After 26 years at the head of the Archparchy of Aleppo in Syria, Bishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart (78), now knows his successor. The synod of the Melkite Church appointed, with the agreement of Pope Francis, Friday, September 17, Mgr Georges Masri as the new Greek-Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo. The city, which has around 20,000 Greek-Melkite worshipers and twenty priests, was one of the symbols of the civil war that ravaged Syria from 2011.
Native of Aleppo
Born in 1968, in Aleppo, Mgr Georges Masri, 53, entered the patriarchal seminary of Raboueh, in Lebanon before studying philosophy and theology in the city of Harissa, where the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon. He was ordained a priest for the Archieparchy of Aleppo in 1999. He who speaks Arabic and French held various positions, including parish priest of Saint Dimitrios-Jabrie from 2000 to 2013. Since then, he has worked with the Greek-Melkite Archbishop from Aleppo.
→ EXPLANATION. Who are the Melkites?
The archieparchy of Aleppois considered one of the oldest of the Patriarchal See of Antioch. Christianity was established there from the time of the apostles. Saint Eustathius, its first known bishop was transferred to the see of Antioch and participated in the Council of Nicaea (325) where he played a role.
A United Church in Rome
The Melkite Greek-Catholic Church, headquartered in Damascus (Syria), is a Byzantine rite Church united with Rome since the 18th century. It brings together around 1.3 million faithful, mainly in Syria, Lebanon, the Holy Land and in the countries of the diaspora, notably in the United States. It is the second Church in the Middle East after the Coptic Orthodox Church. The term “ melkite “ comes from Syriac “ malko “ and means “Royal” Where “Imperial”.
The Melkite Church was born in 1724 from a division of the Greek Church of Antioch: some of these Christians, Catholicized by Jesuit missionaries or Franciscans then present in the East, chose to enter into communion with the Saint -Seat. Thus was born the Greek Catholic Church (Melkite), directly linked to Rome. Like the other Eastern Catholic Churches, it is also called “Uniate”. Bishop Joseph Absi was elected Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Church in June 2017, succeeding Gregory III Laham.