St Clement Melikite Catholic Church Queensland

The Golden Jubilee St Clement's Church South Brisbane Queensland
1929 to 1979


His Lordship Bishop Malouf

His Lordship, Dr. Clement Malouf, Bishop of the See of Caesaria Philippi as called in the Acts of the Apostles (now known as the Diocese of Paneas, Lebanon).

In 1928, Bishop Malouf came to Australia as Patriarchal Delegate for the International Eucharistic Congress held in Sydney. During his visit, he met scores of his Malouf relatives, and was given a tremendous reception by the Melkites of St. Michael's Church and other denominations - being such an outstanding figure from the Orient.

In 1929, Bishop Malouf paid a visit to the Lebanese migrants in Brisbane. Shortly after his arrival, with Father S. Khoury he united some two hundred Lebanese of different Rites, in order to build a church of their Eastern Rite and Customs. True to the old saying, "United we stand, divided we fall," their efforts were very successful in achieving their goal.

The Very Reverend Archimandrite Sophronus Khoury

Very Reverend Archimandrite (Monsignor) Sophronus Khoury, Founder of St. Clement's Mel kite Church, Brisbane.

He was born in 1872 in Beirut, Lebanon, where he received his primary education. He joined the Monastery of St. John the Baptist at Khonshara in 1890.

After undertaking a course essential to the priesthood, he was ordained a priest and subsequently held many positions in the See of Beirut.

In 1908 Father S. Khoury was sent to Sydney by his Superior of the Basilian Order to assist Fr. N. Modowar at St. Michael's Melkite Church. He remained there until 1928.

Then he received permission from the Holy See to establish a church of the Melkite Rite in the City of Brisbane and to minister to all Syrian migrants (called so, while Lebanon was part of Syria within the Ottoman Empire).

On his arrival Father S. Khoury would celebrate Mass for his flock at St. Mary's Church, South Brisbane. He lived with the Ellis Family (Zahle), who in every way had been to him considerable comfort and support.

Not daunted by financial difficulties and the small number of his people, Father S. Khoury had called all the Lebanese together and formed a committee to raise funds for his noble objective.

With the generosity of all the Lebanese migrants and their untiring efforts, the land was purchased and the foundation stone of St. Clement's Church was laid on March 7, 1929. The funds were not sufficient for its completion, but through their determination and fund-raising activities Father S. Khoury and his struggling parishioners succeeded in realising their objective. To their great joy, the Church was finally completed.

The house adjoining the Church was shortly converted into a fine, modern presbytery, which became the centre of all social gatherings.

For long years, Father S. Khoury devoted his entire life to advancing St. Clement's Church, endearing himself to Lebanese people of different communities as one family and ministering to all with equal devotion in a true "Ecumenical Spirit."

Father S. Khoury, distinguished by his thick beard, his stout build and his revered traits, looked like one of the patriarchs of the Old Testament.

Father Alexios Malouf

Reverend Father Alexios Malouf, successor of Father S. Khoury. He was born in 1914 (Kafartayh) of good Christian parents who died during the First World War. He had elementary schooling in his native town.

To satisfy his ardent desire from childhood, he entered the Seminary of St. John at Khonsharah, where he pursued his studies of languages and literature.

On completion of his Philosophy and Theology Studies at the Clerical School of St. Basil, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1940 and renamed Alexios (previously Nehmtalah), subsequently occupying several positions in the Archdiocese of Beirut.

In 1950, he was elected Superior of St. Elias's Monastery of Zahle, where he was held in high regard by all the inhabitants of this resort City ''Harousse Libnan" (Bride of Lebanon).

Tne Father General of the Basilian Order had received many petitions from Father S. Khoury for a competent priest to assist him in Brisbane. This position was eventually to be allotted to Father A. Malouf, who arrived in Brisbane before Christmas in 1951. He was welcomed joyfully by all the Lebanese of different communities.

In June, 1952, Father S. Khoury became critically ill and died soon after at the Mater Hospital. Father A. Malouf then assumed full charge of St. Clement's Church, ministering ever since to all the needs of the Lebanese in Brisbane.

In the years following, being so acquainted with the English language and with the approval of Archbishop J. Duhig, he translated the Byzantine Liturgy into English with full explanatory notes. It was quite a necessity, so that all could follow the Melkite Mass and know the beauty of this Ancient Rite that dates back to the times of the Apostles.

For many years now Father A. Malouf has continued to ensure the upkeep and preservation of this Centre in order that it remain worthy of all proud Lebanese. As well he has endeavoured to maintain a unity among three sections of the Lebanese community - Melkite, Maronite and Orthodox.

May they ever remain "One."


The figure on this Missal Book of the Byzantine Rite is-the Chalice and the Host, which bears Greek letters meaning "Jesus Christ Triumphs"

History of Saint Clement's History of Saint Clement's

The foundation stone of Saint Clement's Melkite Church, South Brisbane, was blessed by Archbishop James Duhig, Bishop Malouf (Lebanon) and Father S. Khoury, Pastor, in the presence of a great attendance from various faiths on March 7, 1929.

The Church was dedicated to Saint Clement (Martyr and 3rd Successor of St. Peter) after Prelate Malouf's Patron Saint. The building was completed under the supervision of Carl Ward, beautifully furnished by all the Lebanese families, and opened for public worship by 1936.

This is the first Lebanese Church in Brisbane, and stands as a Monument to a 25-year struggle of Father S. Khoury, who was later succeeded by Father A. Malouf - both being of the Basilian Melkite Order.

The Office Bearers of the first Committee that had launched the work for the project were:-

  • Father S. Khoury, Chairman.
  • C. Remanous, Secretary.
  • S. Dyer, Treasurer.
  • H. Ellis, Vice President.

In addition, were these supporters with their families, and may they ever be remembered at their Church of St. Clement:

C. Malouf, A. Remanous, M. Asmar, H. Abdy, E. Roofayel, G. Mansour, M. Joseph. J. David, G. Sardie, J. Lutvey, A. Craitem, J. Aboud, E. Malouf, A. Mimis, G. Abraham, C. Farrah, B. Malouf, K. Catter, P. Shear, A. Nammar, T. Tooma and F. Jabaley.

The interior of St. Clement's Church resembles the Latin or Maronite Church rather than the Byzantine Architecture. The Byzantine style consists of the use of Iconostasis (screens) adorned the Holy Icons, separating the Sanctuary from the Nave, and does not permit the use of Statues. However, this interior was designed with the local community in mind by time and place."


St. Clement's Church and Presbytery

Inside of Church looking towards the Altarright and towards Choir Loft (below)

The commodious Presbytery (right) of St. Clement's with quite spacious grounds and all facilities for holding social gatherings.

Mr. Sam Dyer

Mr. Sam Dyer (Kab-Elias), for years President of the Church Committee, who is ever remembered by his trademark "MaDad.”

Mr. Michael Calile Malouf

Mr. Michael Calile Malouf (Zahle). First Honorary Lebanese Consul in Brisbane, President for many years of the Church Committee, head of the Calile Malouf Family whose memory will ever be cherished by all Lebanese and Australians.

The Honourable Robert Katter

The Honourable Robert Katter (Besharry), first Lebanese Member of the Federal Parliament in Canberra with well-known ability and wide respect in Australia.

Mr. Jack Aboud

Mr. Jack Aboud (Zahle), First Lebanese Solicitor and Barrister in Brisbane, long-time Lawyer of St. Clement,s Church, survived by all learned children, who now are professional people in their own right.


Appendix Brief history of the three Lebanese Communities - Melkite. Maronite and Orthodox

The Melkites

HEY are Catholics, scattered through the Middle East, chiefly in Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. During dire conditions, many of them migrated to the United States, South America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

Their history goes back to the dawn of Christendom. They belong to the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch in Syria, which had been founded by Saint Peter before he journeyed to Rome to establish his Western, or Latin Church. Accordingly, all Catholic Eastern Churches form One Universal Church, whose August Head is Peter's Successor, Christ's Vicar on earth (Peter, you are the Rock.)

About the fifth century, many Christians succumbed to the Monophysitic heresy which rejected that Christ had two Natures in one Person. Other Syrians looked towards the Christian Emperor of Constantinople (Byzantium) to overcome this schism and preserve the right doctrine and the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon (451).

Those who followed the lead of the Emperor were nicknamed "Melkites," or king's men (Syriac - melko, meaning king).

In the succeeding years the Melkites, being persecuted by many invaders on account of being loyal to the Roman Pontiff and maintaining close ties with the Byzantine Emperor, became more and more under the domination of Constantinople for protection and eventually came to adopt the Rite of Byzantium, which was Greek. Gradually, Arabic has come into use as well as other vernaculars.

This Rite, which originated from the oldest Antiochian Liturgy, was a shortened form of Saint Basil's Liturgy, which had been edited by Saint John Chrysostom (golden-mouth), bearing his name (347). Both Saints were Doctors of the Eastern Church.

Holy Communion is administered under two species - bread and wine "Eat and Drink," according to the Apostles' traditions.

In outline, the Byzantine Liturgy, ever remaining unchanged, corresponds to the Roman Mass by containing the three essential parts - Offertory, Consecration, and Communion.



The Maronites

THEY are originally Syrian Catholics of Antioch, living in Lebanon, Syria, and now in all parts of the World.

The name has been derived from their Founder and Patron, Saint Maroun, whose monastery was established as early as the fifth century in Syria.

In the years that followed, the Maronites had been organised into an Eastern Church by Saint John Maroun who became the first Patriarch (685-707).

Being ever attacked by neighbouring assailants, the Maronites began emigrating about the ninth century into the fortress-like mountain area of Northern Lebanon where they became the dominant community.

Throughout their long history, the Maronites have always looked to their Patriarch of Antioch as temporal and spiritual leader, which ever recognising the supremacy of the Holy See of Saint Peter.

This Eastern Community, admirable in faith and devotion, has produced through the centuries scores of hermits and saints in Wady-Kadisha, who became the Glory of their Church and Lebanon.

In 1860 the Masakbi brothers and thousands of Maronites were martyred for their staunch faith by the Druze sect in a bloody massacre.

Not long ago the hermit Father Charbil El Makhlouf of Bika-Kafra whose body, since his death in 1898. has remained fresh-alive and dead and on account of many miracles and cures of the sick of various denominations, was canonised as a Saint.

The system of worship of the Maronites had been the Syriac Liturgy of St. James of Antioch. Arabic and other vernaculars are now used as in all other Churches.

By the 16th century, their Liturgy was modified by way of a "latinisation" and became similar to the Roman Rite in administration of Sacraments and Holy Communion in one kind with the use of Latin vestments and following almost the Roman Calendar.



The Orthodox

"ORTHODOX" is a Greek word meaning the right doctrine or teachings. In its historical sense "orthodox" was applied to all those Christians, who were in conformity with the apostolic doctrine or the decrees of the first seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church.
The Orthodox Community comprises the Patriarchates (territories, each ruled by a Patriarch) of Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem with all other joined Eastern Churches.
About the tenth century, all Orthodox Churches were separated from the Western or Roman Church mainly over the papal supremacy. Constantinople, being the flourishing City of the Great Eastern Empire, became a "Rome" in the Orient.
All the Orthodox Churches have been governed by the Holy Synod (Council). The Synod members, invested with spiritual and temporal powers, are in charge of the conservation of the faith, old traditions and the unity amongst all Churches.
Their Orders and Sacraments are valid and remain the same as they were administered in the early days of the Church.
The Byzantine Rite, stemming from the Antiochian Liturgy, is rather common to all churches, but with various vernaculars.
The Lebanese Orthodox use Greek and Arabic. Holy Communion is given in both species - bread and wine. Secular Clergy are allowed to marry before ordination as in other Eastern Catholic Churches.
The Orthodox, after the Roman Catholic, are the second largest Christian body, scattered through the Middle East, Europe, Asia and all the countries of the world.
In recent years, a wide Ecumenical Movement has emerged in all Churches in order to bring all Christians into ''One," which is our Lord's injunction and the motto of all Brisbane Lebanese there must be One Church, One Christian Community.

“Father, that they all maybe one, as you in me,
and I in you; that they also may be one in us;
 that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
 (John 17, 21.)

History of Lebanon

LEBANON, stretching all along the Mediterranean Sea, has been quite similar to what was Phoenicia in ancient times, about five thousands years ago.

Phoenicia ("red land," since its first settlers were from the coasts of the Red Sea), had been much renowned by its littoral cities - Tripoli, Beirut, Tyre and Sidon (native home of historic Cadmus and Hannibal).

This antique land had been the cradle of the first alphabet (Byblos, "Book," now Jebeil) and the flourishing centre for old cultures, trades and seafaring in the then-known world.

Lebanon, throughout myriad centuries of history, had always enjoyed some autonomy within the passing empires, such as the Greek, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Ottoman and the French.

In 1946 Lebanon, after a long, hard struggle for independence had gained, thanks to France (mandate since 1920), its full sovereignty with the present frontiers.

Beirut (capital) has been at all times the booming centre in commerce, economy, spiritual ideas (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and cultures, both Oriental and Occidental, with its four Universities - a Paris in the Middle East.

Lebanon ("White," owing to permanent snow on top of Mount Sanin), with its strategic situation "key of the East," beauties of its natural heritage, and ancient relics of the past centuries, has always been, down through the ages, the wonder of and attraction of all nations, many of which have had an eager intent to dominate it as well.

Lebanon is at present embroiled in a ferocious war. May this struggling country which is small in territory (10,500 square km) but big in global history and stamina, be released from its present plight in spite of its adversaries, to become again the land of friendliness, hospitality and freedom - since truth, while crushed to earth, shall rise again. God willing, be it so.

His Grace Sir James Duhig. D.D.

His Grace Sir James Duhig, D.D., Archbishop of Brisbane, reputed as the Great Builder in the See of Brisbane. On visiting St. Clement's Church he would ever admire the faith of those Lebanese pioneers and their ancient Melkite Rite of the Eastern Church.


His Grace Archbishop Francis Rush, D.D.

His Grace Archbishop Francis Rush, D.D., a man of great heart and a popular figure. May God guide and save him for a myriad of years of peace and success.

Compiled by Father Alexios Malouf

Published with the approval of His Grace, Archbishop Francis Rush, D.D.


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