The Holy Synod of Antioch Elects a New Metropolitan for the Archdiocese of Tripoli

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Finally, after a long wait, following the repose of Metropolitan Elias Kurban of blessed memory, a new angel was chosen for the diocese of Tripoli, Koura, and their dependencies, on Wednesday, October 6th—the monk Archimandrite Ephrem (Michel) Kyriacos. Was this choice from above or was it the arrangement of people in this world? There is no doubt, and the conscience deeply testifies to this, that the Spirit spoke through the bishops and the Merciful One had favor in kindness on His flock in the diocese of the north and nothing is sweeter! Thus, in joy and thanksgiving we raise up our voice: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “You are great, O Lord, and wondrous in your works!” When the calls that have been lifted up here and there have gone idle, these cannot. The cries of the idle are forever just noise, but these alone are the whisperings of the Holy Spirit rending the veil and to stay in the depth of the Church and the hearts of the servants of God. “For the sake of the cries of the poor, for the sake of the shout of those in pain, I rise up, says the Lord.”

The most important thing that happened is that the Lord God gave us one whom we know. “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”

Archimandrite Touma (Bitar)
Abbot of the Monastery of St. Silouan the Athonite- Douma
October 11, 2009

Final Communiqué from the Recent Meeting of the Holy Synod

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

English Translation from
The Arabic original is here. An unofficial French translation is here.

The 45th regular session of the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch was held in Damascus between October 6th and 8th presided over by His Beatitude patriarch Ignatius IV and with the participation of their eminences the reverend fathers belonging to the Holy Synod of Antioch. Metropolitan Phillip Saliba (North America) was absent.

During this session, the metropolitan who was elected for the archdiocese of Tripoli and Koura, archimandrite Ephrem (Kyriakos), presented himself and was congratulated by the members of the Synod, who congratulated the archdiocese for his selection. Then, welcoming him in the name of the members of the Synod, His Beatitude addressed him and said:

“I know Sayyidna Ephrem in his service and his engagement. He is a brilliant man and a true monk. A monk can live as a monk wherever he wants, but he does not make a monastery of the diocese. The diocese requires a total giving away of the self. This bishop-elect is not a stranger to us. When we met today, I reminded him about when he stood up at the general meeting of the dioceses in 1993 when he spoke words the likes of which are rarely heard. I ask all of your prayers for the wellbeing of this elected brother and for the wellbeing of this archdiocese. His presence among us adds gifts and blessings upon the gifts and blessings in this Synod. I ask the Lord to grant a long life to Sayyidna Ephrem and the future will say and will confirm how the true consecrated ones are.”

The metropolitan-elect responded: “I thank you, Your Beatitude, and I thank Your Eminences the fathers because you have put this trust in my person. I hope to be able to bear this responsibility with the help of the Lord and your prayers. I say that I am weak like every human being, a vessel of clay, and I confess before you that I have loved the Lord and this Church and that I am ready to shed my blood for her.”

The capital of North Lebanon, Tripoli (from the Greek Tripolis, the city divided in three), with its seafront and its ancestral port, is the second largest city in Lebanon. The presence of Greek Orthodox goes back several centuries in this coastal region of Lebanon, bathed in the oriental sun. The “Rum” were deeply rooted in the heart of the city and also in the neighboring regions, that of the Orthodox stronghold of Koura. The diocese of Tripoli’s 91 churches and places of worship is an illustration of the hours of glory of that sociological rootedness. For a long time orthodox families populated the city of Tripoli itself and especially its mythical, half-Orthodox port neighborhood known as “al-Mina”.

The new bishop-elect, Abuna Ephrem, is a man of God, a “chosen one of Christ”, one of the greatest contemporary spiritual figures of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Born in Reshaya, a village along the border between South Lebanon and the Bekaa in Lebanon, he was first off a man of science, an engineer who completed his studies in the late sixties at the Jesuit l'Université Saint Joseph. He even continued his studies by doing specialist work in Paris. After gaining professional experience, he chose the path of theological study on the hills of Balamand at the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Orthodox Theology, study that was completed at the Academy of Theology of Thessoloniki in Greece.

It was in Greece that he discerned his monastic vocation. A monk he wanted to be and a monk he became. He spent several years on the Holy Mountain under the direction of his spiritual father, the Elder Parthenios, abbot of the Monastery of Saint Paul on Athos, who tonsured him a monk and gave him the name Ephrem in honor of that saint of the orient, Saint Ephrem the Syrian. He returned to Lebanon by the express demand of His Beatitude the patriarch Elias IV (predecessor of the current patriarch), who asked him to take charge, during the period of the beginning of the Lebanese war, of the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology. He did this and was dean from 1979 to 1981, at which time he decided to found a monastic community in the village of Baskinta, on Mount Lebanon, a village perched at an altitude of 1200 meters, opposite Lebanon’s mythical mountain chain, Sannine. The monastery, which is in the jurisdiction of the diocese of Mount Lebanon, is under the omphorion of His Eminence metropolitan George Khodr. It is under the protection of the archangel Michael and its church is dedicated to Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Multi-lingual, knowing Arabic, French, Greek, and English, the new metropolitan is a man of great spirituality but also a man of science, in the model of that other great elder named Paisios.


Video from the Ordination


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