Brief History of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran
from His Grace Bishop BASIL:
In the Biblical account of the feast of Pentecost (Acts 2) we read of people from a multitude of nations who heard for the very first time and “everyone in his own language” (2:6) the proclamation by the Holy Apostles of the Good News. Among those people were “Arabians” (2:11) which meant people from Rome’s frontier province of Arabia Petraea (the area of modern Syria south of Damascus, the Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, the Sinai peninsula and the northwestern tip of modern Saudi Arabia).
Much of Decapolis (Matthew 4:25), an area frequently visited by Christ and His disciples, is situated in this Arabia, as is Caesarea Philippi (modern Banyas in Syria) where the Holy Apostle Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-20). It was to this Arabia that, following his baptism in Damascus by St Ananias (9:17 & 18) and his escape over the city’s wall (9:25) that the Holy Apostle Paul fled and spent three years (Galatians 1:15-18). And it was to this Arabia that St. Timon, one of the Seventy Apostles appointed by the Lord Christ (Luke 10:1) and one of the Seven Deacons chosen by the Twelve (Acts 6:5), was sent to preach and later served as first bishop of the province’s capital city of Nova Trajana Bostra (modern Bosra in Syria).
The Orthodox Christians who today live in much of the territory once known as Arabia Petraea – descendants of those converted to faith in Christ Jesus by St. Timon – comprise the faithful of the Archdiocese of Bosra, Hauran, Jabal al-Arab and the Golan. The present “angel of Bosra and successor to St. Timon” is The Most Reverend Metropolitan SABA (Esper). One of the most venerable Archdioceses of our Patriarchate, the Archdiocese of Bosra now finds itself facing very difficult times. Because of the area’s frequent wars, the occupation of much of its territory by a neighboring unfriendly nation, and the resultant unemployment which plagues that desert region, most of its people have become economic refugees who have relocated to Damascus or have simply left the country for the Americas, Australia, Europe or the Gulf States.
In a gesture of Christian love and support for Metropolitan SABA and his flock, the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America has committed itself to a Sister Diocese relationship with the venerable Archdiocese of Bosra, and many of our parishes and missions have come forward to be paired - or “twinned” - with congregations in Metropolitan SABA's Archdiocese in Sister Parish relationships.