and heritage continue to live on especially in designating great
honor to the princes of the church, the bishops of Phoenicia. For
and archbishops occupied the distinguished seats in succession of
ancient apostolic fathers of the
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
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,
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
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
as link to their MP3 audio files.
Archbishop of Beirut,
specifically composed and written for the late Metropolitan Archbishop
of fathers and shepherd of shepherds, Eliya, most virtuously
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
* 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:
the God Almighty keep for many years, his beatitude and
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
* 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.