New Patriarch of Antioch

You may have already heard today’s (Monday’s) news that Metropolitan John (Yazigi) of Central and Western Europe has been elected the new Patriarch of Antioch.  However, you may not be aware of the Metropolitan’s English-language website which is a very extensive source of information about him.   His biography and lists of his publications and conferences can be read at  .  With respect to Catholic-Orthodox relations, I believe that his election is a positive development.  His biography states: “His Eminence was involved in many worldwide activities at the ecumenical, Christian and especially Orthodox Christian spheres.  Metropolitan John participated in many international conferences, namely in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Cyprus, United States of America, Russia, and the United Kingdom.”  However, even more significant is that Metropolitan John is co-president of the Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group and co-chaired the Group’s meeting last month at the Bose Monastery in Italy.  The Group is an unofficial Catholic- Orthodox dialogue which was established after the breakdown of the official dialogue in 2000.  Although the official dialogue has resumed, the Group’s function was found so valuable that it has continued to be very active.  At the last meeting, the Group discussed “the relationship between primacy and synodality in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.”

In other developments, there seems to be considerable activity indicating that a pan-Orthodox Council may actually occur.  On the feast of St. Andrew, the Ecumenical Patriarch stated: “Our Holy Orthodox Church finds itself in the delightful position of announcing that the preparation of its Holy and Great Synod has almost been completed, that it is in its final stages and will be convoked in the near future.   On Saturday Metropolitan Hilarion met with the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul.   On December 10-12, Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate, met with the Romanian Patriarchate concerning the Council.  The Greek website also reported on the response of the Bulgarian Patriarchate to a letter from the Ecumenical Patriarchate relating to the Council.

Peter Anderson, Seattle USA

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