Youssef Absi

Youssef Absi
Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch
Native name يوسف عبسي
Church Melkite Greek Catholic Church
See Antioch
Elected June 21, 2017
Predecessor Gregory III Laham
Ordination May 6, 1973
by Maximos V Hakim
Consecration September 2, 2001
by Gregory III Laham
Personal details
Birth name Youssef Absi
Born (1946-06-20) June 20, 1946
Damascus, Syria
Denomination Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Previous post
  • Curial Bishop (2001–2007)
  • patriarchal vicar in the Archdiocese of Damascus (2007–2017)
Alma mater St. Paul Seminary, Harissa; Lebanese University; Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Coat of arms

Youssef Absi, MSP,[1][2] (Arabic: يوسف عبسي; Latin: Iosephus Absi; born June 20, 1946, in Damascus, Syria) is the current patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.[3]

Ecclesiastical career

On May 6, 1973, Youssef Absi was ordained a priest and became chaplain of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul. After the conclusion of philosophical and theological studies at the Major Seminary of St. Paul in Harissa (Lebanon), he obtained a licentiate in philosophy at the Lebanese University, licentiate in theology at the Institute of St Paul in Harissa, and a doctorate in musical science and hymnography at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.[4]

On June 22, 2001, he was appointed titular archbishop of Tarsus of Greek Melkites and curial bishop and auxiliary bishop in the Melkite Patriarchate. Melkite Patriarch of Antioch Gregory III Laham, BS, was his consecrator and the co-consecrators were Archbishop Jean Mansour, SMSP, titular archbishop of Apamea in Syria dei Greco-Melkiti and Archbishop Joseph Kallas, SMSP, Archeparch of Beirut and Jbeil, on September 2, 2001. From 2001 to 2006, he was Superior General of his religious community. He assisted as co-consecrator at the episcopal ordination of Yasser Ayyash, Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia in Jordan. In 2007 he was appointed patriarchal vicar for the archdiocese of Damascus.

Bishop Youssef Absi was elected on June 21, 2017, as the patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. The election of Bishop Absi comes a month after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Gregory III Laham.[5]


Since 2001, Youssef Absi has been president of the Syrian Caritas (Commission Commune de Bienfaisance (CCB))[6] and forwards with three full-time members more than 40 projects in Damascus, Aleppo and Hassake. He composed for the singer Marie Keyrouz "L'Ensemble de la Paix", a hymn that was released on the album Cantiques de l'Orient.[7]

On the Middle East

As a participant in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East in October 2010, Absi gave an address in which he insisted that "The Episcopal Conferences of each country should meet from time to time together. You should allow bi-ritualism, so that no parish remains without divine liturgy, no matter what church it belongs to."[8]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gregory Lahham
Titular Archbishop of Tarsus
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gregory III Laham
Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by
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