Memory Eternal! + Metropolitan Paul Saliba of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines

Memory Eternal! Metropolitan Paul Saliba of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines

In the hope of resurrection and eternal life, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and all the East announces the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Paul (Saliba) of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. He fell asleep in the Lord on the morning of July 1, 2017, at the age of 77.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph fondly recalls Metropolitan Paul as a gifted administrator over the decades they knew each other both in the Middle East and North America. Like Sayidna Joseph, Sayidna Paul received whole congregations from different Christian denominations, especially in the Philippines in recent years, into Holy Orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Paul was born in Bsarma El-Koura in North Lebanon on July 10, 1939. Initially he studied at the village school and then completed his primary education at Al Eslah Orthodox School in Amyoun El-Koura. He continued his theological education in Greece.

In Lebanon, then-Deacon Paul served under Metropolitan Theodosius Abourjeili (later Patriarch Theodosius VI) of Tyre and Sidon, and Metropolitan Elias Kurban of Tripoli, both of thrice-blessed memory. As a young clergyman, he served as a teacher in local Orthodox Christian schools as well as Balamand Seminary and Monastery, a member of the spiritual court, and secretary to Tripoli’s archdiocesan board.

In September of 1968, by then a priest, Fr. Paul left Lebanon for the United States. Metropolitan Philip Saliba of thrice-blessed memory assigned him to Saint Ilyan Church in Bransville, Penn., and later to St. George Church in New Kensington, Penn. Fr. Paul served there for nine years during which he restored the attendance of the faithful and strengthened the infrastructure of the Sunday School, choir and youth.

In 1979, Metropolitan Philip appointed Fr. Paul as pastor of St. George Church of Washington, D.C. In his new parish he worked hard to unify the congregation and to arrest desertion from the Church. He made sure that all debts were paid, and revived the church associations. Fr. Paul noticed an alarming increase in the number of alcohol and drug addicts in Washington, and he started a ministry to treat them.

On October 5, 1999, the Holy Synod of Antioch elected Fr. Paul as the new Metropolitan Archbishop for Australia and New Zealand. He was consecrated five days later at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition (al-Mariamieh) in Damascus, Syria. Metropolitan Paul joined his new flock that next month, where he built new churches and reorganized communities for the rest of his life.

Sayidna Joseph has asked the clergy and laity of this Archdiocese to pray the Trisagion Prayers for Metropolitan Paul for the next forty days and to keep him in their personal prayers for the departed. On behalf of the bishops, clergy, Board of Trustees, the organizations and all of the faithful of this Archdiocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph offers to His Beatitude, the Holy Synod of Antioch and the Archdiocese of Australia our love, prayers and condolences.

May God receive Metropolitan Paul in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Source: Antiochian Orthodox  Archdiocese of North America