Macarie al III-lea (Zaim) al Antiohiei

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Preafericitul Macarie al III-lea (Zaim) al Antiohiei, cunoscut și ca Yousef Yuhanna Meletius Macarius III Zaim, a fost Patriarh al Bisericii Antiohiei între anii 1647 și 1672. A fost implicat în reformele Patriarhului Nifon al Moscovei și a călătorit prin Țările Române în anii 1653—1658.


Yousef Zaim was born in Aleppo in Syria the son of the priest Paul. His date of birth is unknown. Yousef was a disciple of Euthymius III Karmah. Before entering the priesthood, he had worked as a weaver and had married. His wife had a son in 1627. Paul Zaim, who became Yousef's secretary and biographer.

After his wife died in 1627, Yousef retired to the Mar Saba Monastery near Bethlehem where he remained until 1634. On October 27, 1635, Yousef was consecrated metropolitan bishop of Aleppo by Patriarch Euthymius IV of Chios. With his consecration he took the name Meletius. Patr. Euthymius IV appointed him catholicos, that is supervisor, of the whole patriarchate.

During his time as Metropolitan of Aleppo Meletius led a period that was bright and rich for the Aleppo Christians. In 1624, he led a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There, he met the Catholicos of Georgia, Zakaria Jorjadze, whom he accompanied to Damascus. In 1647, during persecutions by the governor, he had to flee from Aleppo a number of time.

After the death of Patr. Euthymius IV in 1647, Metr. Meletius was elected Patriarch with the name Macarius III on November 12, 1647 by four metropolitans. After his enthronement Patr. Macarius' first initiative was restoring financial stability to the patriarchate after high Ottoman taxation of the Christians. To accomplish this after having appointed and consecrating a vicar he began visiting the Eastern European countries for help. On February 11, 1652, he set out with his son Paul on a trip through Constantinople, Wallachia, Moldavia, Ukraine, and Russia.

During the trip he spent sixteen months in Moscow as guest of Tsar Alexis, from January 26, 1655 to May 29, 1656. During this time he participated in the religious and liturgical reform movement of Patr. Nikon ongoing at the time, having brought with him the new recension of the Euchologion made by Euthymius II Karmah and other liturgical books of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

He also backed the validity of the Roman Catholic baptisms of the Poles, a suggestion that was approved. Patr. Macarius, however, criticized the atrocities committed by the Polish Catholics against followers of the Orthodox, using as an example the religious peace in the Turkish empire.

After his return to Damascus in 1659, Patr. Macarius was able to settle the debts of the patriarchate, after which he excommunicated the acting patriarch Athanasius Ibn Amish, Metropolitan of Homs. In 1660, Macarius III blessed the Holy Chrism for all the patriarchate for the first time since 1594. He was reserved towards the Latin missionaries in Syria until 1661. After that his attitude changed. He frequently sent his greetings to the Roman pope and kept very good relations with the missionaries.

In 1666, Tsar Alexis invited Patr. Macarius to Moscow to participate in the Synod of 1666 that affirmed the revised religious and liturgical reforms of the Russian Church while anathematizing those of the Old Ritualists who opposed them and the old Russian books and rites. Macarius, was accompanied on the trip by Patr. Paisius of Alexandria. During the trip, Patr. Macarius asked the Polish king John Casimir to work for the union between the Eastern and Western Churches.

Întors în Siria în anul 1672, patriarhul Macarie a murit în Damasc la 12 iunie 1672, probabil otrăvit.

Casetă de succesiune:
Macarie al III-lea (Zaim) al Antiohiei
Precedat de:
Mitropolit de Alep
Urmat de:
Precedat de:
Eftimie IV
Patriarh al Antiohiei
Urmat de: