Friday, December 19, 2014

How Bishop Qais Sadeq Entered The Patriarchate of Antioch

From an interview in this month's Majallat al-Nour. Arabic original in pdf here.

Who is Qais Sadeq?

I was born in Amman, Jordan in 1954. My father is Fuad bin Georges Sadeq who put on the robe of Christ in the baptismal font of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Kousba, al-Koura, the village of his fathers and grandfathers. My mother is from Ramlet al-Bayda, Palestine. I received my general Jordanian secondary diploma in literature in 1972 from Taj High School in Amman. On the Feast of the Cross, September 14, 1986 Patriarch Ignatius IV ordained me as a celibate deacon at Holy Cross Cathedral in Damascus and as a priest in the same cathedral on September 14, 1988. I was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Patriarch Ignatius IV on March 11, 1990 and was appointed as an advisory judge for the spiritual appeals court in Damascus (Patriarchal Decision no. 84/1990). On May 6, 1992, I was appointed pastor of the Church of Saint George in Damascus and pastor of the Romanian Orthodox in Damascus. With the blessing of Patriarch Ignatius IV, I returned to Amman to be a consultant at the Crown Prince's Office for Christian Affairs (1995-1999).

How did you come to the Patriarchate of Antioch?

In June, 1972, I came to Balamand from Jordan for the first time to participate in summer training workshops held by the Orthodox Youth Movement. Among those I met there were the Metropolitan of Mount Lebanon, the engineer Michel (now Metropolitan Ephrem) Kyriakos, Hani (now Patriarch John X) Yazigi, members of the Holy Synod of Antioch and senior members of the Youth Movement.

After two months, with the blessing of Patriarch Elias IV I returned once more to Balamand as a patriarchal student at the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology. Among those under whom I studied were Patriarch Ignatius IV of thrice-blessed memory, then Metropolitan of Lattakia and dean of the Institute; His Eminence Metropolitan Elias (Audi), his assistant; Sayyedna Georges Khodr; Nadim (Fr Paul) Tarazi; and Dr Adib Saab. Among my colleagues during my studies then were Metropolitans Elias (Kfoury), Samih (Mansour), Georges (Abu Zakhem) and Paul (Bendaly) of blessed memory. However, God's will was that I leave Balamand before the end of the first term and go to Bucharest in order to receive theological instruction at its theological institute as a student from the Patriarchate of Antioch.

How did you come to Romania?

Through the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth  Movements (Syndesmos) and with the blessing of Patriarch Justinian of thrice-blessed memory (the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church), I received a scholarship to do theological studies at the Orthodox seminary in Bucharest, Romania. Because of the position of the Orthodox spiritual leadership of Jerusalem toward Arab members of the Church, the bishop of the diocese (Diodoros, later patriarch of Jerusalem) refused to grant me a certificate of his blessing, claiming that the Church of Jerusalem was not in need of theologians and that the priests and servants that it already had were enough for it. Because of Patriarch Justinian's understanding of the pastoral situation in the See of Jerusalem, he regarded me as a member of the Romanian Church and so did away with the need for a recommendation from Jerusalem. With the blessing of Patriarch Elias IV and the encouragement of the dean of the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology at the time, Metropolitan Elias (Hazim), the future patriarch, I entered the Orthodox seminary in Bucharest at the end of the first term as a member of the Antiochian and Romanian Churches. This provoked a protest from the Church of Jerusalem, headed by Patriarch Venediktos, his vicar Metropolitan Basilios and the bishop  of Jordan, Diodoros against the Church of Romania. However, the unity of the position of Antioch and Romania resolved the issue.

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