Cyril III Zaim of Antioch

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His Beatitude Constantine Cyril III Zaim of Antioch was Patriarch of the Church of Antioch from 1672 to 1720. He is also known also as Cyril V. [1]


Constantine Zaim was born about 1655 in Aleppo. He was the nephew of Patriarch Macarius III Zaim of Antioch. When his uncle Patr. Macarius III died in 1672, Constantine was elected his successor with the help of the governor of Damascus. On July 2, 1672, Constantine was consecrated a bishop by Bishops Gregory of Bosra, Leonce (Lawandius) of Saidnaya, and two other bishops followed by his enthronement as patriarch during which he took the name Cyril III.

However, the election of Cyril III as patriarch was contested by a number of bishops as well as by Patr. Dositheos of Jerusalem who supported Neophytos of Chios, the nephew of Patr. Euthymius IV of Chios of Antioch. Dositheos considered his election null, noting that Cyril was not of legal age to be appointed a bishop. To support his claim, Neophytos traveled to Constantinople where he obtained a firman from the Ottoman sultan in his favor as well as an appointment as patriarch by Patr. Dionysius IV of Constantinople. These actions split the patriarchate of Antioch into two factions, one of which favored union with Rome and the other not .

During his patriarchate, Patr. Neophytos incurred heavy debts that he was unable to pay bringing about his decision to retire in 1682. This left Cyril III Zaim as the only claimant to being patriarch. But, this situation did not last long.

Athanasius Dabbas, supported by his uncle Michael Khayat and Franciscan monks who had charged Cyril III with simony, claimed the patriarchal throne. In 1685, Michael Khayat, through his influence with the Sublime Porte, obtained a firman from the Ottoman government appointing Athanasius Dabbas Patriarch of Antioch. On July 5,1685, Dabbas was consecrated a bishop and then enthroned patriarch of Antioch with the name Athanasius III.

The two claiming Patriarchs, Cyril III Zaim and Athanasius III Dabbas, engaged in a continuing conflict for next nine years. The dispute ended in October 1694 when the rivals came to an agreement following an arbitration by Salmon, an Aleppian Jew. The agreement specified that Athanasius recognize Cyril as patriarch in exchange of 13,000 Ecus and with an appointment to the See of Aleppo with the right to succeed as patriarch at Cyril's death.

In 1687, Athanasius confessed to the Roman Catholic faith. Also, the Roman Catholic Church, in 1798, considered the agreement of 1694 null and that Athanasius had remained patriarch. In 1716, the reigning Patr. Cyril III Zaim also professed the Roman Catholic faith and was received in communion with Rome on May 9, 1718.

Patr. Cyril III Zaim died in Damascus on January 16, 1720 and was succeeded by Athanasius III Dabbas.


  1. He is known as Cyril V in the patriarchal lists of Michel Le Quien, Korolevski, and Skaff, as Cyril III in the list of Costantius.
Succession box:
Cyril III Zaim of Antioch
Preceded by:
Athanasius III Dabbas
Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by:
Athanasius III Dabbas
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