ROME: The Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Church of Antioch of the Maronites has elected Antoine Farès Bounajem as new archbishop of Antélias of the Maronites, Lebanon.
Pope Francis has given his assent to his election, according to a statement of the Vatican Press office.
Bounajem, 53, was born in Harharaya-Kattine. After his schooling at the Saint George College of Zalka and in the minor seminary of Ghazir, he studied philosophy and theology at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, graduated in 1992.
He was awarded a licentiate in theology, with a catechetical-pastoral focus, at the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1999.
He was ordained a priest on July 10 1994 for the archeparchy of Antélias. Since ordination he has held various pastoral roles.
He has served as parish priest and chaplain of the Scouts and various prayer and formation groups.
Pope John Paul II established the archdiocese of Antélias of the Maronites in 1988. It depends immediately on the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch.
Its cathedral is the Resurrection Cathedral, five km north of Beirut, in the Matn District, Lebanon. In 2012, its 93 parishes counted 249,971 Lebanese Maronite Catholic members.
The Maronite Church is the largest Christian denomination in Lebanon. It is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the worldwide Catholic Church.
The Lebanese Maronite Christians are believed to constitute about 22 percent of the total population of Lebanon.