Archdiocese of Byblos and Botris (Mount Lebanon)
The Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of Byblos and Botris (Mount Lebanon) is one of the nineteen archdioceses of the Church of Antioch. The archdiocese traces its establishment to apostolic times when both Byblos and Botris were separate dioceses.
Traditionally, the Evangelist Mark is considered to have been the first Bishop of Byblos and St. Silas (Silouan) the first Bishop of Botris, both assigned to their sees by the Apostle Peter. During the early centuries the two dioceses were under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese of Tyre. This situation was challenged by the bishop of Beirut, who claimed jurisdiction. The issue was reconciled at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, in 451, which gave jurisdiction over the two dioceses to the archdiocese of Tyre.
During the following centuries the Orthodox population in the area of the present archdiocese increased periodically as the result of turmoil caused by wars in the Eastern Roman empire, the Crusades, and invasions by Mamluks. These demographic changes contributed eventually to the Mount Lebanon area coming under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Beirut and All Lebanon.
After 1861, a wave of massacres in Damascus caused Christians to migrate from Syria into Lebanon, greatly increasing the Orthodox presence in the Mount Lebanon area. A consequence of the immigrations was that pastoral management in the Archdiocese of Beirut became difficult. Noticing the deterioration in parish and pastoral life some of the faithful founded the ‘Organization of St Paul’ to help these parishes. In 1889, at a gathering of the organization, a demand originated for reforming the parishes in the Mount Lebanon area into a diocese separate from the large Archdiocese of Beirut.
The next move toward a separate archdiocese for Mount Lebanon occurred when a request was made to the Holy Synod of the Antiochian patriarchate after the repose of Metropolitan Gabriel (Shatila). In November 1901, Holy Synod separated the Mount Lebanon area from the Archdiocese of Beirut and formed the Archdiocese of Byblos and Botris (Mount Lebanon). Archimandrite Paul (Abou Adal) was elected archbishop of the new archdiocese.
- Paul (Abou Adal) 1901 to 1929
- Elyia (Karam) 1929 to 1969
- George (Khodr) 1970 to Present