New Syriac Melkite Bishop elected to Diocese of Farzal, Zahle and Bekaa

VATICAN — After being elected Bishop by the Synod of Bishops of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had approved the Synod’s proposal to elect Ibrahim Ibrahim al-Muwaqqar as Bishop of the Diocese of Farzal, Zahle, and Bekaa.

Bishop Ibrahim is the former Bishop of the Diocese of the Savior of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. His parents Mikhail Ibrahim and Henna Mahfouz were born in the village of Gensnaya in southern Lebanon in 1962.

Bishop Ibrahim received two bachelor’s degrees — one in philosophy from the Holy Spirit University in Kaslik, Lebanon, and the other in theology from the Gregorian Jesuit University in Rome. He also received his master’s degree in Ethical Theology from the Alphonsianium Academy at the Pontifical University of Latin in Rome.

Bishop Ibrahim served in the Prophet Elias Church in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., and was awarded the Cleveland Community Leadership Award.

He also hosted a weekly religious radio program and was given an award for promoting Christian unity and interfaith dialogue by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

In 2001, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by former Patriarch Gregorius III Laham. In 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of the Diocese of the Savior of Montreal, Canada.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is one of the Syriac churches. The word Melkite is derived from the Syriac word Malko for royal, king, or emperor. It is the designation for those who adhere to the (Byzantine) emperor and dogmas from the fifth century onwards. During the first centuries of the Syriac Melkites used Greek and Syriac (Aramaic) in their rituals and religious affairs. In the Middle Ages they started using Arabic instead.