His Grace Bishop Suriel Successfully Defends his Doctoral Dissertation.

In photo: H.G. Bishop Suriel is surrounded by the bishops and doctoral dissertation committee after receiving his Ph.D. degree at Fordham University in New York. From left to right: H.G. Bishop David, Professor John L. Elias, Professor Gloria Durka, H.G. Bishop Suriel, Dr. Maged Mikhail, Dr. John J. Houston (Chairman), H.G. Bishop Makkar, and H.G. Bishop Epiphanius.


On Thursday 20th March 2014, at 3.30pm local New York time, 5.30am Friday 21st March Melbourne time at Fordham University in New York, His Grace Bishop Suriel, Bishop of Melbourne & Affiliated Regions, and Dean of Saint Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Theological College in Melbourne, successfully defended his Doctoral Dissertation titled “Habib Girgis, Coptic Orthodox Educator and a Light in the Darkness."

The doctoral dissertation committee assisting His Grace comprised:

Chairperson: Dr John J. Houston, Associate Dean, FSPCS

Mentor:     Dr Gloria Durka

Readers:   Dr John L. Elias

                Dr Maged S.A. Mikhail

The gallery that was present to attend the dissertation defense gave a standing ovation and elations erupted at the announcement of this happy and joyful news. Among those in attendance were Their Grace Bishop Makkar and Bishop Epiphanius, who were delegated by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II to attend on his behalf and on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church. 

Also in attendance was His Grace Bishop David, Bishop of the diocese of New York and New England, over 30 priests from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Cleveland and Toronto, many laity representing the US and three parishioners from Melbourne, Mina Asaad, Bishoy Attia and Tasoni Amal Elmenchawy who travelled there especially for this event.

This dissertation on one of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s most recently canonised saints, represents years of unwavering dedication and painstaking research to reveal the great legacy of this great pioneer of theological education within the Coptic Orthodox Church. As the Dean of St Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Theological College, and a campaigner for education himself, this has been both a labour of love for His Grace, and will also provide great prestige to the college. 

It gives me great pleasure to personally congratulate our beloved shepherd, His Grace Bishop Suriel. This is an amazing achievement given the time constraints and many responsibilities of His Grace.

Your Grace has made the whole Church, the Body of Christ, both in heaven and on earth, very proud.

Your Grace has especially made St Archdeacon Habib Girgis extremely proud, and resurrected his legacy to be recorded in history and for the coming generations.

Your Grace has made the Thrice Blessed Pope Shenouda III, a disciple and student of St Habib Girgis, very proud.

Your Grace has made His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the members of the Holy Synod very proud.

Your Grace has made us all extremely proud, in particular all your children here in the Diocese of Melbourne & it's Affiliated Regions.

On behalf of the clergy, deacons, servants, congregations and all the associations of the Diocese, we lift up our hearts to the Lord in thanksgiving for this great academic and spiritual achievement, and may the Lord use this work for the glory of His Name and His Church.

We eagerly await the arrival of His Grace back home to Melbourne on Sunday 30th March 2014 as he returns carrying the relics of this great reformer and educator, St Archdeacon Habib Girgis.

There will a celebration both at Melbourne Airport and the Diocese the same evening His Grace arrives.

Fr. Macarius Wahba

Vicar General

Diocese of Melbourne & Affiliated Regions