Theophilos III

Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Israel, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion
ChurchGreek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
InstalledNovember 22, 2005
Personal details
Ilias Giannopoulos

(1952-04-04) 4 April 1952 (age 72)
Alma materUniversity College, Durham
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
University of Athens
SignatureTheophilos III's signature

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem (Greek: Πατριάρχης Ιεροσολύμων Θεόφιλος Γ'; Arabic: غبطة بطريرك المدينة المقدسة اورشليم وسائر أعمال فلسطين كيريوس كيريوس ثيوفيلوس الثالث, romanizedGhabṭat baṭriark almādinat almuqadasat awrishālim wasāyir 'aemal filasṭin kiryus kiryus thiufilus althālith; Hebrew: הפטריארך תיאופילוס השלישי של עיר הקודש ירושלים וכל ישראל; born 4 April 1952) is the current Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem since 2005.[1] He is styled "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine and Israel."[2]

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. His election was confirmed by the Eastern Orthodox synod of Constantinople, and was endorsed by Jordan on 24 September 2005, and subsequently by the Palestinian National Authority, two of the governments ruling lands over his religious jurisdiction.[3] He was enthroned on 22 November 2005, despite initial Israeli objection to the ousting of Irenaios.[4] The Israeli government officially recognised Theophilos' election on 16 December 2007.

Prior to becoming Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos was 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, 10 January 2008, in Bethlehem.

Theophilos was born Ilias Giannopoulos (Ηλίας Γιαννόπουλος, إلياس يانوبولوس) 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 brotherhood called "Nour al Masih" ("Light of Christ"), to spread the Orthodox Christian faith throughout the region; the group is still active and runs a website under the domain

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 also studied at the Hebrew University of 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 go work in the closed Wahhabi Islamic society of Qatar, where many Palestinian 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.

In February 2005, he was consecrated Archbishop of Tabor.[7]

He was officially enthroned as Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine[8] 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.[9]

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."[10]

See also


  1. ^ Jerusalem Patriarchate website, Apostolic Succession section, retrieved 2023-12-05
  2. ^ "Jerusalem Patriarchate". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Jordan issues royal decree endorsing new Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem (journal article)". Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  4. ^ Aleni, Giulio. "HOLY LAND Israel slams swearing-in of Theophilos III as a "serious impropriety" - Asia News". Archived from the original on 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  5. ^ "Jerusalem Patriarchate". Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  6. ^ "Gazette, 1983/84". Durham University. p. 114. Archived from the original on 30 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Abbas backs Jerusalem patriarch". Archived from the original on 2022-10-19. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  8. ^ Jerusalem Patriarchate website Archived September 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Aleni, Giulio. "Enthronement of Theophilos III, a new chapter in the relationship between Catholics and Orthodox - Asia News". Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  10. ^ "Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston". Archived from the original on 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2005-08-23.
Preceded byIrenaios I Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem 2005–present Incumbent