Ignatius Jacob III

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His Holiness Moran Mor
Ignatius Yaq'ub III Bartella
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and Supreme Leader of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church
Yacoub III (1979).jpg
Native name اغناطيوس يعقوب الثالث
Church Syriac Orthodox Church
See Apostolic see of Antioch (and all the east)
In office 1957-1980
Predecessor Ignatius Afram I Barsoum
Successor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Ordination by Ignatius Elias III
Consecration 12 October 1950 (as bishop)
28 October 1957(as Patriarch)
Personal details
Born 12 October 1913
Bartella, Iraq
Died 26 June 1980 (1980-06-27) (aged 66)
Damascus, Syria
Buried St. George's Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus, Syria
Denomination Syriac Christianity
Previous post Patriarchal 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. However, this peace lasted only for a few years as the Patriarch, in a letter, denied the high priesthood of St. Thomas the Apostle, which angered Augen Catholicos and his supporters in India. This led to widespread protests and riots as the supporters of the factions supporting the Catholicos and Patriarch clashed. Finally, the Patriarch and Catholicos excommunicated each other and the Patriarch ordained a rival Catholicos for his supporters, thus, the split in the Church of India became complete.[1]


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 Goettingen 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 Afram I Barsoum
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by
Ignatius Zakka I Iwas

See also[edit]


External links[edit]