Monday, December 17, 2012

Patriarch John X Yazigi: Axios, Axios, Axios!

Today, Metropolitan John Yazigi of Western and Central Europe was elected the 158th patriarch of Antioch and all the East. 

مستحق مستحق مستحق

His biography can be found here. Some of his homilies and pastoral letters can be read in English here.

From his words upon his election, Arabic original here.

Brother bishops, honorable fathers, members of the Holy Synod,

Beloved, what do you think a person should say at a moment like this, when he is established in the Spirit by the hand of our Holy Synod of Antioch to be in this position of service?

I do not forget the first day I was consecrated bishop, like other bishops, when you bow before the holy table and the Gospel-- the word of the Lord-- is opened over your head, then the patriarch and metropolitans call upon the Holy Spirit. This Gospel, in your prayers and your love, is open over my head... It tells me and reminds me what the Lord said to Paul: Do you love me? He said yes. He said, pastor my sheep... It is what is put over my head that draws me close to you. I do not forget my Lord who was lifted upon the cross. This service is a cross... My fathers and brothers, I ask for your prayers and supplications so that hand in hand we will make God's Church of Antioch a fitting image of the Bride of Christ and the Church that we all know she is. What I want to say and what I'm satisfied to say about this blessed service to which we have raised is for me to ask for your prayers, that my Lord will strengthen me in this service to which I have been entrusted. We all realize that our people are are a good people and that their service is sweet for our hearts. We are from this country. Our soil is a part of us and we are a part of it. I say to you, let us remember the prayer of our Lord to His Father, "Make them one as We are one." Let us be one, so that we may pastor our people, so that we may strive to make our Church that Church that is adorned in a white bridal garment that testifies to our Lord, so that people will see this Church and praise our Father who is glorified in heaven. I ask for the prayers of all, grown, young, and children... I am thankful for the love, trust, and prayers of the bishops. By God's grace I will rely  upon Him as we fight the good fight to build the Church as a beautiful bride for Christ, who is blessed and glorified unto the ages. Amen.

From his remarks at the press conference following his election, Arabic original here.

This service is a great service and an enormous responsibility. If one thinks about it, he cannot say anything. With the grace of God and relying upon my brothers in the Holy Synod, the monks, the nuns, and the people. We rely on the Lord to undertake this mission with which we have been entrusted today. Mankind continue to pass through harsh and difficult circumstances from all sides, but through our love and our continual openness to the other, and our faith that we are one family in the society and the country in which we live, it is possible for us to open our hearts and to remember this mission that comes from heaven: If we make our heart a home for the One who comes from heaven, this will strengthen us and help us.

The Orthodox Church has given this mission to all. We are one heart. The brothers on the Holy Synod work through the Spirit of the Lord. I thank my brother bishops for their great trust and love. In the Church, great work is before us and our path is the building up of man. We have great work in the fields of education, youth, schools, and universities.

We are very concerned with relations with the other Christian churches and we will work on this with our Muslim brothers in this country. We are one family with one destiny. We have great trust in our people. Our way is the way of the cross-- offering ourselves up and serving the people. God will strengthen us along this path. I ask for the prayers and love of all, just as I ask for us to be as one hand in this country. We work, as always, for the common good and the building up of a good society that bears witness to the truth. We remain, the Christians remain, and the land is their land. Our country has been subject to very difficult times through history and many have passed through difficult times. However, we are present and we remain. We have great trust in each other.

We live in continual hope. Hope does not fail in our hearts. We in Lebanon and Syria are one family and one Church. We believe that the Church of Christ is one and one family. All of us strive, as the Church of Antioch also strives, to be one with each other. The institutions, plans, and everything we undertake is for the sake of humankind and within the context that they must be put in place for the sake of humankind.

We studied at the hands of our master Patriarch Ignatius. The root of our concern will be everything that concerns the Church and the people. Our mission is to bear witness to peace and love for all humanity. We strive to mend the gap that has emerged within man, whether it is in his relationship to his Lord or in his relationship with other men. For the sake of this, and within the work of the Church, there are internal concerns and the Church is concerned with arranging the inside of the house, with regard to church education, administration, spirituality, institutions and with other churches.

The Church's work is diverse. The Lord will strengthen us all. I stress that we in the Church are one and we want to utilize all talents so that the Church can take up the illuminating role and the yoke that belongs to her.

1 comment:

Dn Paul said...

Metropolitan John ordained me to the diaconate this year. We Antiochians in Europe are so grateful for the work he has done in building up Christ's Church here, despite so many obstacles: limitations of finances, time and his own health. He showed unfailing care and concern for every single parish, every single person in his archdiocese.
We rejoiced at his election to the see ruled by Metropolitan Gabriel of blessed memory. We rejoice with the whole patriarchate at his election to the Patriarchal Throne, but we are perhaps tinged with a little sadness as we must now say farewell to our beloved Sayedna. I am torn between joy and sadness that I feel almost ready to burst, but I am confident that the Holy Spirit moved the Holy Synod to elect the best possible successor to Ignatius of thrice-blessed memory. Glory to God!
May God grant him health, wisdom and MANY YEARS!