Patriarch Theodosius IV Abou Rjeily (1885-1970)

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Theodosius Abou Rjeily was the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East from 1958 to 1970.

He is Najib Spiridon / Salim / Bechara / Saber / Elias / Atallah / Elias / Atallah Abou Rjeily.

He had five siblings: two sisters and two brothers. These included: Maryam (a nun in the Monastrery of Saint Mary in Ashrafieh, Lebanon); Abraxia (married); Georgi and Gebran.

Najib Spiridon was raised in the Orthodox Christian Faith within the church of Antioch. He was born in Arsoun (Metn, Mount Lebanon, Close to Salima village) in 1885. In 1887 his family moved to Ashrafieh in Beirut, Lebanon.

Patriarch Theodosius VI Abou Rjeily Patriarch Theodosius VI Abou Rjeily
Theodosius VI Abou Rjeily, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch
and all the East
Patriarch Theodosius VI Abou Rjeily surrounded by Lebanese immigrants to the USA. To his right, Anthony Bashir, the Metropolitan Archbishop of America. In the back row, the sixth from the left, Mr. William Samuel Bourjaily (1898-1976). Picture taken in 1936


Patriarch Theodosius Abou Rjeily 

Spiridon received his early education at the elementary school " Ecole des Trois Docteurs" in Ashrafieh, Beirut. Then he continued his studies at the Kasibiya school in Damascus, Syria. Later, he joined the theological school at the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Tripoli in north Lebanon.

During the course of his studies, he felt a strong vocation to the monastic way. He moved to Damascus, where he lived in the patriarchal Monastry, under the guidance of Patriarch Meletius II (Doumani), and he continued his studies at the Orthodox Syriac School in Damascus. The patriarch noticed his intelligence and sinserity, and he perceived he nmight eventually become a priest. At an unknown date in Damascus, Patriarch Meletius tonsured Spiridon to be a Monk, and he was given rhe name of Theodosius.

The Monk Theodosius (Abou Rjeily) was then sent to the Balamand Monastery for further formation and education. At the monastery, the Monk Theodosius replaced the cotton mattress in his cell with one stuffed with straw. He showed equal respect to the students and to the teachers. At that time, the seminary of the Balamand Monastery prospered and flourished, and it gave many of its students to the service of the Church. The principal of the school itself at that time and its teachers were secularists. However, amongst his older companions were people who were good examples in true monastic life, such as Antonius Moubayed of Homs, Mikhail Siyoufi of Damascus, and Mikhail Shehada of Kuspa (later of Homs). Due to the good behaviour of the Monk Theodosius, his attention and diligence about his studies, and his continual achievement of high grades, the teachers and students respected him.

His Beatitude was fluent in Arabic, French, Greek and Turkish, and had a working knowledge of English and Russian.

As Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, His Beatitude Theodosius VI had spiritual jurisdiction over 1,500,000 Orthodox Christians located mainly in Syria and Lebanon, with large communities in North, Central and South America, and Australia.