Paul Dabbas was born in Damascus in 1647. His education included studying under the [[Jesuits]]. He entered a monastic life at the [[Holy Lavra of St. Savas (Jerusalem)|Mar Saba monastery]] near Bethlehem where upon his [[tonsure]] he took the name of ''Procopius'' before his ordination to the [[Holy Orders]]. Later, he was appointed [[abbot|superior]] of a [[monastery]] in Bethlehem. Subsequently, he moved to Syria and attempted to obtain an appointment as [[bishop]] of Aleppo, but without success.
Influenced greatly by the Latin presence in the middle east following the crusades, the hierarchy of the Melkite Church of Antioch, as the Orthodox Christians loyal to the Church of Constantinople were known, became unstable for decades during the latter part of the seventeenth century. After the death of Patr. [[Macarius III (Zaim) of Antioch|Macarius III Zaim]] in 1672, the patriarchal throne of Antioch came under dispute. The dispute involved the nephew of Macarius III, Constantine Zaim, who at the age of 20 (or less) was elected patriarch as [[Cyril III Zaim of Antioch|Cyril III Zaim]] and [[
Neophytus of Chios]], the nephew of the previous patriarch, [[Euthymius IV of Chios]], who was appointed patriarch of Antioch by Patr. [[Dionysius IV Muselimes of Constantinople|Dionysius IV of Constantinople]]. This and subsequent disputes led to a separation among the Melkite Orthodox into the present day Orthodox and [[Melkite]] Churches.
In 1682, Neophytus of Chios, because of his debts, decided to retire, leaving Cyril III Zaim as the only claimant. This situation did not last long. The next contender for the patriarchal throne was Paul Dabbas, who was supported by the Franciscan friars who had opposed Cyril Zaim, charging him with simony, and by his maternal uncle Michael Khayat, who was very influential with the Sublime Porte.
[[Category: Patriarchs of Antioch]]
[[Category: Archbishops of Cyprus]]
[[Category: Bishops of Aleppo]]