Tributes to Metropolitan Philip
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, sent to His Beatitude John X
"On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, her episcopate, clergy and laity, I would like to extend to you and to the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Antioch my sincere condolences upon the demise of her outstanding hierarch, His Eminence Philip, Metropolitan of New York and North America.
The services rendered by the late archpastor in the cause of preaching the good news of Christ and his fruitful ministry aimed to assert Orthodoxy in North America are difficult to overestimate.
His Eminence was a friend of the Russian Orthodox Church. I personally knew him for many years and have taken the news of his demise with profound grief."
Flowers were presented by President Dr. Bashar Al-Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic with the words "Peace be upon his soul." Flowers were also presented by the Syrian Arab Republic's Deputy Prime Minister Wallid Al-Moallem.
"From Mount Lebanon and that small mountainous village, Metropolitan Philip carried a deep Faith and trust in God, a great dynamism and a typical sense of courage and pride. He coupled those natural qualities with an extensive education which started in Lebanon, was pursued in London and completed in the United States. He fully invested this great family, and national heritage, alongside his wide, rich and open educational experiences, in the service of the Church. This was reflected in an effective ministry and a tireless life style, and it was incamated in an extraordinary courage, honesty and outspokenness which made his great success in his service to the Church and to his people, and thus his grains of wheat produced sixties and hundreds."
"His Eminence served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Balamand and supported it from its very inception. He raised funds for the University in North America, and continued his predecessor's support to the John of Damascus Institute of Theology. At the University, he endowed the building that now houses major academic activities, and the Center of Cultural and Athletic Activities (including the greenfield) and both carry his name. In addition, he supported on a regular basis a number of students."
"It is with great sadness and much grief that the Faculty, students, and staff of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at Balamand received the news of the repose in the Lord of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Thrice Blessed Memory.
"Metropolitan Philip was a remarkable preacher of Christ in the New World. He was the voice of Orthodoxy in North America. He made the Good News known to all, after being a well-kept secret for many generations. Orthodoxy flourished in America because of Metropolitan Philip's tireless labor and perseverance in shepherding the faithful and in opening the way for the American people to know about the Orthodox Faith. Being well rooted in the Antiochian Heritage, His Eminence used his many talents in the service of the ministry of reconciliation. His theology was incarnational, practical, and looking at the spiritual and financial needs of every human being, not only in his Archdiocese, but also caring for all those in need, all the 'poor' in this world."
"Metropolitan Philip blessed our Foundation and our children by adopting our Mission and honoring our Founder Nadim Shwayri with the Antonian Gold Medal.
Metropolitan Philip welcome with open arms our children with special needs into the heart of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America."
"I write to express my sincere condolences on the passing unto life eternal of Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, respected and beloved among you, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, but also within the whole ecumenical movement.
The late Metropolitan Philip will always be remembered as the Antiochian hierarch who has been a courageous defender of the cause of justice and peace in the Middle East."
HIERARCHS AND INSTITUTIONS IN NORTH AMERICA
Archbishop Demetrios of America, A Message of Condolence on the Passing of Metropolitan Philip from the Assembly of Bishops
Before setting of the sun each day, Metropolitan Philip reflected upon the future wellbeing of his beloved spiritual sons and daughters. Each of you has felt his paternal love in a most personal manner. It was Metropolitan Philip who ordained and enthroned so many of the bishops of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America; he helped educate and ordain countless parish priests; he joined so many of you in holy matrimony and celebrated with you as he baptized your children and grandchildren; he even wept and mourned with you with the passing of your loved ones."
"The passing of the Metropolitan is a deeply felt wound not only for the pious Antiochian Orthodox Christians in North America, but for all Orthodox Christians who have admired his wise and pastoral stewardship during the significant period of his life in the service of Christ's Holy Bride. We are zealously praying to our Lord Jesus Christ that He may give rest in the dwelling of the righteous to the soul of our Brother and Concelebrant with whom we were united by the bonds of love and friendship.
The recently deceased Metropolitan lived in different epochs. His paternal wisdom and numerous virtues, which he gained while sacrificially serving Christ the Savior, adorned the ancient Antiochian Orthodox Church. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, who personified the greatness of Antiochian Orthodoxy, was a real spiritual father for his flock and worked zealously for the sake of the unity and salvation of his flock during years."
"Many among us remember that His Eminence had a wonderful relationship with our Bishops for a very long time, they having worked along-side each other during the period His Eminence led your Archdiocese for over 40 years. It has been a time of continuous growth and renewal for all of you. In addition to the progress witnessed by your Archdiocese, Metropolitan Philip was respected as a dignified churchman of the highest caliber. He was faithful, patient in suffering, and full of faith. He now bears the trophy of life everlasting."
"It was with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing of our dear Metropolitan Philip, your spiritual leader and God-pleasing servant. With fondness and love I remember our meetings and his wise and fatherly advice to myself and all our brother bishops. His decades and decades of service to his people and flock, as well as his efforts in uniting those outside the Church with the beauty and holiness of Orthodoxy, can be likened to very few. We remember with profound gratitude his defense of our own Serbian Orthodox people during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia of the 1990′s. Metropolitan Philip's leadership and energy will be sorely missed by us and many throughout the world."
"It is with deep sadness that we heard about the passing away of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, our brother and concelebrant of the holy mysteries. Metropolitan Philip was a great leader who accomplished a remarkable service in the Orthodox Church on this continent. We all know his devotion to the Church of our Lord, his vision for the unity of the Orthodox Church, his tremendous work in the various fields of the mission of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The whole Orthodox family in America expresses thanksgiving to the Lord for the dedicated service of our father and brother Metropolitan Philip."
"[Metropolitan Philip] was one of the most influential Orthodox Christian leaders in North America in recent memory. He leaves an incredibly important legacy, not only with regard to the Antiochian Archdiocese, but likewise in the area of pan-Orthodox witness—a legacy that spanned the last four decades of the 20th century, well into the 21st. May his memory be eternal, and may the hope we share in the Resurrection be the consolation of his now widowed Archdiocese, and all Orthodox Christian faithful."
"I was deeply saddened spiritually and personally to hear of the passing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. His sudden passing is a great loss for the Antiochian Orthodox Church and for all of Christendom. On behalf of the faithful of the Armenian Church as well as our clergy and lay leadership, please accept heartfelt condolences on the passing of this strong, courageous, and inspiring leader."
"The fruit of his labors can be clearly seen in the strong and vibrant Church he leaves behind: in you yourselves, who are his letters of recommendation (II Cor. 3.1-3). We give thanks to Almighty God for the life of His Eminence, and for blessing this continent with the example of his noble way of life."
"It is with great sadness we heard of the passing of Metropolitan PHILIP, primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Upon our arrival to America to serve as Metropolitan for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in America, we heard of the great contribution Metropolitan Philip had in spreading the Orthodox Christian Faith in North America. He was also a great humanitarian in promoting and working for peace in the Middle East and providing support for those who suffered because of the conflicts."
"Sayidna Philip's long episcopacy leaves behind many achievements, but speaking as a convert priest who entered Orthodoxy through the Antiochian Archdiocese, I believe his simple phrase 'welcome home' to converts, is the greatest of his legacies."
"It is with great sadness that I heard of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip's falling asleep in the Lord. He was an inspirational leader who had a great love for St. Vladimir's Seminary ever since his student days here, and who, besides serving on our Board, inspired us and gave us wise guidance in our recent curriculum reforms. He insisted that all our students were thoroughly prepared in pastoral and practical affairs, as well as academic matters.
"Although he will be greatly missed, we shall remain grateful to God, among other things, for His Eminence's relationship with our school. As a newly arrived priest in America, he studied at Holy Cross. Over the years, expressing his love for the Syro-Byzantine musical tradition, His Eminence sent many seminarians here to study. Furthermore, he gave clergy his blessing to serve at our school and to serve as an Antiochian representative on our Board of Trustees."
"Together with our Orthodox brethren, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry reflects on the legacy of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. He was instrumental in the development and growth of OCPM and has always been close to our hearts."
Chairman, IOCC Board of Directors Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey
The Orthodox community has lost a great spiritual leader and a singular man with the passing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip. Every bone and every breath in His body was dedicated to the life of the Church, and to building unity among our Orthodox Christian family in North America. He inspired all those around Him through words of deep faith and through visionary actions that brought our Orthodox brothers and sisters together with the founding of organizations such as SCOBA and IOCC. Metropolitan Philip was also a beloved friend to my family, and I will sorely miss the warmth and wisdom He shared so freely with me.
"Teen SOYO – the teens of this great archdiocese have taken your challenge seriously. Because of your guidance and leadership the teens strive to live the Orthodox Faith and to plunge into those wonderful depths and bath in the Light, Life and magnificence of the Holy Orthodox Church to which you have led and welcomed your young people.
You have welcomed and challenged your young people to love Christ, His Church and all those around them and across the world – and they have done so.
You have challenged your young people to continuously reach new heights - and they have done so.
You have taught them to dream dreams and to make those dreams a reality - understanding that all things are possible to him who believes in Christ - and they have done so."
"His Eminence's ongoing contributions have sustained campus ministry for decades. His interest in developing innovative programs only to hand them over to OCF evidences his vision for how the Orthodox Church would come together in North America.
Metropolitan Philip's wisdom, spiritual depth, and strength of character allowed him to see beyond the moment and look to what was best for his flock. His conciliatory and unifying approach, first evidenced when he unified the Antiochian Orthodox faithful in North America in 1975, continued through the decades."
"As Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip provided compassionate spiritual leadership. A scholar and dedicated humanitarian, he exemplified the values of the Church through his many charitable deeds and profound commitment to the spiritual wellbeing of the Orthodox Christian Family. I know that his enduring example will continue to guide the Church' s laudable work in Canada for years to come."
I have heard with sadness the passing of His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Philip (Saliba) of New York and all North America of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
His Eminence would be remembered with his devoted and faithful service of 48 years to the Orthodox Community and with his exemplary life of 83 years.
I would like to share my heartfelt condolences and sympathies with you, and through you with the wider Orthodox community. May His Eminence rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Metropolitan Philip Saliba, who led the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in North America for nearly 50 years and who passed from this life on March 19, 2014. Metropolitan Philip was the longest-serving bishop in any branch of Orthodoxy in the United States and leaves behind a tremendous legacy of service to the Orthodox Christian community.
Devon Akmon, director of the Arab American National Museum
As a theologian and historian, Metropolitan Philip was passionate about sharing his Arab heritage with the American people. He worked to establish the Antiochian Heritage and Learning Center in Bolivar, Pennsylvania, which contains important archival collections on the history of Arab Americans. The AANM was especially honored when its Little Syria, NY exhibition was accepted for display at the Center in the summer of 2013.
Orthodox Christian Laity
"As we reflect upon the ministry of Metropolitan Philip who was the senior prelate of Orthodox Hierarchs in America, we thank God for his ministry. He changed the course of Orthodoxy in America. He brought a missionary vision to the Orthodox Church in America. His greatest service was bringing the Evangelical Christians home to Orthodoxy in 1987. He foreshadowed the present efforts to unify the 14 Orthodox groupings in America because of his missionary point of view. He wanted America to be Orthodox, and that can only happen with a unified, canonical, autocephalous Orthodox Church in the United States. Along with Archbishop Iakovos, and progressive laypersons, +Philip organized the first gathering of all the bishops in the United States at Ligonier in 1994 – the beginning of a 'New Era' for Orthodoxy in America."
"On Sunday, March 23, The Very Rev. Joseph Rahal along with the Parish Council and all Parishioners of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Washington D.C., held a Memorial Service for the newly-departed servant, of thrice blessed memory and everlasting repose, our brother and concelebrant, Metropolitan Philip, at which many parishioners and dignitaries from the diplomatic core attended."
"Saliba is credited with building the Antiochian Orthodox Church through his outreach and welcome to all, particularly to Evangelical Christian congregations....Described as a visionary, Saliba was the longest serving bishop in any branch of Orthodoxy in the United States—having been in his role for nearly half a century, since the age of 35."
The Toledo Blade, "Antiochian Orthodox leader recalled as a man with vision"
"The Very Rev. Thomas Begley recalled the metropolitan as a warm and understanding man who was also a good church organizer. 'He was truly a man who had vision,' said Father Thomas, who is dean of the Upper Midwest Deanery of the Diocese of Toledo of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. He is based in West St. Paul, Minn.
The metropolitan was able to inspire people — even for projects that sometimes seemed unlikely.
Decades ago, for instance, the metropolitan started a church camp, Antiochian Village, in what seemed like a middle-of-nowhere spot in western Pennsylvania's borough of Bolivar. Many wondered who would ever go there, Father Thomas said.
But the camp flourished, a tribute to the metropolitan's ability to find donors, send campers, and pick an able director, Father Thomas said."
"Born in Lebanon in 1931, Metropolitan Saliba was an outspoken advocate for Arab Christians but was also assertive in calling on his church to adapt to American ways and welcome converts with no ethnic connection to the Middle Eastern roots of the church. He is credited with helping heal a split in Antiochian Orthodoxy and overseeing a quadrupling of parishes to about 275."
NorthJersey.com: Metropolitan Philip Saliba, 82, Antiochian Orthodox bishop
"He was a giant of a man with an understanding of the task and a vision for the future," said the Rev. Dr. Joseph J. Allen, longtime pastor of St. Anthony Orthodox Church in Bergenfield, who was ordained by Metropolitan Saliba.
Allen said the archdiocese's leader "dared to go where few other Orthodox bishops would go. ... He was an advocate for Orthodox unity, meaning with the Greeks, the Russians, the Serbians. ... He was really a pan-Orthodox champion."
Allen added that Metropolitan Saliba was deeply loved by the flock and "could address the parliaments of the world and the poor widows of the world with complete ease."
Media outlets across the Arabic-speaking world recognized the passing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Read and watch video tributes on our page, Arabic News Sources Commemorate Metropolitan Philip.
Ancient Faith Radio produced several podcasts commemorating the Metropolitan, including:
- First reflections from Fr. Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America just 2 hours after his falling asleep
- Live call-in show, Ancient Faith Today, with Kevin Allen and guests Fr. Wayne Wilson, an ex-bishop of the "Evangelical Orthodox Church" and now Antiochian priest, and Fr. Thomas Zain
- Metropolitan Philip—His Life and Legacy, originally produced in 2009
PERSONAL TRIBUTES AND REMEMBRANCES
"Metropolitan Philip devoted his entire ministry to unity; unity for the Archdiocese; unity for Orthodoxy on this continent, and also for his co-religionists. Only Saidna Philip could bring together various Christian and Muslim leaders to have a consensus to the government regarding the troubled Middle East. It was his expansive charismatic personality that would draw divergent religious leaders in a unity for humanity's sake. This was one dimension of the personality of Metropolitan Philip, which was a part of a beautifully, multi-faceted tapestry, that made him the man that he was.
Therefore, to be true to our much lamented Chief Shepherd, I prayerfully hope that on behalf of his children, all the clergy of this God-protected Archdiocese will pledge with all our might to incarnate this truth which His Eminence so valiantly and brilliantly fought for his entire life: Unity."
"Metropolitan Philip took me under his wings, loved me, guided me, encouraged me and disciplined me. From 1966 until his passing, he was my father confessor. And, seven years after his visit to our family home in Albany, New York, Metropolitan Philip ordained me first a deacon on March 18, 1973, and then a priest on June 17 of the same year. I am grateful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His abundant mercy and love toward us, in that He chose for us a shepherd who knew no boundaries of love, compassion and mercy. He was a father of fathers, a brother of brothers, dedicating his life to serve with dignity and honor, not only the Archdiocese but world Orthodoxy."
"The spiritual children, clergy and laity of our God-protected Archdiocese mourn the death of their beloved spiritual Father who since his consecration, as Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America in 1966, he has played a dynamic role in the lives of his flock and in the planning and executing the infrastructures of the Antiochian Archdiocese in the Western hemisphere. Despite his struggle with his heart conditions, Metropolitan Philip challenged his spiritual children for the past 48 years leaving his landmarks and imprints on many different levels and was instrumental in placing the Antiochian Archdiocese as one of the most organized and leading Archdioceses in the Patriarchate of Antioch."
Metropolitan Philip in the Eyes of Others, by Fr. Ernesto Obregon on OCN's The Sounding blog
"Had it not been for Metropolitan Philip's receiving the Evangelicals, the Antiochians would not have been as open to converts. And, had they not been as open to converts, I may never have become an Orthodox priest.
"So, Metropolitan Philip, I wish you Memory Eternal. Because of you, I was able to become Orthodox. Because of you, my godfather-for-ordination was led into the Church and was later able to lead me into his ministry. Because of you, Orthodoxy in America has changed. Pray for me. Pray for all of us. Intercede for the Church which you have helped to build here in America. We need your prayers."
A Graphical Tribute by Douglas Hamatie: