Of His Beatitude Theophilos III,
Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine
His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine (known in the world as Elias Giannopoulos, his parents, Panagiotes-Triseugenia) was born in Gargalianes of the County of Triphylia-Messinia, in 1952. He arrived in Jerusalem in July 1964 and enrolled at the School of the Patriarchate, graduating in 1970. On 28 June 1970 he was tonsured a monk, receiving the name Theophilos, by Benedictos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the Great Hall of the Patriarchate.
On 1 July 1970, according to the Synod’s decision, he was ordained Deacon in the Holy Golgotha by His Eminence Archbishop Vasilios of Jordan, and served in the Holy Church of the Resurrection.
Later, he served as the Patriarch’s Deacon. On 1 July 1975, he was ordained Priest at the Holy Golgotha by His Eminence Diodoros, Archbishop of Hierapolis. According to the Synod’s decision (27-02-1975) he was sent to Athens, to pursue higher education at the Theological Faculty. On 21 February 1978 he was bestowed the office of Archimandrite. Having completed his studies, he returned to Jerusalem and was appointed Chief Secretary of the Secretariat of the Patriarchate, as well as Teacher at the Patriarchal School, and Supervisor at the holy monastery of St. Charalambos (12-10-1979). On 02-05-1981 he was elected member of the overseeing committee of the magazine “New Sion”. On 22-12-1981 he was sent to England to pursue post-graduate education at Durham University. Having successfully completed his studies, he returned to Jerusalem and was appointed Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod (12-08-1986), responsible for the Press and Information Office of the Patriarchate, as well as member of the School Board. On 31-10-1986 he was the representative of the Patriarchate to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and took part in the 7th General Assembly of W.C.C. in Canberra, Australia. From 1991 to 1996 he served as Abbot at Kana. In 1997 he was appointed member of the Judicial Committee and in the same year he was sent to Qatar. On 27-09-2000 he was elected to the Holy and Sacred Synod. In September 2001 he was appointed Patriarchal Commissioner in Moscow. In July 2003 he was reappointed person in charge in Qatar. On 08-06-2004 he was appointed to serve as member of the Ecclesiastical Court and in September of the same year as Elder Sacristan of the Holy Church of the Resurrection. On 14-02-2005 he was elected and ordained Archbishop of Tabor. On 9/22-08-2005 he was unanimously elected Patriarch of the ancient Patriarchate of Jerusalem, by the Holy and Sacred Synod. His enthronement took place on 9th /22nd November 2005 at the Holy Church of the Resurrection, in the presence of representatives from all Orthodox Churches, as well as from the Jordanian Government and the Palestinian Authority, and by His Excellency Karolos Papoulias, the President of the Republic of Greece, and the Representative of the Emir of Qatar.
After His enthronement, His Beatitude Theophilos III has been actively involved in the restoration of the smooth operation of the Patriarchate and the improvement in the spiritual life of its Flock, as well as in the proprietary stability of the Holy Shrines. What is more, He made sure to enhance the participation of the Church of Jerusalem in inter-Orthodox and inter-faith proceedings in order to guard both the ecclesiastical order and the Holy Canons of the Church, and to strengthen the international rights and the role of the Church of Jerusalem. Therefore, he took part in the divided Synod on the issue of succession in the throne of the Cypriot Church, at Sambezi, in Geneva, in 2006. In the same month he travelled to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on a Peace Mission. He reconfirmed by His presence the participation of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in the “World Council of Churches” and the “Council of Churches in the Middle East”.
In October 2007, at the invitation by the Government of the U.S.A., he took part in the Washington D.C. “Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land” in order to advance the political reconciliation process in the Holy Land.
Among His many other endeavours, he commissioned the carrying out of approved historical studies and translations on the history of the Church of Jerusalem. He took part as a Lecturer in scientific seminars and conferences in Jerusalem and Greece.
In September 2008, at the invitation of the European Parliament, His Beatitude Theophilos III travelled to Brussels, to present the perspectives and the problems of the Church of the Holy Land to officials of the European Community and the European Council. In October he participated in the Synod of the Primates of all Orthodox Churches at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In 2009 he participated in the “The C-1 World Dialogue” Conference held in London, where he was appointed Vice-President.
In the year 2013 the King of Jordan Abdullah Bin-Al Hussein II offered His Beatitude the honorary distinction of the State of Jordan, in recognition of His contribution to the promotion of the peaceful co-existence of the different religions.
In 2014, during His visit to the Church of Romania, His Beatitude was honoured with the supreme award of the country by the President of Romania.
Also, the University of Bucharest offered His Beatitude the title of Honorary Lecturer.
In September 2014 His Beatitude participated at the Meeting of the International Mixed Commission of the World Council of Churches, on the theological dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman-Catholic Church, which took place in Amman of Jordan.
On the Feast of Pentecost in 2016, His Beatitude participated at the Holy and Great Synod of Orthodoxy in Crete, escorted by Archbishops-members of the Holy and Sacred Synod of our Patriarchate and other Fathers and laity-Counselors.
In August 2016, His Beatitude convened and hosted the 11th plenary session of the Council of Churches in the Middle East in Amman of Jordan, a session that He chaired as the President of the Orthodox Churches family.
On Sunday, September 12/25, 2016, His Beatitude officiated the Service for the Consecration of the Holy Church of St. Ioannis Vladimir in Montenegro, with co-celebrants the Patriarch of Serbia Eirinaios, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and representatives of other Orthodox Churches.
On March 9/22, 2017, He chaired the ceremony for the completion of the restoration and renovation project of the Sacred Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre, by the initiative of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the agreement of the Christian Communities of the Franciscans and the Armenians, under the study and work of the Scientific Team of the Technical University of Athens (T.U.A.). The project was supervised by Professor Antonia Moropoulou and supported by the Architectural Office of the Holy Sepulchre with Dr. Theodosios Mitropoulos.
In July 2017, He participated at the UNAOC Meeting with the topic “The Role of Religious Leaders in Peace-building in the Middle East” which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
In 2017, after the decision of the Israeli Court of Jerusalem which gave effect to illegal and without the approval of the Synod decisions, referring to the property of the Patriarchate in Jaffa Gate, His Beatitude organized a campaign with the aim of sustaining the Status Quo in the Old City of Jerusalem and the peaceful co-existence of its citizens. Within the agenda of this campaign, His Beatitude visited His Majesty the King of Jordan Abdullah II, His All-holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Excellency the President of the State of Israel Rivlin, His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Mr. Nikolaos Kotzias, His Holiness Pope Francis of Rome, the Most Reverend Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostom of Cyprus and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nikolaos Anastasiadis. His Beatitude also referred to this topic at the Meeting of the European Churches in Cyprus and at the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches which was hosted in Amman.
In October 2017 He participated at the “2nd International Conference for the Religious and Cultural Pluralism and the Peaceful Co-Existence in the Middle East”, organized in Athens by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece. In September of the same year, He hosted in Jerusalem as the President of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, the representatives of the National Council of Churches of Christ USA (N.C.C.). In May 2017 (2/22), He welcomed in Jerusalem the President of the U.S.A. Mr. Donald Trump while the latter visited Israel and Jerusalem.
In June 2018 (15/28), He welcomed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre H.H. the Duke of Cambridge Prince William.
In October 2018, His Beatitude participated at the 50th anniversary of the Orthodox Academy of Crete and the 3rd Meeting of its Partners.
In the same month, His Beatitude participated at the “VI Congress of the Leaders of the World and Traditional Religions” in Astana of Kazakhstan.
His Beatitude, the Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, Arabia, and beyond the Jordan River, Kana of Galilee and Holy Sion, Theophilos III.
Date of election: 9th /22nd August 2005
Date of enthronement: 9th /22nd November 2005