To the Holy Synod of Bishops
of the Antiochian Orthodox Church
Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
After receiving the sad news of passing away of Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, blessed memory Kyr Ignatius, We prayerfully remember his beloved Beatitude, Head of the Holy Throne of the Antiochian Patriarchs, who worthily served his whole life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in particular, in very difficult times in which the Antiochian Church finds itself today.
On behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, all the honorable hierarchy, God-loving clergy, venerable monastics and faithful people of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and Us personally, We express to our sister Orthodox Church of Antioch Our sincere condolences.
We pray to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Resurrection and Life, to give repose to the noble soul of Patriarch Ignatius and grant him memory eternal.
The Patriarchate of Antioch informs that Patriarch Ignatius IV of blessed repose will be buried in Damascus on Monday, 10 December 2012, after the funeral service at the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Mother of God (Mariamite Cathedral). Before that, on Sunday, 9 December 2012, the funeral service will be served at the church of Saint Nicholas in Beirut. The Patriarchate of Antioch invites all Local Orthodox Churches to participate at the funeral service on Sunday, 9 December 2012.
Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch and All the East was born in 1920 in the village of Muharda, near the city of Hama Syria. In 1936, he moved to Beirut, where he became an altar server. Years later, upon taking monastic vows, he became a hierodeacon. In 1945 he graduated from the American University of Beirut, and from 1949 to 1953 studied at the Saint Sergius Theological Institute in Paris. On his return to Lebanon, the young theologian with a master's degree was ordained hieromonk. In 1942, he became one of the founders of the influential Orthodox Youth Movement in Lebanon and Syria, which has done much to renew youthful participation in Church life.
In 1953, the future Patriarch became one of the organizers of Syndesmos the worldwide Brotherhood of Orthodox Youth. In 1961 he was ordained Bishop of Palmyra and Patriarchal Vicar, and in the following year, he was sent to the monastery of Balamand as superior and as dean of the Theological Seminary founded, which in 1988 was transformed into an Orthodox University, the first in the Middle East. He has published a series of theological books and numerous articles. His Beatitude is an honorary doctor of Sorbonne and Saint-Petersburg (1981) and Minsk (2003) Theological Academies.
On Friday, November 30, 2012, His All-Holiness presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George for the celebration of the Patronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the occasion of the Feast of St. Andrew, First-Called of the Apostles. Other celebrant hierarchs included Metropolitans Geron Athanasios of Chalcedon, Apostolos of Derkoi, Gennadios of Italy, Chrysostomos of Simi, Apostolos of Militis, Joseph of Proikonnisos, Savas of Pittsburgh, Amphilochios of Kisamos and Selinos, Emmanuel of Kilkis, and Dionisios of Zakynthos.
On Sunday, November 18, 2012, His All-Holiness presided over the ordination of the newly-elected Metropolitan Athenagoras of Kydonion together with Metropolitans Geron Apostolos of Derkoi, Kyrillos of Imvros and Tenedos, Apostolos of Militi, Ireneos of Myriophyton and Peristasis, Emmanuel of France, Andreas of Arkalohori, George of Thebes, and Stephanos of Kallioupolis and Madytos at the Patriarchal Church of St. George. Among those in attendance was His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece. A reception followed at the Patriarchal Hall.
On Monday, November 12, 2012, Grand Homilist Bessarion presided over the Vespers Service on the occasion of the Feast of St. John Chrysostom together with Deacons Paisios and Gregory at the Patriarchal Church of St. George. His All-Holiness was is attendance as well as a number of bishops from Russia and pilgrims from Istanbul and Greece.