Metropolitan Antony (Bashir)


Born: Douma, Lebanon, March 15, 1898, to Joseph and Zaina Bashir

Educated:

  • Balamand Monastery, 1911-1916
  • American University of Beirut
  • Ba`abda Law School, Beirut (Lebanon)

Ordained:

  • Deacon, April 16, 1916
  • Priest, 1922
  • Archbishop, April 19, 1936, in St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY, by Metropolitan Theodosius of Tyre-and-Sydon and Archbishop Vitalii Maksimenko

Ministry:

  • Instructor, American University of Beirut andZahrat al-Ahson School, Beirut
  • Archdeacon and Secretary to Metr. Gerasimos Bessara
  • Pastor, St. George Church, Vicksburg, MI (1924-27)
  • Pastor, St. George Church, Terre Haute, IN (1927-30)
  • Pastor, St. George Church, Detroit, MI (1930-36)
  • Archbishop of New York and North America (1936-66), overseeing some 75 parishes
  • Representative of Patriarchate of Antioch to United Christian Conference on Life and the World, Edinburgh, Scotland; and World Conference on Faith and Order, Oxford, England (1938)
  • Spearheaded foundation of "Federation for the Primary Jurisdictions of the Orthodox Greek Churches in America" (1942)
  • Founded Syrian Orthodox Youth Organization (S.O.Y.O. -- 1951)
  • Vice-President, Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (1960-66)
  • First Orthodox hierarch to join the National Council of the Churches of Christ (1960); named National Vice President

Writings:

  • al-Kalimat [The Word] (Edited: 1905-15)
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • The Made Man by Kahlil Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • The Forerunner by Kahlil Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • Jesus, the Son of Man by Kahlil Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • The Earth of Gods by Kahlil Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • The Words of Gibran (Translated into Arabic)
  • Why I am a Christian by Frank Crane (Translated into Arabic)
  • Life of Christ by Giovanni Papinni (Translated into Arabic)
  • The Simple Life by Charles Wagner (Translated into Arabic)
  • The Man Nobody Knows by Bruce Barton (Translated into Arabic)
  • Today and the Future Day by A. Brisbane (Translated into Arabic)
  • One Year in Mexico
  • The Year to Success
  • Read and Think by the Master Thinker
  • The Greek Orthodox Church
  • al-Marah al-Jadidah [The New Woman] (edited: political journal)
  • al-Khalidat [The Immortals] (edited: literary periodical)
  • Majallat al-Kalimat [The Word Review] (contributor)
  • The Word (re-established, in English)


Died:
Boston, MA, February 15, 1966

 

BRIEF SUMMARY: The Lebanese-born Bashir had achieved renown as a writer and translator of Arabic literature before coming to America in 1922 as his patriarch's representative to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Following ordination that year to the priesthood, he served a variety of parishes and as a roving missionary across the Midwest while continuing to acquaint the Arab world with Western thought and vice versa through translations. Consecrated bishop in New York in 1936 by one faction of Russian hierarchs the same day as a rival candidate, Samuel David, was elevated in Toledo, his episcopacy was conceived in conflict and saw the final separation of the Syrians from the Russian jurisdiction. Though supported by his patriarch, Bashir had to overcome tragic ethnic division, doing so chiefly through energy and administrative prowess. He created a youth-oriented Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO), shifted the archdiocesan magazine, the Word, to an English format, and instituted a Western Rite to accomodate converts. He also possessed a keen vision of what American Orthodoxy as a whole ought to be and pushed to achieve it. He was an early advocate of the use of English and of comprehensive religious education programs, and was the inspirational force behind the formation in 1938 of the Federation of Primary Jurisdictions of the Orthodox Greek Catholic Churches in America, precursor to SCOBA, which latter body he served as vice president from its formation in 1960 until his death.


Bibliography:

  1. Nasr, Constantine, The Antiochian Missionary, Metropolitan Antony Bashir (unpublished M.Div. thesis, St. Vladimir's Seminary).
  2. __________., "Metropolitan Antony Bashir, 1898-1966," Word 39.8 (Oct. 1995), 11-16.
  3. Garrett, Paul D., "Metropolitan Antony Bashir," Word REF (REF), PAGES.