Our Antiochian Patriarch

His Beatitude Kyrios Kyrios Youhanna X Patriarch-elect of Antioch and All The East

His Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the East

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!

Our Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan

His Eminence the Most Reverend PHILIP (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

His Eminence the Most Reverend PHILIP (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

He was born Abdullah Saliba in the small village of Abou Mizan in Lebanon. In 1945, at the age of 14, he went to seminary at the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tripoli, Lebanon.

He was ordained a deacon on August 6, 1949, and appointed Secretary (1949-1953) to Patriarch Alexander III of Antioch, while continuing his studies at Assiyah College, Damascus, Syria (1949-1951). During his service as Patriarchal Secretary, he returned to Balamand Seminary and served as Dean of Students and Lecturer in Arabic Language and Literature (1952), eventually going to England and and pursuing further studies at Kelham Theological School, Nottinghamshire, UK (1953) and the University of London (1953).

In 1966, while still a priest and only 35 years of age, he was elected to serve as primate of the North American archdiocese of the Church of Antioch. In June of that year, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Metropolitan Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli. On August 14, 1966, he was consecrated to the sacred episcopacy and made an archbishop at St. Elias Monastery in Lebanon, performed by Patriarch Theodosius VI of Antioch. His enthronement as Metropolitan of New York was held in New York on October 13 of that year.

During his tenure as metropolitan, His Eminence has made multiple major achievements for his flock, including the founding of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America (1973), the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch (1975), and the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology (1980). In 1978, he purchased the land for and founded the Antiochian Village retreat center and summer camp, where the Antiochian House of Studies program (founded 1992) is held. One of his most famous acts was the reception of the majority of the Evangelical Orthodox Church in 1987, renaming them the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission.

Our Diocesan Bishop

His Grace The Right Reverend ALEXANDER (Mufarrij), Bishop of Ottawa and the Diocese of Eastern Canada and Upstate New York

His Grace The Right Reverend ALEXANDER (Mufarrij), Bishop of Ottawa and the Diocese of Eastern Canada and Upstate New York

He was born into an Orthodox Christian family in 1956, he spent his childhood and young adulthood in North Lebanon where he attended Tripoli Boys’ School. After having passed the Lebanese Baccalaureates I and II, he enrolled at the American University of Beirut but was unable to continue due to the fighting that plagued Lebanon at the time.

In 1976 the University of North Texas accepted his application for an undergraduate degree and so he left his birth country and a widowed mother for the purpose of education in the USA.

At North Texas State he studied Biology with the intention of becoming a dentist, but the slim chances of studying dentistry for a non-resident soon revealed themselves when Dental schools began to inform him that their priorities were for state residents. While working in the States for a second time, he wrote His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip requesting his blessing to enter seminary. His positive response came back in May of 1997 directing him to attend St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. During his last semester at the seminary he was ordained to the Diaconate on January 9, 2000 and to the priesthood on April 9, 2000. All through his life he has loved the church and had an affinity for the priesthood. His entering the ministry came after a long time of prayer and self-examination. It stems from a faith deeply rooted in God and a close relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. Upon celebrating his first Liturgy, he felt that his entire life had fallen into place.

Bishop ALEXANDER was nominated to the sacred episcopacy at a Special Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese held in Pittsburgh, PA in July, 2004, and was elected to the episcopacy by the Local Synod of Bishops in October, 2004. He was consecrated as a bishop at the hand of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus Syria on December 5, 2004.

Bishop ALEXANDER was enthroned as the first Diocesan Bishop of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York at St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa, on Sunday June 1, 2005.

Our Priest

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Rev. Fr. Elias Ayoub

Rev. Fr. Elias Ayoub

~Pastor’s Message~

Ask, Seek, Knock. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”. (Matthew 7:7-8) (John 21:15-17)

Beloved in Christ, daughters and sons of the Church and inheritors of the Holy Grace:

The wise teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, prepares for us the fruitful path to His heavenly Kingdom and tells us that He awaits us at the end side of the road.

No matter how difficult, lengthy and turbulent this road might have been, seek Him constantly, ask for His guidance and pray that He may remain dwelling in His holy temple and deep within your soul. Through persistent prayers, patience and continuous knocking, He shall respond by opening the door to His Heavenly Kingdom.

Living inside the church in unity, peace and great love for one another is the perfect opportunity for God almighty to bless us with His Grace. Let us aim high towards the Heavenly Light, and continue to focus on building our church through the power of love, the love that gathers everything in His blessed name. Let us grab one another’s hand and seek Him, knock at His door, and ask for His leadership as we walk together towards a constructive and fruitful path where the Lord sits in His majestic Glory.

May the heavenly peace dwell in your heart and my God bless and protect your family.

Your humble servant in the Lord,

Father Elias Ayoub
Pastor of St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Mississauga