Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli

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His Eminence, Metropolitan Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli was the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Tripoli and al-Koura of the Church of Antioch from 1962 until 2009.


Elias Kurban was born in 1926 in Ein al-Sindyaneh, Dahour al-Shoueir, Lebanon. His father died when he was a child. His education, at an early age, began at the Monastery of St. Elias of Showaia. He then attended the Balamand Seminary at the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand near Tripoli, Lebanon before enrolling at the Asiya Orthodox School in Damascus, Syria from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1946, he was ordained a deacon by Patriarch Alexander Tahan in the Church of the Cross in Damascus at which he continued to serve until 1948. In 1949, Dcn. Elias moved to Beirut, Lebanon to attend the American University in Beirut while continuing to serve as a deacon under the omophorion of Metropolitan Elia (Saleeby).

After graduating from the university and receiving both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in history, Elias, in 1954, moved to the United States of America where he enrolled in St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, New York, from which he received a degree in theology. In the meantime, he also served as a deacon at the Antiochian Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, New York.

After his graduation from St. Vladimir's Seminary, Dcn. Elias was ordained in 1957 to the priesthood by Metr. Antony Bashir. Following his ordination Fr. Elias was assigned to St. George parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America in Boston, Massachusetts, where he served for five years.

On February 10, 1962, Fr. Elias was elected by the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch as metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Tripoli, al-Koura, and their dependencies. On March 18, 1962, Fr. Elias was consecrated to the see of Tripoli by Patriarch Theodosios (Abourjaily) VI.

Metr. Elias was active throughout his metropolitanate. In addition to his written works, he led a material and spiritual renaissance in the archdiocese that included the establishment or renovation of many parishes, schools, technical institutes, charitable institutes, centers for the mentally disabled, homes for the elderly, health centers, and a school of church music. After the destructive events in Tripoli in 1985, he had a new metropolitan complex built in Tripoli after the old complex was destroyed and burned and also the construction of many new churches and parish halls in each parish of the archdiocese.

Metropolitan Elias reposed on July 30, 2009. His funeral was held on August 2, 2009.


Among his published works are a number of books including “The Orthodox Patriarchal Crisis: 1890-1900” and a series of booklets about the Church’s Holy Mysteries.