Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem

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Theophilus III

Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Israel, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion
Патріарх Єрусалимський Феофіл III.jpeg
ChurchGreek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
InstalledNovember 22, 2005
Term endedIncumbent
Personal details
Birth nameIlias Giannopoulos
Born (1952-04-04) 4 April 1952 (age 68)
Messenia, Greece
Alma materDurham University
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
University of Athens

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem (Greek: Πατριάρχης Ιεροσολύμων Θεόφιλος Γ'; Arabic: غبطة بطريرك المدينة المقدسة اورشليم وسائر أعمال فلسطين كيريوس كيريوس ثيوفيلوس الثالث‎) (born 4 April 1952 – Ilias Giannopoulos, Ηλίας Γιαννόπουλος, إلياس يانوبولوس) is the current Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. He is styled "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine and Israel."[1]

Theophilos (also spelled Theofilos or Theophilus) was elected unanimously on 22 August 2005 by the Holy Synod of Jerusalem as the 141st primate of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem to succeed the deposed Irenaios I. His election was confirmed by the Eastern Orthodox synod of Constantinople, and was endorsed by Jordan on 24 September 2005, as one of the three governments whose endorsement is required.[2] He was enthroned on 22 November 2005, despite Israeli objection. Theophilos had previously petitioned the Israeli government for recognition of the election.[3] The Israeli government officially recognised his election on 16 December 2007.

Theophilos is regarded as having been more favorable to his deposed predecessor, which may assist him in bringing stability to the troubled patriarchate as Irenaios's supporters may thus unite around him and make peace with the synod. Upon his election, Theophilos said, "In the last few months we have had a lot of problems but with the help of God we will overcome them."[4]

Theophilos was formerly the Eastern Orthodox Archbishop of Tabor.


Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem in the Senate of the Republic of Poland (2010).
President George W. Bush listens as Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, speaks during a visit to the Church of Nativity Thursday, January 10, 2008, in Bethlehem.

Theophilos was born Ilias Giannopoulos in Gargalianoi, Messenia, Greece on 4 April 1952 to parents Panagiotes and Triseugenia. In 1964, Ilias moved to Jerusalem.[5]

He served as archdeacon for then-patriarch Benedict I of Jerusalem. From 1991 to 1996, he was a priest in Kafr Kanna in Galilee, which had a predominantly Israeli Arab Christian community, there he also formed a society called "Nour al Masih" ("Light of Christ") to spread the Orthodox Christian faith throughout the region.

Theophilos studied theology at the University of Athens. He went on to complete an MA from Durham University, graduating in 1984 as a member of Castle.[6] He has studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Besides his native Greek, he also speaks English, Arabic and Hebrew.

In 1996, he was one of the first Christian clergymen in centuries to make an opening into the closed Wahhabi Islamic society of Qatar, an area historically[citation needed] under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem where many Palestinian Arab migrant workers live today, a considerable number of them Orthodox Christians. He subsequently served as Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Qatar.

From 2000 to 2003, he was church envoy to the Patriarchate of Moscow but mostly steered clear of Moscow, where the Patriarchate has an established metochion.

Before becoming patriarch, Theophilos served for a short time as the Archbishop of Tabor, consecrated to the episcopacy by Irenaios in February 2005.

He was officially enthroned as Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine[7] on November 22, 2005. Delegates from all of the Orthodox Churches as well as high secular dignitaries were in attendance, including the President of Greece, and senior officials representing the governments of Palestinian National Authority, Jordan and Qatar, as well as diplomats and military officials.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jerusalem Patriarchate". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Jordan issues royal decree endorsing new Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem (journal article)". Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  3. ^ Aleni, Giulio. "HOLY LAND Israel slams swearing-in of Theophilos III as a "serious impropriety" - Asia News". Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2005-08-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Jerusalem Patriarchate". Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  6. ^ "Gazette, 1983/84". Durham University. p. 114. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  7. ^ [1] Archived September 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Aleni, Giulio. "Enthronement of Theophilos III, a new chapter in the relationship between Catholics and Orthodox - Asia News". Retrieved 2015-02-23.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Irenaios I
Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem