His Grace, Bishop Gibran Ramlawey (of thrice blessed memory)


The Right Reverend Gibran Ramlawey was born on 14 September 1931 in Tripoli Mina, Lebanon, to Yacoub and Farfoura (nee Ishak) Ramlawey. In 1948, he graduated from St Elias Orthodox College and was tonsured under the tutelage of Metropolitan Theodosius of Tripoli. Br Gibran served as his personal secretary until 1953.

In 1954, Br Gibran graduated from the College of the Three Holy Hierarchs, Beirut, with a diploma in psychology and philosophy. In the same year, he is ordained deacon on Pentecost by Metropolitan Elia of Beirut. Dcn Gibran teaches Arabic, French, Literature and Ethics at his alma mater, St Elias College. In 1959, he is ordained to the priesthood, continuing to teach at the college.

In 1962, Fr Gibran received a graduate diploma in literature from St Joseph University, Beirut. At this point, Metropolitan Anthony Bashir of New York asks Fr Gibran to serve in North America. On arrival, he is assigned to St Nicholas Church in Montreal, Canada. Elevated to Archimandrite, he was then transferred in 1963 to St Mary’s Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, continuing his theological and academic studies and graduating in 1964 from a Bachelor of Theology from Christ the Savior Seminary, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he begins to teach Logic and Ethics, and at the Johnstown branch of the University of Pittsburgh, he teaches French. He continues postgraduate work at Duquesne University and serves as president of the Council of Orthodox Clergy of Greater Johnstown.

In 1966, Archimandrite Gibran was assigned to St George Church in Cleveland, Ohio; in 1967, he then completed the coursework for a Doctorate in Philosophy at Duquesne University. Subsequently, in 1968-69, he teaches philosophy at John Carroll University; in April of 1969, he was made the president of the Greater Cleveland Council of Orthodox Clergy.

This appointment was not to last long. In 1969, he was sent to Australia as the Patriarchal Exarch to study the problems in the Antiochian church in Australia and New Zealand and to make recommendations for their resolution. On 17th October of that year, the Holy Synod created the Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, electing Archimandrite Gibran as Patriarchal Vicar. Notified on the 22nd, he returns to America for his consecration before coming back to his post in Australia. He would continue to serve as Patriarchal Vicar for the next 30 years.

In Autumn 1998, the Holy Synod of Antioch nominates Bishop Gibran for elevation to Archbishop; however, before this is able to take place, Bishop Gibran reposed on January 16 of ischaemic heart disease. After his funeral, he was buried in the bishops section of the Greek Orthodox Cemetery in Rookwood, immediately behind the Chapel of St Athanasios.

Following his repose, the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese and in Autumn 1999, Archimandrite Paul Saliba, the parish priest in Washington DC, USA, was elected as archbishop to head the Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand.