HIS GRACE BISHOP ALEXANDER OF OTTAWA,
EASTERN CANADA AND UPSTATE NEW YORK
Date of Election:
October 29, 2004
Date of Elevation to Archimandrite:
July 4, 2004
Date of Ordination to the Priesthood:
April 9, 2000
Date of Ordination to the Diaconate:
January 9, 2000
All through his life Bishop Alexander has loved the church and had an affinity for the priesthood. As a young boy he converted a small room in his home into a church where he celebrated make-believe services with himself, serving as the priest, and the neighborhood children as the congregation. Given this strong faith one would expect him to begin preparing for the priesthood upon reaching adulthood. Instead, he waited and allowed himself time to mature and his faith time to grow until God’s calling became too loud to ignore.
Bishop Alexander’s path to the priesthood began in North Lebanon where he was born into a Christian Orthodox family. He attended Tripoli Boys’ School and after completion of the Lebanese Baccalaureates I and II, he enrolled in the American University of Beirut. The havoc of war Lebanon in prevented him from continuing his education and in 1976 he left his birth country and a widowed mother to pursue his education.
He attended North Texas State University where he studied Biology with the intention of becoming a dentist. He unfortunately found that the dental schools gave priority to state residents and his chances of being accepted were slim. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December of 1978 He switched paths and enrolled in a Master of Business Administration program. Two years later he graduated the MBA program and headed back to war-stricken Lebanon to live and work.
Between 1981 and 1985 Bishop Alexander lived in what was then West Beirut where life was a constant challenge. In October 1985, His grace was drawn to return to the United States where he worked for several years before going to seminary. During those years his emotional and spiritual growth moved him closer to his calling to the priesthood. He wrote to His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, requesting his blessing to enter seminary and in May of 1997 he was directed to attend St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. He was ordained to the Diaconate on January 9, 2000 and to the priesthood on April 9 of that year. In June of 2000 he became the pastor of St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Hunt Valley, Maryland and remained there until his consecration as a bishop. On July 4, 2004 he was elevated to rank of Archimandrite and on July 16 nominated to the episcopate during the General Assembly that took place in Pittsburgh, PA.
In an unprecedented move in the history of what had become the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, Archimandrite Rafeek Mufarrij was elected Bishop of Ottawa, East Canada and Upstate New York by the Synod of Bishops of the Archdiocese on October 29, 2004 in Naples, FL. His consecration as Bishop Alexander took place in a jubilant celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition in Damascus. Presiding at the Liturgy was His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV assisted by several metropolitans, bishops and a number of other clergy. Bishop Alexander resides in Montreal, a mere two hour drive from his cathedral in Ottawa.