New Eparch Appointed for Catholic Maronites of Canada

Monday, November 25 1996

Ottawa (CCCB) – His Holiness Pope John Paul II yesterday announced the appointment of the Most Reverend Joseph Khoury as Eparch of Montreal for the Catholic Maronites of Canada. Bishop Khoury, third Eparch of the Maronite Church in Canada, succeeds the Most Reverend Georges Abi-Saber who retired in February of this year.

Bishop Khoury, 60, was born in Bahwayta, Lebanon. After studying philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he was ordained a priest December 19, 1964. After further studies in Rome in the area of civil and canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University, he obtained his doctorate, and then continued post-doctoral studies at the Gregorian University where he specialized in moral theology and the history of atheism.

From 1969 to 1996 Bishop Khoury served in the Holy See, where much of his work was with the Congregation for Oriental Churches. He has also been a defender of the bond with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments as well as with the Roman Rota; a member of the commission responsible for translating pontifical documents into Arabic; and a member of the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with Muslims. In 1993, Bishop Khoury was ordained bishop and appointed Apostolic Visitator of the Maronites living in Western and Northern Europe. In February 1996, the Holy Father appointed him Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Saint Maron in Montreal.

During his years in Rome, Bishop Khoury also taught at a number of institutions including the Pontifical Urban University, the Benedictine College of Saint Anselmo and the Pontifical Institute Regina Mundi. In addition to Arabic and Syriac languages, Bishop Khoury has taught Roman and Oriental canon law, the history of Islamic philosophy, and a survey of atheism in contemporary Arab cultures.

Maronites have been in Canada since the end of the 19th century when a number of Lebanese emigrated to the West, especially to North America. Those coming to Canada increased after the Second World War and most particularly with the 1975 civil war in Lebanon. In 1982, the Holy See founded the Eparchy of Saint Maron in Montreal for Maronite Catholics living in Canada. Presently, there are more than 80,000 Canadian Maronite Catholics living in 11 parishes: Halifax, Fredericton, Quebec, Montreal (2), Ottawa, Toronto, Pickering, Leamington and Windsor (2) Other parishes are being considered for Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Saint John, NB.

Throughout the world some six million Catholics belong to the Maronite Church. There are five major Eastern rites within the Catholic Church. The Antiochian rite, of which the Maronite Church is part, dates back to 5th century Jerusalem and Antioch, from where it expanded throughout Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia, and in the 17th century to the southwestern coast of India. The liturgical languages used in the Antiochian rite originally were Greek and Syriac. Today the most common language is Syriac, as well as Arabic with the Maronites and Malayalam with the members of the Syro-Malabar Church in India.