ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ ܐܦܛܪܘܦܘܬܐ ܦܛܪܝܪܟܝܬܐ

Archdiocese of the Western USA


Patriarchs of Antioch
121-Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, (1980-2014)
The Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I

Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas was born on 21 April, 1933 in the city of Mosul, Iraq and named Sanharib after the father of Mor Behnam. He received his elementary education in the community schools (at our Lady's parish school and then St. Thomas school). Afterwards in 1946 he continued his study at Mor Ephrem theological School of Mosul and there he was given the name Zakai (Zakka). Here he completed his studies with success on the fields of history, philosophy, theology and church-law. He advanced in Syriac, Arabic and English languages, and received degrees in each of these fields. Soon after the graduation he joined the faculty of the seminary.

In 1948 He was ordained as a deacon at the rank of Reader (ܩܪܘܝܐ). In 1953 promoted to the rank of Subdeacon (Afodyaqno) (ܐܦܘܕܝܩܢܐ). In 1954 when he graduated from St. Ephrem Theological Seminary, in the same year he  became a monk. In 1955 he promoted to the rank of Deacon (Evangeloyo) (ܐܘܢܓܠܝܐ), and he was called to the Patriarchate by the then Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem I, one of the most erudite scholars and efficient administrators the church has seen in modern times; to become the second, and later the first, Secretary to the Patriarch.  After the demise of Mor Aphrem, he continued as first Secretary to the new Patriarch, Moran Mor Ignatius Jacob III.  On November 17, 1957, he was ordained a priest by the patriarch, and in 1959 was honored with the Holy Cross in appreciation of his invaluable services. The next year he took diploma in journalism course.   

In 1960, he joined the General Theological College of the Episcopal Church in New York in the United States, where he studied oriental languages, philosophy and pastoral theology and mastered in the English language. In 1962 and 1963 he was delegated by the late Patriarch to attend the two Sessions of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council as an observer.

On November 17, 1963, he was ordained Metropolitan for the Mosul Archbishopric with title 'Mor Severus' by the Patriarch Jacob III. The next year, on September 1, 1964, during the renovation of the Madboho (altar) of the ancient St. Thomas Church at Mosul, Mor Severus discovered the remains of Apostle Mor Thomas in the sanctuary wall. It was the most memorable event in the Episcopal life of the Holy Father.

In 1969, Mor Severus became the Metropolitan of Baghdad & Basra Archdiocese, where he also served as the Head of Syriac Studies and a member of the educational academy.  In the same year he was appointed to the membership of “Academy of Iraq Culture” and to the presidency of “Academy of Syrian Language and Culture”, besides being the Chairman of its Syriac Section and an honorary member of the pro-Oriente Organization in Vienna, Austria.  He has an Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Syriac Literature from Sweden (Institute of Oriental Studies) and Diploma in Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law.  Until 1980 he was a member of Central Committee of the World Church Union representing the Syrian Orthodox Church and later he became one of the presidents of the World Council of Churches.


Rabban Zakka Iwas being consecrated Metropolitan by
Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Jacob III (1963)


Mor Severus Zakka with the Holy Relics
of St. Thomas which he rediscovered in 1964

On July 11, 1980 Mor Severious was unanimously elected by the Holy Synod to the Patriarch position which was vacant after Patriarch Ignatius Jacob III's demise on June 26, 1980.

On September 14, 1980, Mor Severious was enthroned as the 12st Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, by name IGNATIUS ZAKKA I, in a rite officiated by the late lamented Catholicose of the East Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II, along with the archbishops of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.

The two decades of Mor Ignatius Zakka's Patriarchate have been eventful and significant.  For the Patriarchate and the Pontifical seminary he has acquired extensive lands in the suburbs of Damascus.  The apostolic visits to India twice, in 1982 & 2002, and to the various Archdioceses in the Middle East, Americas and Europe have been most successful.  On July 26th 2002, His Holiness ordained Mor Dionysius Thomas, the president of the Episcopal Synod of Indian Church, as the Catholicose of India with the title Mor Baselios Thomas I.

Though the Patriarchate office is situated in Bab Touma, in the city of Damascus, capital of Syria, His Holiness resides at the Mor Ephrem monastery in Ma`arat Saidnaya, near Damascus, Syria.

His Holines rest in eternal life on Friday March 21, 2014, in Germany.

Official Address:
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch
Bab Touma, P.O. Box 22260
Damascus, Syria
Tel: (+963)-11-541-8100, 544-98989
Fax: (+963)-11-541-3100, 595-1880
Telex: OUSSI 411876 SY.

H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas celebrating the Holy Eucharist on 2 April 2000, at the first church of Antioch, established by St. Peter the Apostle in AD 37

Mor Ephrem Seminery at M`arat Saidnaya, Damascus, Syria


Another view of the Monastery & Seminary complex
at M`arat Saidnaya


H.H. the Patriarch celebrating Holy Qurbono at St. Ephrem Seminary,
M`arat Saidnaya (July 2002)


Photos of the third visit of H.H. Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas to India
Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
H.H. the Patriarch with H.B. Catholicos during the Consecration of Holy Moroon at the Marthoma Cheriapally, Kothamangalam (September 25, 2004)
The faithful at the Manarcad church patiently waiting to hear the supreme head of the church, H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas (September 26, 2004)
Another view

Source of photos: //soc.cua.edu & //syriacchristianity.org