The following video salute to Metropolitan Philip was presented at the 2011 Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, IL, to honor him for his 45 years of episcopal leadership and his 80th birthday. These introductory remarks were made by Fr. Anthony Gabriel:
Your Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Metropolitan Paul, Metropolitan Silouan, the hierarchs of this God protected Archdiocese, Reverend Clergy, esteemed members of the Board of Trustees, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:
I have been honored by Economos Nicholas Dahdal with a request, for which I thank him from the bottom of my heart, as one who journeyed for 45 years with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, to share a few reflections on the life of our Chief Shepherd and Father in Christ. With the business of this convention now completed, it is time to celebrate at this concluding banquet. This evening we joyously commemorate two milestones in the life of our beloved Primate: Saidna Philip’s 45th anniversary to the Holy Episcopacy and his 80th birthday.
Nizar Qabbani once wrote:
I conquer the world with words,
I conquer the Mother Tongue,
Verbs, nouns, syntax.
I sweep away the beginnings of things
and with a new language
that has the music of water, the message of fire
I light the coming age
and stop time in your eyes
and wipe away the line
time from this single moment.
Dearest Saidna these poetic utterances are for you! For “you light the coming age with a new language that has the music of water, the message of fire”.
Since the Metropolitan is allergic to windy speeches or lofty laudations to his life, a video has been prepared that is a kaleidoscope of the journey of Abdallah, which means, the servant of God, who rose to become Philip, A Servant of God, from his youth until his ascendancy to Metropolitan.
We can define the Saliba era into three important periods, as we shall soon see: Early beginnings. Organization and maturation. Dreams and visions fulfilled.
These wonderful pictures speak volumes of a charismatic life that touched the lives of thousands all through his energetic ministry. Throughout the valleys and the peaks of his eagle’s climb to the mountain top, he maintained an equilibrium matched only by his determination to bring Antiochian Orthodoxy into the 21st Century, and in particular this God-protected Archdiocese.
Not only does he incarnate the Gospel of love for the church and the faithful, but his heart beats with the rhythm of poetry as exemplified by the opening quote from Qabbani.
In a moment the lights will be dimmed and let us let us sit back for a moment and view the life and action of the man who shaped the destiny of this Archdiocese from the “grapes from his father’s vineyard”, that he carried to his mentor Patriarch Alexandros, to the Vineyard of our Lord he has so diligently served.
In the words of Khalil Gibran: “Let us today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing”.
So, Saidna, these are a few highlights of your life. May God keep you in the palm of his hands forever!