top of page
Archimandrite Sylwanos Mansour.png
1853 - 18/11/1929
Born and educated in Ras Baalbek, Lebanon, and baptised Youssef Elias Asaad Mansour. One of four sons to Elias Asaad Mansour, carpenter, and his wife Sadie Ajubl. 

In 1875, at 22-years-old, Archimandrite (Monseigneur) Mansour joined the monastery of St John the Baptist at Khonshara, Lebanon. He continued his studies at the Aïn Traz Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon where he was ordained with the religious name, Sylwanus, on 14 January 1880 and took charge of the Parish at Ras Baalbek. 

After the Melkite Patriarch Gregory II Youssef received petitions from the faithful in Sydney requesting the services of a ‘capable priest’, Monseigneur Mansour, was chosen to serve in Australia. In 1889 he arrived and began his pastoral visits, travelling across New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. He soon realised that his Syrian and Lebanese communities were losing their connection with the Arabic language and their eastern religious rites. 
He approached His Eminence Cardinal Moran and within six months, received permission to raise donations to establish a Melkite Church.

Monseigneur Mansour appealed to all communities for funds and by 1893 had laid the foundation stone of St Michael’s Melkite Catholic Church in Waterloo. When the church was constructed, it acquired an informal ecumenical status and he ministered to all the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox rites. Although Monseigneur Mansour spoke English, he always conducted his service in Arabic. 

Monseigneur Mansour was known as the ‘fighting priest’, reputed for his strength and determination of character. It was these two attributes as well as his intellect and pioneering spirit, that ensured the first non-Western Catholic Church was established in Australia. At the time and still today, this is a mighty and awe-inspiring achievement, of which we Melkites can be rightly proud. Monseigneur Mansour paved the way for the establishment of all Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Rite churches in Australia. 

Many stories and articles of his prowess were recorded in the local papers. He is described as, ‘strong but not tall, Mansour was a man of unfailing courage, strong faith, and adamant energy’. Photographs show him with a full but trimmed, white beard and a dignified and distinguished face alive with intelligence and humour.

Monseigneur Mansour died aged 75 while visiting the Melkite community in Brisbane. He was survived in Australia by at least four nephews and a cousin. He is buried in Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney.  
bottom of page