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The Patriarchate of Antioch

Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim was very active in the ecumenical movement and promoted efforts to reestablish the unity of all those whose roots can be traced back to the ancient undivided Antioch Patriarchate. With this in mind he met on July 22, 1991, with the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. They signed a document that called for “complete and mutual respect between the two churches.” It also forbade the passing of faithful from one church to the other, envisaged joint meetings of the two Holy Synods when appropriate, and provided guidelines for intercommunion of the faithful and even Eucharistic concelebration by the clergy of the two churches.

The Patriarchate has participated in a special bilateral theological commission for dialogue with the Melkite Greek Catholic Church to explore ways of healing the schism of 1724. The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch, Maximos V, addressed a meeting of the Antiochian Orthodox Holy Synod for the first time in October 1996. The Antiochian Patriarch has vigorously supported the international dialogue with the Catholic Church.

There has been extensive emigration of Antiochian Orthodox out of the Middle East since the late 19th century, and dioceses have been established in North America, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia. In North America the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (358 Mountain Road, Englewood, New Jersey 07631) is under the supervision of Metropolitan Joseph (born 1950, elected 2014). In 2015 the Archdiocese had 275 parishes and missions throughout the United States and Canada. This jurisdiction includes a Western Rite Vicariate composed mostly of former Episcopalians (Anglicans) with 24 parishes in North America. In addition, a number of Evangelical Christians originating in the Campus Crusade for Christ were received into the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1987. They eventually formed 20 parishes, all of the Byzantine rite. Known at that time as the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission, it was disbanded in 1995 and its parishes integrated into the regular structure of the Archdiocese.

The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand (2 Bampton Avenue, Illawong, NSW 2234, Australia) is headed by Archbishop Paul Saliba (born 1939, elected 1999). It has 26 parishes and missions in Australia and eight in New Zealand, which is a separate deanery. The Archdiocese also includes eight worshipping communities in the Philippines.

An Antiochian Orthodox deanery in the United Kingdom and Ireland was established in 1995 as part of the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe based in Paris. It was replaced in 2013 when the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch created a separate Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland (1A Redhill Street, London NW1 4BG). Archimandrite Silouan Oner was elected as the first Metropolitan in 2015 and was enthroned later that year. At present the Archdiocese has 18 parishes and seven missions. The great majority of the clergy are converts from the Church of England.

His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim), who had served as primate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch since 1979, passed away at the age of 92 in a Beirut hospital on December 5, 2012. An extraordinary session of the Holy Synod of the Holy See of Antioch was held on December 17. It elected Metropolitan John (Yazigi) of Europe (based in Paris) as the new patriarch. Born in Syria, the new Antiochian primate pledged to work for harmonious relations between Muslims and other religious groups in that country. Metropolitan John had also been serving as Orthodox co-chairman of the Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group, sponsored by the Johann-Adam-Möller Ecumenical Institute in Paderborn, Germany.

Location: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, the Americas, Australia, Europe
Head: Patriarch John X (born 1955, elected 2012)
Title: Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Residence: Damascus, Syria
Membership: 750,000

Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016

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