Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East on Thursday, October 15 2020, gave a farewell sermon in mourning over Professor Habib Lavant, saying:
“With earthly sorrow and hope in the resurrection, we bid farewell today, together with the whole Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, a prolific great scholar, Professor Habib Lavant. Today he left as the great men do, armed with powerful silence and life given in offering as with aromatic incense pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Today we bid farewell to a dear brother and friend with whom I personally had the privilege of being closely acquainted. Today we bid farewell to a man whose heart was passionate for the Church of Christ. Today we bid farewell to a great stature who served the Church of Antioch from its location and was a bridge of communication and affinity with the Church of Greece and the Greek people.
Habib Lavant is a great name, friend, and brother of Balamand, and through it of all Orthodox Antioch. From a young child in the noble Aleppo, he moved or rather was transferred in his early life to Balamand, in the fifties of the last century, by the Bishop of Aleppo at the time, Elias Moawad, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East later. From Balamand and the Institute Theology, from the poverty and simplicity of those days, he left for Patmos in Greece and completed his studies. Then in the early seventies, he returned as a professor of the Greek language with the opening of the Theological Institute in Balamand. He completed his education career at the institute in the 1990s and early 2000s.
All this, and the Church of Antioch, with all that it represents, is rooted in his heart and being. Many who knew this man recognize his great love and gratitude for the Church of Antioch and his attachment to his friendship and thankfulness for the Thrice Blessed Elias IV Moawad, the Bishop of Aleppo and then Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, (1970-1979). He was also faithful to those who accompanied him from among the bishops, especially our brother Bishop Paul Yaziji Metropolitan Aleppo.
Habib Lavant, son of the Church of Antioch and its ambassador to Greece, leaves us today, both as church and people. He leaves us as an elder who knew well the Church of Antioch, its patriarchs, bishops, and priests. It is the son of Aleppo, a habitué and professor at Balamand, a friend and mentor of his students at the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology who leaves us. The father of the Greek language, who brought it into the hearts and instilled it in them with his charming character, leaves us today.
As we bid him farewell on earth today, we pray Christ God to accept him in the heavenly mansions. We console ourselves with the presence of leading figures like Habib Lavant. The Church of Antioch feels grateful and expresses its appreciation. Today, as she offers condolences from his small family, she comforts herself, being his large family, by the privilege of having such a lofty figure, which has marked its career with an indelible impact.”
Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East
Source: Patriarchate of Antioch