His Grace Bishop Suriel
His Grace Bishop Suriel, was born in Port Said, Egypt on 9 May 1963. He migrated with his parents in May of 1967 to Sydney, Australia. Following a very devoted and dedicated life to service in the church, His Grace entered the Monastery of St. Bishoy, where he served as part of His Holiness’ Secretariat. On the 6th of July 1991 His Holiness Pope Shenouda III consecrated His Grace as a monk by the name of Father Suriel El-Anba-Bishoy. On the 8th of June 1993, His Grace was ordained by His Holiness as a priest in the monastery. In early 1996, His Grace was appointed to serve as a parish priest in a small Coptic community in Honolulu, Hawaii. As there were only eleven families in Honolulu, His Grace established many church programs and serves to support this small community. During his time in Honolulu, His Grace resided with the Marianist- Cathlolic Community and studied Theology at Chaminade University. In June 1997, His Grace was selected and ordained by His Holiness and the Holy Synod as a General Bishop of the Coptic Church and given the name Bishop Suriel. He spent many years working with the annual youth conventions in North America and Europe, as well as the administration of the Coptic Archdiocese in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. After a trip to Cairo in November 1999, His Grace was appointed as Bishop of Melbourne and Its Affiliated Regions, where he was enthroned in Melbourne on the 4th of December 1999.
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In September 2000, the Diocese purchased a property in Coburg to establish as a Coptic Centre incorporating the Theological College. Extraordinary support was received both from the congregation and the youth in generous financial support and the theological college students who utilised the facilities to their capacity. Over the following two years the number of meetings, activities and theological college classes being held, exceeded the physical space available and it became clear that this facility would only be sufficient for, and limited to Theological College uses. In late December of 2001, through God’s grace, we were made aware of an exceptional property that had come up for sale. The property was called Whitefriars Park, a Carmelite Monastery established in 1937. In the heart of metropolitan Melbourne, with the capacity to cater to our needs for many years to come, it is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and one in which the hand of God can be felt at work. Whitefriars Park has now become The Coptic Orthodox Church – Diocese of Melbourne and through God’s Grace, it will once again be used as a place of prayer, religious study, fellowship and retreat.