Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines

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Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand
Jurisdiction Antioch
Diocese type Archdiocese
Founded 1969
Current bishop Metr. Abp. Paul
See(s) Sydney
Headquarters Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Territory Australia and New Zealand
Liturgical language(s) Arabic, Belarus, Bulgarian, English, French, German, Greek (church), Greek (modern), Macedonian, Moldovan, Persian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slavonic (Church), Ukrainian
Musical tradition Bulgarian, Byzantine, Russian & Znamenny Chant; Russian & Western Choral
Calendar Revised Julian and Julian Calendar (depending on parish)
Population estimate 7,525 (Defective Federal Census 2001); 37,490 (2005 internal Archdiocesan census of active congregants); 120,000 adherents (2007 Prime Minister's figures)
Official website Antiochian Archdiocese

The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, with headquarters in Sydney, is an archdiocese of the Church of Antioch. Its current primate is His Eminence Paul (Saliba), Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand.


Full article: History of Antiochian Orthodoxy in Australasia

The first wave of Syrian (now Lebanese) immigration was in the 1880-1890s, where work was found in hawking and peddling goods in the country areas of the eastern states of Australia. The first place of worship was usually in the state capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne, with a Greek speaking priest who also spoke Arabic and sometimes Russian too. The Antiochian Orthodox faithful took part in the construction of both Surry Hills, Sydney, and Holy Annunciation, Melbourne.

Due to the problems concerning the 1899 election of an Arab Patriarch of Antioch, and the decision of the Church of Constantinople to give jurisdiction of diaspora parishes to the Church of Greece with the sole use of Ecclesiastical Greek, Syrian participation in services halted aside from sacraments.

Up until the founding of an Antiochian Orthodox Diocese, there were three Antiochian Orthodox churches in Australasia: St George, Sydney (founding priest: Fr Nicholas Shehadie, exarch); St Nicholas, Melbourne (founding priest: Archim. Antonious); and St Michael, Dunedin (founding priest: Hmk Nicholas (Manovitch) These churches, founded in the 1920s and 1930s, continued to be the only Antiochian Orthodox parishes in Australasia through the period of the Exarchate.

In 1969, the Church of Antioch sent Archimandrite Gibran (Ramlawey) to Australia as Patriarchal Exarch to find the best way to solve problems caused by two priests having to serve every Antiochian Orthodox in Australia. On his recommendations, the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand was created, and Archimandrite Gibran was elected as Patriarchal Vicar.

Two parishes were created very soon after his arrival - St Nicholas, Punchbowl, NSW was created as a result of Bp Gibran's directive, and St George, Thornbury, Vic. was created as a result of tensions caused by differing waves of immigrants.

The late 1980s saw some growth in parishes. In 1985, a parish was created in Mays Hill, NSW; 1989 saw the first parish committee for a church in Brisbane, Qld.

In 1999, Bp Gibran reposed. The Holy Synod of Antioch, having raised Australia and New Zealand to an Archdiocese, consecrated Archim. Paul (Saliba), the Antiochian Orthodox parish priest of St. George Church in Washington DC, as the Metropolitan Archbishop of the new Archdiocese.

Met. Abp. Paul decided to create more churches. He prompted the building of the church of St Paul, Brisbane and created an English-language parish in Sydney. Between his arrival and the end of 2006, there have been 13 new missions and parishes created.

This article forms part of the series
Orthodoxy in
Orthodoxy in Australia Timeline
Orthodoxy in New Zealand Timeline
Antiochian Orthodox
Gk Orthodox Archd. of ANZ
GOA Aus - Abp Makarios
Antiochian - Metr. Basil
ROCOR - Met Hilarion
Serbian - Bp Irinej
Romanian - Bp Michael
GOM NZ - Met Myron

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The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese is a single archdiocese spanning a number of countries. The Archbishop resides in Australia, and there is a Deanery for New Zealand. There are 25 parishes and missions across Australia, 8 parishes and missions in the Deanery of New Zealand, approximately 37,500 active congregants, and approximately 120,000 adherents, in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand. The Archdiocese also has one female monastery of St Anna in Victoria, and founded the multi-jurisdictional Melbourne Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies.

The Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Australasia (as it was then called) was a founding member of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Churches in Australia. The Antiochian Archdiocese says that SCCOCA, after being moribund for quite a number of years, finally became defunct in the year 2000.

The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand, was a founding member of Eastern Hierarchs. The Antiochian Archdiocese believes this is a friendly, effective organisation, working for the love of God spreading throughout the whole mystery of His Church.



Bishops of Australia and New Zealand

  • Bishop Gibran (Ramlawey), Patriarchal Vicar of Australia and New Zealand 1969-1999.
  • Metropolitan Archbishop Paul (Saliba), Primate of Australia and New Zealand, 1999-present.

See also

External links