October 2009

On Sunday, September 20th, a †Trisagion Service was offered for Metropolitan +ILYAS Kurban at St. George, Norwood, Metropolitan PHILIP presiding.

His Eminence Metropolitan +ILYAS Kurban, Metropolitan of Tripoli and Al-Koura and its dependent territories fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday 30 July 2009.  The cause of death was a heart attack. He was the senior member of the Holy Synod of Antioch. 

Metropolitan +ILYAS was born in 1926, in Ein Al- Sendianeh-Dohour Al- Shwear, Lebanon. In 1946 he was ordained a deacon by Metropolitan Aleksandrous Tahan in Al-Saleeb church in Damascus, where he served at until 1948. In 1949, he went to Beirut and served as a deacon in the Cathedral church. He also studied at the American University and graduated with a B.A. and a Diploma in History.

In 1954, he arrived in the United States and served as a deacon at Saint Nicholas's Cathedral in Brooklyn. At the same time, he enrolled at Saint Vladimir Orthodox Seminary and graduated in 1957 with a degree in theology.

In 1957, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony Bashir ordained him a priest for St. George Orthodox Church of Boston where he served for 5 years. On 10 Feb. 1962, the Holy Synod of Antioch elected Archimandrite Ilyas as bishop for the Archdiocese of Tripoli and Al-koura and its dependent territories. He was consecrated by Patriarch Theodosius VI on 18 Mar.1962. He served as the Metropolitan of Tripoli until the end of his life.

As a scholar and gifted writer, Metropolitan +ILYAS was a regular contributor to Orthodox journals, magazines and newspapers. His historic study of the Antiochian Patriarchate is entitled "The Orthodox Patriarchate Crisis: 1890-1900". He also authored a series of books on the Holy Sacraments of the Orthodox Church.

During his tenure as Metropolitan, the Archdiocese witnessed an era of profound spiritual and temporal growth.  Under the leadership of Metropolitan +ILYAS, the Archdiocese opened new parochial schools and technical institutes.  The Charity Institutions of the Archdiocese were expanded to include new residence programs for the mentally disabled and the elderly.  The Church established health clinics and counseling centers.  As an accomplished musician, Metropolitan +ILYAS [known as the nightingale of Antioch because of his melodious voice] established the School of Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music in Tripoli to educate chanters, choirs and clergy. 

Following the painful events of the Lebanese Civil War during which the Archdiocese Headquarters was destroyed by fire, Metropolitan +ILYAS successfully undertook the reconstruction of his Archdiocesan facilities in Tripoli. As Metropolitan, he also established several new parishes and pastoral centers throughout the Archdiocese.

His funeral was served at St. George Cathedral-Al-Zahriya, Tripoli at five o'clock on Sunday afternoon the 2nd of August, 2009.  The funeral service was led by His Beatitude Patriarch +Ignatius IV with the assistance of the bishops of the Holy Synod of Antioch, the parishes' priests, and deacons. The funeral was attended by representatives of the local Christian denominations, and a number of Islamic representatives.  Political representatives included Minister Tarek Mitri the representative of the country's president Mr.

Michel Suleiman, Mr. Robert Fadel, the representative of the head of the parliament Mr. Nabeeh Beri, Minister Mohammed Shatah the representative of the Prime Minister Fouad Al-Sanioura, Mr. Atif Majdalani the representative of the authorized Prime Minister Mr. Saad Al-Hariri and the deputy of the head of the Parliament Mr.Fareed Makari.

                Grant rest eternal in blessed repose, O Lord, to your servant who has fallen asleep and make his memory be eternal.


                                                                                                                                                Father Timothy

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