Archdiocese News - The report of His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Saliba's visit to Lebanon to attend the Holy Synod [English]


Report of the visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Saliba
and the delegates of the BOT

On our arrival, we met His Beatitude (H.B) John X, at the Patriarchal headquarters. The meeting lasted some one and a half hours. H.B welcomed us very warmly. He embraced His Eminence (H.E), and was very interested in what was happening with our Archdiocese. H.E gave him a full report on the Status of our Church in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. Indeed when H.E presented his report to the Holy Synod, he received acclaims from all present. In fact his report was the only to be applauded by all.

His Beatitude explained that a branch of Balamand University was being planned for the Wadi Elnassra in Syria. They are also planning to build a hospital, He asked us for assistance, and we gladly offered to help. He immediately picked up the phone and called Dr Camille Nasser, the Dean of Medicine as well as Mr Elie Salem, president of Balamand University. Contact will now be made between the Vice Chair of our BOT and Dr Nasser to facilitate this cooperation.

At the Sunday liturgy, H.B had Sayedna Paul next to him. At the homily H.B made numerous references to Australia, and the delegation.

At lunch after the Divine Liturgy, H.B had Sayedna Paul on his right with the Vice Chair and Fouad next to Sayedna. At the end of the luncheon, H.B presented the two delegates with gifts. The only ones receiving those.

On Sunday night, we dined with His Eminence Silouan Moussi, the Argentinian Metropolitan, who will be visiting Australia in July.

On the Monday, we were invited to dinner by the head of the Bank of Beirut, and the next day, we met the President of the Republic, His Excellency General Aoun. Sayedna emphasized the importance of the Lebanese government representatives in Australia ensuring that Lebanese Immigrants especially the youth are kept aware of their origin, and that programs should be instituted to promote this initiative. The president accepted this and informed Sayedna that he would be taking this on board.

The rest of the week was taken up by meetings of the Synod. Sadly, a significant number of our Metropolitan Archbishops are either ill or suffering the effects of advancing age. This is a real issue for the Church, as is the devastation that is happening in our Archdiocese in Syria. It has become now very evident that the prophesy that Sayedna has been articulating is now a reality. That the future of the Antiochian Church lies in Australia and North America.

A Metropolitan was elected to Hama replacing the late Elia Saliba from Kfarsaroune El Koura. Unfortunately with the cramped agenda, Australia’s request for an Axillary bishop was held over to the next Synod meeting. This was also the case for North America who were seeking to have two bishops elected. H.B on at least six occasions assured H.E that such an election will occur at the next Synod meeting in October. He assured Sayedna that it will happen even if Sayedna does not attend.

We left Lebanon and Balamand feeling very very positive. The trip was an outstanding success. We had so many positive comments made by members of the Synod. They congratulated Sayedna and the delegation on many occasions about the success of the Church in Australasia and the Philippines. Many have asked to visit. Certainly H.B would visit once he is able to travel. (He has had eye surgery).

We have now well established lines of communication and cooperation with the Patriarchate and the members of the Holy Synod. On behalf of the BOT, the clergy, and the Antiochians in our Archdiocese, we congratulate H.E for his leadership. We congratulate him on his persistence, and on his tireless work.

Many in our Archdiocese now recognize how much he has achieved in the relatively short time as our shepherd and continues to achieve. Please remember that he travelled for 22 hours there and back within the space of a week. He walked hundreds of yards as we moved from one airport terminal to another. He walked unaided. He sat through 10 hour meetings, and then went out at night to dinners, often not returning home till midnight. The Vice Chair was at his side constantly ensuring that his health was as it should be. Sayedna did not show any signs of distress. He is now back at home and is attending already to his duties of running the affairs of the Church. 

Finally, we express the heartfelt gratitude to Fouad Deiri's in laws, with whom we stayed in Chekka. Balamand is ten minutes up the road, so we were very close. Their hospitality was unbelievable. Not surprising actually, given Fouad’s love and respect for Sayedna and the Church.

In Christ.

From the office of the Archdiocese.
12 June 2017


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