Father Elias Khoury

The Very Reverend Father Elias Khoury was born on 8 March 1948 in El Mina, Tripoli in Lebanon, the firstborn son (of seven) of Moses and Helen Khoury.  Both Moses and Helen has emigrated to Tripoli from their original birth place of Alexandron, Turkey, in 1938.  At the age of three, Elias began school at the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in El Mina, Tripoli, and at five he attended The Brothers' School (known as 'the Freres'), and at seven he attended a school by the name of 'Tahzibieh' in Tripoli.

At thirteen, Elias received his calling to a life dedicated to God.  Against the will of his mother, he left his parents' home to pursue this, attending clergy school at the Monastery of Balamand in North Lebanon, which was then headed by Bishop Ignatios Hazim (who, today, is the Patriarch of Antioch), from 1962-1968, being tonsured a subdeacon in 1963.

After his graduation, Elias began work in the Archdiocese of Tripoli as secretary to the Archbishop; at the same time, he taught English, History and Geography in various Archdiocesan schools.

On 25 March 1974, Elias and his family arrived in Sydney; their plans to stay for a short period of time before returning to their home country were thwarted by the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War.  Elias took secular employment as a receiving clerk for Outboard Marine Australia, and served at St George Cathedral.  This was where he met his wife, Soumaya Kilzi, whom he married on 2 September 1979.

Elias, upon the 1982 retirement of the parish priest there, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gibran on 28 March 1982 and appointed parish priest of St Nicholas Church, Punchbowl, Sydney.  In the same year, Fr Elias left his secular employment, dedicating his efforts to his new parish which, until 1994, spread to the Blue Mountains.  He was elevated to Archpriest on 25 August 1985.

1994 saw Fr Elias begin working with the NSW Department of Community Services, creating a program called 'Ortho-Care', designed to help those in need by offering financial and spiritual assistance; and Fr Elias also began working with Church Community Housing, an organisation that provides shelter to those who need it.  These programs are still managed by Fr Elias and continue running to this day.

Fr Elias has been continuously serving at St Nicholas since his ordination, celebrating 25 years of the priesthood in 2007.  During this time, he has worked to help his community and serve God by serving His people.  Fr Elias has trained five priests, performed priestly duties, counselled, visited the sick, helped the needy and been available to all who needed help or guidance.
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