His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Saliba (of thrice-blessed memory)

His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Saliba, was born in Bsarma El-Koura in North Lebanon on 10th July 1939. He was named Badih. Initially, he studied at the village school and then completed his primary education at Al Eslah Orthodox School in Amyoun El-Koura. In 1952 Metropolitan Abourjeili enrolled him at the seminary college in Balamand.

In 1957 he took the name Paul and was sent to the seminary on the Greek island of Patmos to learn the Greek language and Byzantine music. In 1958 he was ordained as a deacon by Metropolitan Abourjeili and returned to the University of Athens to further his theological studies.

He stayed in Athens for three years and then moved to Thessalonica for a year, and graduated from that university in 1963. He moved into church ministry in Tripoli, Lebanon, where he served under Metropolitan Elias Kurban who appointed him teacher to the orthodox schools, a member of the spiritual court, and secretary to the diocesan board. In 1965 the superior of Balamand Monastery at the time, who is now the patriarch His Beatitude Ignatius IV, appointed him a teacher at Balamand.

In 1966, in Tripoli, Lebanon, Metropolitan Kurban ordained him priest and at the same service elevated him to the rank of Archimandrite.

He started his ministerial service outside Lebanon in September 1968 when he left Lebanon for the USA. Metropolitan Philip Saliba assigned him to Saint Ilyan’s Church in Bransville, Pennsylvania. There he enrolled at Pittsburg University from which he graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of World Civilisations. After this, he took a course in Education and graduated in 1972.

During this period, Metropolitan Philip moved him to the Church in New Kensington which was experiencing some difficulties. He served there for 9 years during which he restored the attendance of the faithful and strengthened the infrastructure: Sunday School, Choir and Youth. In the first years of his ministry in New Kensington, Father Paul registered in Pittsburg University to do his Doctorate in World Civilisations. He completed three out of the four components of this course.

He also served as Dean of the Clergy and a counsellor to the Ladies’ Association.

In 1979 Metropolitan Philip appointed him Parish Priest of Washington DC. In his new parish, he worked hard to unify the congregation and to arrest desertion from the Church. He made sure that all debts were paid, and revived the church associations. Father Paul noticed an alarming increase in the number of alcohol and drug addicts in Washington. So he joined a special school to learn how to help those who have this social problem. After a year and a half, he qualified for the task. He proceeded to care for members of his parish and for other Orthodox Christians in the area who were addicts.

In 1989, the Right Reverend Archimandrite Paul Saliba started broadcasting a weekly program on radio, which lasted six years. In 1990 he initiated a weekly TV program which is still going to this day. His parish in Washington DC commenced a three million dollar building project to expand the Church facilities on different levels.

On 5th October 1999, the Holy Synod of Antioch elected the Right Reverend Archimandrite Paul Saliba as the new Metropolitan Archbishop for Australia and New Zealand. He was consecrated on 10th October 1999 in Saint Mary’s Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus, Syria, and arrived in Australia on 29 November 1999.