Christianity Knowledge Base
Antioch of Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania
TerritoryAustralia, New Zealand, and All Oceania
- Total

7,525 (Defective Federal Census 2001); 37,490 (2005 internal Archdiocesan census of active congregants)
LanguageArabic, Belarus, Bulgarian, English, Filipino, French, German, Greek (church), Greek (modern), Macedonian, Moldovan, Persian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slavonic (Church), Ukrainian
CalendarRevised Julian and Julian Calendar (depending on parish)
MusicBulgarian, Byzantine, Russian & Znamenny Chant; Russian & Western Choral
Current leadership
BishopMetr. Abp. Paul
Antiochian Archdiocese
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Antiochian - Met Basilios
ROCOR - Met Hilarion
Serbian - Bp Siluan
Romanian - Bp Michael
Without local bishop
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The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania, with headquarters in Sydney, is an archdiocese of the Church of Antioch. Its current primate is His Eminence Paul (Saliba), Metropolitan Archbishop of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania.


See: 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.

In Sydney, Fr Nicholas Shehadie was sent as exarch of the Church of Antioch. Under his rectorship, the first Antiochian Orthodox Church was built and dedicated to St George. After his repose from asthma, a number of priests served as rector and exarch, including the V. Rev. Frs Michael Shehadie, Malatius Hussney, Archim. Anthony Woolf, and the V. Rev. Nicolas Mansour.

In Melbourne, Archimandrite Antonious (Mobayed) was sent for by the Syrian community of Melbourne, and sent by the Patriarch. He was priest of St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, and since he spoke Russian, there was a significant Russian element to St Nicholas. After his repose, three number of priests served as rector: the V. Rev. Frs George Haydar, Gabraeel Fadel and Malatius (Essam) Hussney.

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.


The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese is a single archdiocese spanning a number of countries. The Archbishop resides in Australia, there is a Deanery for New Zealand, and presences in other countries of the region. There are 25 parishes and missions across Australia, 8 parishes and missions in the Deanery of New Zealand, and approximately 37,500 congregants in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania. 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, New Zealand, and All Oceania, 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.



  • Metropolitan Archbishop Paul (Saliba) of Australia, New Zealand and All Oceania.
    • Dean of New Zealand is Archpriest Jack Witbrock.
    • Vicar-General and Dean of the Cathedral is Right Reverend Archimandrite Nabil (Kachab)
    • Dean of Clergy for the Archdiocese is Archpriest George Nasr.

Bishops of Australia, New Zealand and All Oceania[]

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

See also[]

  • Antiochian parishes in Australasia

External links[]