His Eminence Philip (Saliba) of New York, Metropolitan of New York and All North America (born June 10, 1931), is the current primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (1966 to present).
Early years: The Middle East and UK
Philip was born Abdullah Saliba in the small village of Abou Mizan in Lebanon. In 1945, at the age of 14, he went to seminary at the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tripoli, Lebanon, where he met his nearly lifelong friend, known today as His Grace, Bishop Antoun (Khoury) of Miami. He finished his schooling there in 1947, going to to further his studies at the Orthodox Secondary School in Homs, Syria (1947-1949).
He was ordained a deacon on August 6, 1949, and appointed Secretary (1949-1953) to Patriarch Alexander III (Tahan) of Antioch, while continuing his studies at Assiyah College, Damascus, Syria (1949-1951). During his service as Patriarchal Secretary, he returned to Balamand Seminary and served as Dean of Students and Lecturer in Arabic Language and Literature (1952), eventually going to England and and pursuing further studies at Kelham Theological School, Nottinghamshire, UK (1953) and the University of London (1953).
Coming to America
Dcn. Philip then came to the country where he would embark upon his life's work—the United States. At first, he continued his theological studies at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts (1956), but left in 1956 to earn a B.A. in History at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan (1956-1959), serving at nearby St. George Church (also in Detroit) as a deacon.
In 1959, he was ordained to the holy priesthood on March 1 by Metropolitan Antony (Bashir) of New York and appointed to pastor St. George Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served from 1959 to 1964. He then went on to complete his theological education at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, earning the M.Div. degree in 1965.
In 1966, while still a priest, he was elected to serve as primate of the Church of Antioch's North American archdiocese. In June of that year, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Metropolitan Elias (Kurban) of Tripoli. On August 14, 1966, he was consecrated to the sacred episcopacy and made an archbishop at St. Elias Monastery in Lebanon, performed by Patriarch Theodosius VI of Antioch. His enthronement as Metropolitan of New York was held in New York on October 13 of that year.
Achievements as Metropolitan
During his tenure as metropolitan, His Eminence has made multiple major achievements for his flock, including the founding of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America (1973), the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch (1975), and the St. Stephen's Course of Theological Studies (1980). In 1978, he purchased the land for and founded the Antiochian Village retreat center and summer camp, where the Antiochian House of Studies program (founded 1992) is held. One of his most famous acts was the reception of the majority of the Evangelical Orthodox Church in 1987, renaming them the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission.
In 1975, Metropolitan Philip led the healing of the division between the two Antiochian archdioceses in America. With Metropolitan Michael (Shaheen) of Toledo, he combined the Archdioceses of New York and Toledo into a single archdiocese, becoming its primate while Archbishop Michael retired as an auxiliary archbishop.
For nearly 40 years, Metropolitan Philip has led the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, more than tripling the size of the archdiocese from about 65 parishes to around 250 parishes and missions today.
- Christmas Encyclical 1966
- Christmas Encyclical 1970
- Paschal Meditation 1971
- Christmas Encyclical 1973
- Archpastoral Directive regarding the Ben Lomond Crisis (February 1998)
- Statement on Kosovo
Books about Metropolitan Philip
- Metropolitan Philip: His Life and Dreams - The Authorized Biography of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip Saliba by Peter E. Gillquist (Thomas Nelson, 1991 - ISBN 0840775881)
- Feed My Sheep: The Thought and Words of Philip Saliba - On the Occasion of His Twentieth Year in the Episcopacy by Joseph J. Allen (SVS Press, 1997 - ISBN 0881410667)
- The First One Hundred Years: A Centennial Anthology Celebrating Antiochian Orthodoxy in North America by George S. Corey (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, 1995 - ISBN 0962419028)