Ottawa, January 7, 2016- Today, His Holiness Pope Francis has erected, following a consultation with the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Apostolic Exarchate for Syro-Catholics in Canada, with its See in Laval (Québec), and has appointed Reverend Antoine Nassif, from Lebanon, as its first Apostolic Exarch. At the time of his appointment, he was Rector of the Patriarchal Seminary of Charfet in Lebanon. The Syriac Catholic community is present in Canada since 1976.
Previously, Syriac Catholics of Canada were part of the Eparchy Our Lady of Deliverance for Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada which was erected in 1995. The new Exarchate for Canada has seven parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 16,000 served by five priests and two deacons.
Bishop-elect Nassif was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1969 and ordained for the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Eparchy in 1992. After his ordination he served in various roles including: principal of the school of Charfet, Lebanon; and vice-pastor in two parishes. He speaks French, English, and Italian.