Ignatius Jacob III

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Ignatius Yaq'ub III Bartella

121st Patriarch of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church
Yacoub III (1979).jpg
Native name
ܡܪܢ ܡܪܝ ܐܝܓܢܛܝܘܣ ܝܥܩܘܒ ܬܠܝܬܝܐ[citation needed]
ChurchSyriac Orthodox Church
SeeApostolic see of Antioch (and all the east)
In office1957-1980
PredecessorIgnatius Afram I Barsoum
SuccessorIgnatius Zakka I Iwas
Ordinationby Ignatius Elias III
Consecration12 October 1950 (as bishop)
28 October 1957(as Patriarch)
Personal details
Born12 October 1913
Bartella, Ottoman Empire
Died26 June 1980 (1980-06-27) (aged 66)
Damascus, Syria
BuriedSt. George's Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus, Syria
DenominationSyriac Christianity
Previous postPatriarchal Vicar of Beirut and Damascus

Moran Mor Ignatius Jacob (Yaʿqub) III (October 12, 1913 – June 26, 1980) was the 121st Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church. He was skilled in and knowledgeable in Syriac sacral music or Beth Gazo. He re-established the Maphrianate/Catholicate in the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (the Indian Church).


Mor Ignatius Yaʿqub III was born on October 12, 1913, in the Touma Mari family of Bartalla village in Iraq.


He was ordained deacon by Patriarch Ignatius Elias III and priest by Patriarch Ignatius Afram I Barsoum. He visited the Syriac Orthodox Church in Kerala, India, in 1933 as Rabban ʿAbdel Ahad where he served as a malphono (teacher) at the Mor Ignatios Dayro. In 1946, he returned to the Middle East to teach at the Mor Ephrem Seminary in Mosul and was ordained Metropolitan of Beirut and Damascus in 1950. In 1957, he was consecrated Patriarch after Patriarch Ignatius Afram I Barsoum died.

Church in India[edit]

Patriarch Yaʿqub worked actively for cooperation among the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the reconciliation of the Church in India. In 1964, he visited Malankara and consecrated Augen Timotheous as Catholicos to establish peace in the church.


Patriarch Yaʿqub wrote at least thirty books about the history of the Church, spirituality and liturgy including a History of the Church until the 6th century, a History of the Syrian Church in India, a comparative study of Syriac and Arabic languages, and Personageaphies of Ephrem the Syrian, Philoxenus of Mabbug, and Yaʿqub of Serugh. Students of the church consider his lecture as an authoritative on the Syrian Orthodox Church at the University of Göttingen in 1971.

Syriac music[edit]

Patriarch Yaʿqub was skilled in and knowledgeable about Syriac music. He was endowed with a sharp memory that enabled him to memorize over 700 melodies of the Beth Gazo including variants (Shuhlophe). He had a voice of a "nightingale" as Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas tells us. He learned the Beth Gazo from another master of Syriac music, Mor Yulios Elias Qoro, then Patriarchal Delegate in India.

He was familiar with his native school of music in Iraq (the School of Takrit) as well as the more popular School of Mardin. During a five-month visit to the United States (from March 11 - August 15, 1960), Yaʿqub, at the request of Metropolitan Mor Athanasius Yeshuʿ Samuel, the archbishop of the United States and Canada, recorded the Beth Gazo according to the School of Mardin. This recording serves as the authoritative reference to the musical tradition of the School of Mardin. Patriarch Yaʿqub is remembered for his spiritually uplifting celebration of the liturgy. He encouraged many to accept the simple way of life. After he consecrated sacred myron in the Mor Gabriel monastery in 1964, myron flowed from the glass container the following day and people were healed by it.


Patriarch Yaʿqub died on June 26, 1980 and was buried in Saint George's Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus, Syria.

Preceded by
Ignatius Aphrem I
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by
Ignatius Zakka I

See also[edit]


External links[edit]