Friday, January 23, 2009

New Syriac Catholic Patriarch

(Kaldaya) - A few days ago the Synod of the Syriac Catholic Church, that last year failed to elect a new patriarch to replace Mar Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad who in January had resigned, after its meeting in Rome came in a short time (3 days) at a decision. The new patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church is, since yesterday January 20, the bishop of the Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance for the United States and Canada, Mar Ephrem Joseph Younan who will take the name of Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan. On Friday 23, the new patriarch will meet the Holy Father, and in mid-February there will be an official ceremony at the patriarchal headquarters in Lebanon.

H.E. Ephrem Joseph Younan

Bishop of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark, Apostolic Visitator for the Catholic Syriacs in Central America and Venezuela.

H.E. Ephrem Joseph F. Younan born to Farjo & Khatoun (Khabot) Younan on November 15, 1944 in Hassakeh, Syria and baptized on December 8th at Assumption Parish. He is the middle child of nine children, having four brothers and four sisters.

Bishop Joseph Younan attended Assumption Parochial School and after graduation went on to study at Our Lady of Deliverance Seminary in Charfet, Lebanon. He continued to pursue his priestly formation and career at "Propaganda Fide" and earned a double Licentiate (Masters) in philosophy and theology from Urbaniana University in Rome.

Bishop Joseph was ordained to the priesthood on September 12, 1971. After ordination he was appointed as teacher in the Seminary in Charfet where he was director of the major Seminary for two years. He returned to his home Diocese of Hassakeh where he functioned as Diocesan Director of Cathechesis. He remained in this position as director for seven years. He was then appointed pastor of the Church of the Annunciation in Beirut in 1980, where he remained until 1986.

In March of 1986 he was assigned to the United States where he was to establish a mission in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area to gather Syriac Rite Catholics. Soon after his arrival, with the guidance and assistance of The Most Reverend Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick (Archbishop of Newark) he established the first mission of Our Lady of Deliverance. In 1988, he was further appointed by the Sacred Congregation for Eastern Rite Churches as coordinator among his colleague missionary priests in the United States and Canada. And in 1991, he was officially appointed "Apostolic Delegate" by the same Congregation to represent the Congregation and the Syriac Rite to the Catholic hierarchy of North America.

In June of 1991, Father Younan was elevated to the rank of "Corbishop" by the Patriarch, Mar Ignatius Antoun II Hayek. The ceremony took place at Our Lady of Deliverance Mission in Newark, New Jersey.

Since this time, Corbishop Younan traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast (California) on a monthly basis to help establish another mission. Soon after his initial visits, the mission of The Sacred Heart was established in North Hollywood in 1991. Three years after, he reached out again to establish a further mission Church in San Diego called Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

On November 6, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him first Bishop (Eparch) of the newly established Diocese (Eparchy) Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese for Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada. He was consecrated Bishop on January 7, 1996 at Saint Peter and Paul's Church in Kamishly, Syria by His Beatitude, the Patriarch Hayek.

Currently, Bishop Younan resides in Union City, New Jersey.

He fluently speaks Arabic, French, Aramaic, Italian, German and English.
Many years to His Beatitude!

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