His Beatitude Moran Mor Ignatius, Ephrem Joseph Yonan, was born at Hassaké, Syria on November 15, 1944 and was ordained a priest on September 12, 1971. He served as director of the Seminary of Charfet for two years, as Director of Catechesis of the diocese of Hassaké for seven years and as pastor of the Church of the Annunciation in Beirut up to 1986.
In 1986 he was sent to the United States to establish missions for the Syrian Catholic faithful. He founded a mission in Newark, New Jersey (Our Lady of Deliverance) and others in North Hollywood (Sacred Heart) in 1991 and in San Diego (Our Mother of Perpetual Help) in 1994.
On November 6, 1995, Pope John Paul II erected the Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance in Newark for all the Syrian Catholics of the United States and Canada, and appointed Ephrem Joseph Yonan as first eparch (bishop). He was thus consecrated bishop on January 7, 1996 by Ignatius Antony II Hayyek and served in the United States until his election as Primate and Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church on January 20, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI granted him ecclesiastical communion on January 22, 2009 in accordance with Canon 76 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
Along with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Yonan served as a co-president of the October 2010 Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in the Vatican.