Jerusalem that the Church was established on the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus Christ and that the Gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem. The Church celebrates its liturgy in the Byzantine Rite, whose original language is Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, and follows its own calendar of feasts, preserving the Julian calendar. It is also often called "Σιωνίτις Εκκλησία".
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Christianity in Lebanon has a long and continuous history. Biblical Scriptures purport that Peter and Paul evangelized the Phoenicians, whom they affiliated to the ancient patriarchate of Antioch. The spread of Christianity in Mount Lebanon was very slow where paganism persisted in mountaintop strongholds. A 2015 study estimates some 2,500 Lebanese Christians have Muslim ancestry, whereas the majority of Lebanese Christians are direct descendants of the original early Christians.
Antiochian Greek Christians, also known as Rûm, are an Arabic-speaking ethnoreligious Eastern Christian group from the Levant region. They are either members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch or the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and they have ancient roots in the Levant, more specifically, the territories of western Syria, northern and central Lebanon, western Jordan, and the southern Turkish province of Hatay, which includes the city of Antakya —one of the holiest cities in Eastern Christianity. Many of their descendants now live in the global Near Eastern Christian diaspora. With Arabic becoming the lingua franca in the Levant, they primarily speak Arabic in its Levantine variant.
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Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism in classical antiquity that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture. Until the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the early Muslim conquests of the eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch in Syria, the two main Greek urban settlements of the Middle East and North Africa region, both founded at the end of the fourth century BCE in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic Judaism also existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, where there was conflict between Hellenizers and traditionalists.
Demetrius I Qadi was Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church from 1919 until 1925.
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Antoun (Khouri) of Miami and the Southeast was a diocesan bishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
Patriarch John X is primate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East.
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