Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines

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Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand
Jurisdiction Antioch
Diocese type Archdiocese
Founded 1969
Current bishop Metr. Basilios (Kodseie) of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines
See(s) Sydney
Headquarters Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Territory Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines
Liturgical language(s) Arabic, English, Filipino (others as needed)
Musical tradition Byzantine
Calendar Revised Julian (normatively)
Population estimate 43,500 to 123,000
Official website Antiochian Archdiocese

The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, with headquarters in Sydney, is an archdiocese of the Church of Antioch. Since 2017, the Archdiocese has been led by Metropolitan Basilios (Kodseie).


Expanded in: History of Antiochian Orthodoxy in Australasia

The first wave of Syrian (now Lebanese) immigration was in the 1880-1890s, where work was found in hawking and peddling goods in the country areas of the eastern states of Australia. The first places of worship were in Sydney and Melbourne, with a Greek-speaking priest who also spoke Arabic and, sometimes, Russian. The Antiochian Orthodox faithful took part in the construction of both Holy Trinity, Sydney, and Holy Annunciation, Melbourne.

Due to the problems concerning the election of an Arab Patriarch of Antioch in 1899 and the decision of the Church of Constantinople to appropriate jurisdiction of parishes in the diaspora to the Church of Greece with the sole use of Ecclesiastical Greek, these churches were effectively closed off from the Arab Orthodox, aside from the sacraments. However, these faithful would not be denied Orthodoxy in their language and culture, and founded three Antiochian Orthodox churches in Australasia: St George, Sydney (founded by Fr Nicholas Shehadie, exarch); St Nicholas, Melbourne (founded by Archim. Antonious); and St Michael, Dunedin (founded by Hmk Nicholas. These churches, founded in the 1920s and 1930s, continued to be the only Antiochian Orthodox parishes in Australasia through the period of the Exarchate.

In 1969, the Church of Antioch sent Archimandrite Gibran (Ramlawey) to Australia as Patriarchal Exarch to find the best way to solve problems caused by two priests having to serve every Antiochian Orthodox in Australia. On his recommendations, the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand was created, and Archimandrite Gibran was elected as Patriarchal Vicar. Two parishes were created very soon after his arrival - St Nicholas, Punchbowl, NSW was created as a result of Bp Gibran's directive, and St George, Thornbury, Vic. was created as a result of tensions caused by differing waves of immigrants.

The late 1980s saw some growth in parishes. In 1985, a parish was created in Mays Hill, NSW; 1989 saw the first parish committee for a church in Brisbane, Qld. The mid-1990s saw the first instance of growth by group conversion as a result of the Anglican Church of Australia's decision to ordain females, which gave the Diocese four parishes, a monastery and five priests, mostly parish priests who were assigned to pastor the flock that they had guided into Orthodoxy.

In 1999, Bp Gibran reposed. The Holy Synod of Antioch, having raised Australia and New Zealand to an Archdiocese, consecrated Archim. Paul (Saliba), the Antiochian Orthodox parish priest of St. George Church in Washington DC, as the Metropolitan Archbishop of the new Archdiocese. His tenure has seen a rapid growth of parishes, clergy and the use of English in the Divine Liturgy of Antiochian Orthodox parishes.

From ten parishes at his enthronement in late 1999, the total at the end of eight years of Met. Abp Paul's tenure, at the close of 2007, stands at approximately 34 parishes or missions and 1 monastery, including three English-language parishes in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, served by 42 clergymen, including two universities chaplains in Melbourne and the first Orthodox military chaplain in Australia.

In 2008, a "historic moment in the history of...the Archdiocese" occurred, with the Archdiocese accepting a large number of converts in the Philippines (based in Davao and Manila). This event was especially marked by a change in the name of the Archdiocese to include 'Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines'.

In July 2017, Metropolitan Paul reposed. Archimandrite Basilios (Kodseie) was appointed as Patriarchal Vicar before being elected Metropolitan of the Archdiocese on 4 October[1], being subsequently consecrated and enthroned.

This article forms part of the series
Orthodoxy in
Orthodoxy in Australia Timeline
Orthodoxy in New Zealand Timeline
Antiochian Orthodox
Gk Orthodox Archd. of ANZ
GOA Aus - Abp Makarios
Antiochian - Metr. Basilios
ROCOR - Bp George
Serbian - Bp Siluan
Romanian - Bp Michael
GOM NZ - Met Myron

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The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese is a single archdiocese spanning a number of countries. The Archbishop resides in Australia, and there is a Deanery for New Zealand and a Vicariate in the Philippines. There are 23 parishes and missions across Australia, 6 parishes and missions in the Deanery of New Zealand and a number of missions in the Philippines.

The Archdiocese also has one monastery dedicated to St. Michael in Goulburn, NSW (with a chapel dedicated to St. Anna).

Many students of theology have been sponsored by the Archdiocese to study at Balamand University, at St Vladimir's Seminary, USA, or through the St Stephen's Course of Studies in Orthodox Theology via the Antiochian House of Studies.

The Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australasia (as it was then called) was a founding member of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Churches in Australia, and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines is now a part of the Episcopal Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in Oceania that first met in 2010 in response to the Chambesy meeting.





Bishops of Australia and New Zealand

See Also

External links