Yesterday, the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America announced its list of eligible candidates for the office of metropolitan, in time for the initial vote to be held at the Special Convention on January 13, which will decide on a list of three candidates to send to the Holy Synod. Alongside the list of bishops and archimandrites who are currently active in the Archdiocese, the list also includes Metropolitan Saba (Esber), who has for the past 23 years been metropolitan of Bostra and Hawran in southern Syria, where he has stood out for his remarkable management of the Patriarchate's most materially impoverished archdioceses under almost unimaginably difficult circumstances. I will reproduce below his official biography from the North American Archdiocese's website, in pdf on the site linked above, but I would also like to call readers' attention to some of his writing that has been translated on this blog previously, available here. In particular, I would suggest reading:
On the Issue of the Orthodox "Diaspora" (written during the preparation for the planned Council of Crete)
Metropolitan Saba (Isper)
- Born in Lattakia, Syria in 1959.
- A graduate in Civil Engineering from the
University of Lattakia.
- A graduate of the Saint John of Damascus
Institute of Theology at the University of
- Ordained to the deaconate in 1984.
- Ordained to the priesthood in 1988.
- Served in the parish of Saint Michael in Lattakia
- Elevated to Archimandrite 1994.
- Publisher and Editor of the Orthodox magazine
“Farah” for children in 1993, and the magazine
“Farah” for the family in 1994.
- Elected as an assistant bishop to Patriarch
Ignatius IV in 1998 and consecrated episcopacy
that same year.
- Appointed by the Holy Synod of Antioch as
Metropolitan for the Diocese of Bosra Hauran and
Jabal Al-Arab in 1999
- Teacher of Pastoral Care and Introduction to the Old Testament at the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology University of Balamand from 1995-2006- Established a publishing house in the
Archdiocese, the "Al-Arabiya" magazine for
adults, and continued issuing the "Farah"
magazine for children. A special version of it was
issued in English starting in 2010.
- Author of a weekly article on his Facebook page.
-Author of many articles of various topics in "Al-
Noor", "Patriarchal" and "Al-Arabiya"
- Author of many books in different fields of
pastoral life and theology.
- Developmental projects and Charitable
endowments for the Archdiocese include:
• A charitable medical clinic in the city of As-
• Dormitories for university students in As-
Suwayda and Daraa (150 students)
• The House of Love for retirees prepares 48
• Agricultural projects throughout the
• A spiritual retreat center (Bethany) in the
village of Kharaba
• Bread for All, an association for the
distribution of food to the poor of the region
irregardless of religion
• The Good Samaritan, a multifaceted
charitable organization for members of the
Archdiocese displaced or otherwise affected
by the recent wars.
Author of the following publications:
- "Words from the Heart"
- "For the sake of a living church"
- "Contemporary Christian reading of the Old
- "Condolences, my people"
- "Beware of idols"
- "His path to Him"
- "On the Way to Salvation" 4 Volumes
- "Orthodox spirituality"
Translator (from English into Arabic) of the
- "Saint Raphael of Brooklyn"
- "The mystery of faith" (Hilarion Elfayeve)
- "Lenten Spring", "Winter Pascha" and "A Brief
History of the Church" (Thomas Hopko)
- "From Baptist to the Byzantine World" (James
- "Our Faith" (Elder Ilia Cleopa)
- "In Love" (Olivier Clement)
- "St. Tikhon of Zadonsky" (Nadezhda
- "St. Seraphim of Sarov" (Valentin Zander)
-"The year of the Lord" (five parts) (Theodore
- "Spiritual Talks, My Journey to Orthodoxy"
- "I Believe in God" (Anthony Bloom)