Paul (Saliba) of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines

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His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Archbishop Paul (Saliba) of Australia and New Zealand (born July 10, 1939; reposed July 1, 2017) was the primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand from 1999 until his 2017 repose.

Early Life

On the tenth of July, Badih Saliba was born in Bsarma El-Koura, in the northern part of Lebanon. Some have speculated on relations with Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) on the basis of their surnames and similar vocation; but aside from being members of the Saliba tribe, well-known in the Levant for over 800 years, they are not especially related.

Tertiary Education

Badih enrolled at Seminary College, Balamand, in 1952 with the support of Metropolitan Abourjeili. Five years later, he was tonsured a monk with the name of Paul and sent to the seminary on Patmos, Greece. A year later, he was ordained a deacon by Metropolitan Abourjeili and went to the University of Athens for further theological studies.

1963 saw Deacon Paul graduate and serve in Tripoli under Metropolitan Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli. Dcn Paul was appointed teacher to Orthodox schools, member of the spiritual court and secretary to the diocesan board. In 1965, Ignatius (Hazim), the superior of Balamand Monastery (later Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch), appointed Dcn Paul as teacher at the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary. The next year, Metropolitan Elias ordained him to the priesthood and, in the same service, elevated him to the dignity of archimandrite.


After two more years, in 1968, Archimandrite Paul left Lebanon for the USA. He was assigned by Metropolitan Philip to St Ellien's Church in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, and enrolled in a Bachelor of World Civilisations programme at Pittsburg University, graduating in 1970, whereupon he began a course in Education. In the same year, Archim. Paul was moved to a church in New Kensington and began a doctorate in World Civilisations. Only three of the four components of the doctorate were completed, but he graduated from his course in Education in 1972.

In 1979, Archim. Paul was moved to Washington, D.C., where, in response to the needs of his flock, he completed an 18 month course as a drug and alcohol counsellor. Archim. Paul began a weekly radio programme in 1989 and a weekly TV programme in 1990. While the radio programme ended in 1995, the TV programme is still running to the present day.

Metropolitan Archbishop

On the fifth of October, 1999, Archimandrite Paul was elected Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania, and was consecrated on the 10th in Damascus, Syria. He arrived in Australia in early December 1999 to lead the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand.

The tenure of Metr. Abp Paul has seen a rapid growth in parishes, clergy and the use of English in the Divine Liturgy of Antiochian Orthodox parishes. From approximately six parishes at his arrival in December 1999, the total at December 2007 stood at 34 parishes or missions and 1 monastery served by 42 clergymen, including two university chaplains and one military chaplain. In 2008, Metr. Abp Paul received into the Archdiocese two denominations in the Philippines, almost doubling the number of parishes (an additional 32) and adding ~6000 adherents to the Orthodox faith - though sadly, one of these two denominations left the Church soon after. It was around this time that the Archdiocese was renamed the 'Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines'.

At the time of his repose, there were 26 parishes, missions and communities in Australia, 5 in New Zealand, and 9 in the Philippines, in addition to one retreat centre ('Antiochian Village') in Goulburn, NSW. Soon after, Patriarch John appointed Archimandrite Basil Kodseie (a priest resident in Australia, having arrived a few years prior) to be the Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese[1].

Succession box:
Paul (Saliba) of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines
Preceded by:
Gibran (Ramlawey)
Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand (Antiochian)
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia,
New Zealand and the Philippines (Antiochian)

Succeeded by:
Archim. Basilios (Kodseie)
Preceded by:
Professor Trevor Batrouney
President of the Melbourne Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies
Succeeded by:
Rev. Fr John D'Alton
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