Metropolitan Archbishops of Phoenicia Maritima, Honorary Titles
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During ceremonial Holy Liturgy, chants honoring Lebanese Orthodox bishops and archbishops continue to be recited to this day proclaiming them "Metropolitan Archbishops of Phoenicia Maritima --
ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΟΣ ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΦΕΝΙΚΙΑ ΜΑΡΙΤΙΜΑ -- متروبوليت فينيقيا الساحلية "

Translations of the text and MP3 audio files of chants are below.

Short Introduction

Phoenician history and heritage continue to live on especially in designating great honor to the princes of the church, the bishops of Phoenicia. For centuries, these bishops and archbishops occupied the distinguished seats in succession of ancient apostolic fathers of the Church.

The Phoenician Church is one of the most ancient or the original churches which came into being during the Apostolic Age. Early Church Fathers and scholars left written accounts of the valiant spirit which early Phoenician Christians maintained in their new faith. At the beginning of Christ's ministry, and later during the beginning of Apostolic evangelization, the new faith was reserved for the Jews. Nevertheless, Phoenicians of all walks of life accepted the new faith and the Church recognized them as valid Christians particular after the first council of Jerusalem. (see extensive article in this site "Phoenician Christians" link).

Among the earliest records which indicate that Bishops of Phoenicia where consecrated very early in the Christian era is one by Pope St. Clement I (88-89 A.D.) disciple of St Peter. He indicated that St. Peter appointed John Mark Bishop of Byblos and also designated a Bishop for Berytus (Beirut).

Although the Christian communities in Phoenician cities, during the first 3 centuries of the Christian Era, paganism remained preponderant until Constantine the Great (306-337 A.D.). During these 3 centuries, the Christian Church became radiant with many saints and martyrs such as Perpetua and Felicity (203 A.D.), Christina of Tyre (martyred in 300 A.D.), Theodosia of Tyre, Aquilina of Byblos (martyred in 293 A.D.), Barbara of Baalbeck Heliopolis (martyred in 237 A.D.), Saint Frumentius, Apostle of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Saint Pamphilus. Further, two Church Councils were held in Tyre in 449 & 515 AD. Also, there were a number of Phoenician popes early in church history. The "Phoenician Christians" links goes into details about this.

Byzantine Psaltica Chants

During ceremonial Holy Liturgy, chants honoring Lebanese bishops and archbishops, the Polychronion, continue to be recited to this day proclaiming them "Metropolitan Archbishops of Phoenicia Maritima and/or Phoenicia Libanesis."

Following are translations of the text of two of these Byzantine chants, as well as link to their MP3 audio files.

Archbishop of Beirut, specifically composed and written for the late Metropolitan Archbishop Eliya Saleebi:

"Father of fathers and shepherd of shepherds, Eliya, most virtuously righteous and most honorable, who is appointed by God as bishop of Beirut and its suburbs. He who is most revered in graciousness and who is most preeminent in leadership, Metropolitan of Phoenicia Maritima. Our father and archbishop, may his years be many." (performed with difficulty by the author* of this site) (MP3 file Beirut)

* I used to hear this chant when I went to Holy Liturgy at the Orthodox Monastery in my hometown when archbishop Eliya Saleebi was the celebrant. I am not absolutely sure of the right words but I believe I got the hymnology as close to the original as I can remember.

Archbishop of Tripoli and El-Koura, specifically composed and written for the Metropolitan Archbishop Elias Korban:

"May Lord the God Almighty keep for many years, his beatitude and most revered graciousness, Metropolitan of Tripoli and all of Phoenicia Maritima, our father and our master, Kyrios Elias. God keep for many years." (performed by Protopsalt Demitri Coteyya*) (MP3 file, Tripoli)

* Protopsalt Demitri Coteyya is from El-Mina, Tripoli, Lebanon, and leads the St. George choir there. This information was provided by kind courtesy of Mr. Ziad Salim Yazbek.

Metropolitan Archbishop of Homs (Emsa) and all of Phoenicia Libanesis

I do not have the text and/or sound file of the Polykhronon of this bishop. I am indebted, in a very peculiar way, to Antoine Courban who wrote to me about this. His message was anything but cordial. It can be best described as cynical and malicious with implied rudeness, condescension and outright arrogance, to say the least. Having said this, he inadvertently, though ignominiously and obtusely, alerted me to this important bit of information that I had forgotten.

Because I did learn from him, he proved what Cato the Elder said: "Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise." He was not satisfied to write once and receive my answer but he continues to write proving a quote from Plato "Fools talk because they have to say something."

* Search for the words and sound file are underway and will be published when available.

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