Gibran (Ramlawey) of Australia and New Zealand

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His Grace the Most Reverend Bishop Gibran (Ramlawey) of Australia and New Zealand (September 14, 1931 – January 16, 1999) was the Patriarchal Vicar of the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand from 1969-1999.


Early Life and Education

  • 1931 Sep 14 - Gibran Ramlawey born in Tripoli Mina, Lebanon, to Yacoub Ramlawey and Farfoura (née Ishak).
  • 1948 - Gibran graduates from Saint Elias Orthodox College, and is tonsured a monastic under the tutelage of Metropolitan Theodosius of Tripoli. Monk Gibran serves as his personal secretary until 1953.
  • 1954 - Monk Gibran graduates from College of Three Hierarchs in Beirut, with diploma in psychology and philosophy.
  • 1954 - Metropolitan Elia of Beirut ordains him deacon on Pentecost. Hdcn Gibran teaches Arabic, French, Literature and Ethics at Saint Elias College.
  • 1959 - Metrop. Elia ordains Hdcn Gibran priest. Fr Gibran continues to teach.
  • 1962 - Fr Gibran receives graduate diploma in literature from Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

North America

Archim. Gibran also teaches French at Johnstown branch of University of Pittsburgh, and continues postgraduate work at Duquesne University. He also serves as president of Council of Orthodox Clergy of Greater Johnstown.
  • 1966 - Archim. Gibran assigned to St. George Church in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1967 - Archim. Gibran completes coursework for Doctorate in Philosophy at Duquesne University.
  • 1968-69 - Archim. Gibran teaches philosophy at John Carroll University.
  • 1969 Apr - Archim. Gibran elected president of Greater Cleveland Council of Orthodox Clergy.

Patriarchal Vicar of Australasia

  • 1969 Appointed Exarch and dispatched to Australia from USA by Patriarch of Antioch to investigate future needs of the Antiochian Church in Australasia.
Oct 17 - Archim. Gibran elected Patriarchal Vicar by Holy Synod of Antioch for newly created Diocese of Australasia.
  • 1969 Oct 22 - Archim. Gibran notified about election. North American archdiocese asked to consecrate him, which is led by Metropolitan Archbishop Philip Saliba. Bishop Gibran is patriarchal vicar of Australia and New Zealand for the next 30 years.
  • 1998 Northern Autumn - Holy Synod of Antioch nominates Bishop Gibran for elevation to rank of Archbishop but he reposes before appointment.

Administrative problems surrounding repose

Bishop Gibran's death certificate incorrectly records burial at Rookwood Independent Orthodox Lawn Cemetery. Burial was in the bishop's section of the Greek Orthodox Cemetery, Rookwood, Sydney, immediately behind the Greek Orthodox Chapel of St Athanasius.

His headstone records his date of repose as 14 January 1999, however, a coronial inquiry found that he died "on or about 16 January 1999, of ischaemic heart disease".

Subdeacon Hanna says Sayidna Gibran was found on the morning of Saturday 16 January 1999 by himself and Father Elias both of Saint Nicholas Church Punchbowl. Subdeacon Hanna says there was fresh blood on the floor where he hit his head after passing out. Subdeacon Hanna says it was obvious he had died that morning.

Difficulties with name

Bishop Gibran was born in an Arabic speaking country. His name was written in Arabic. There is no standard for translation of Arabic names into the French language or the English language.

Gibran is the English transliteration of the Arabic name. Gabriel is the equivalent English name.

In Australia his surname was usually spelt Ramlawey. This spelling is used on his Australian passport, his NSW death certificate, and his gravestone. His passport and his death certificate are held in the Australian Archdiocesan Archives.

Succession box:
Gibran (Ramlawey) of Australia and New Zealand
Preceded by:
Nicolas Mansour, Exarch
Patriarchal Vicar of Australia and New Zealand
(Antiochian Diocese)

Succeeded by:
Paul (Saliba)
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