Patriarcato cattolico greco-melchita
Ain Traz (Agenzia Fides) - Youssef Absi is the new Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and of the East. 29 Greek-Melkite Catholic Bishops, gathered in the Electoral Synodal Assembly, elected him on Monday, June 19, at the seat of the ancient Seminary of Ain Traz, southwest of Beirut. The election took place in the late morning of Wednesday, June 21st. To be elected, the new Patriarch had to obtain at least two-thirds of the votes. After the election, the new Primate of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church received the "Ecclesiastical Communio" by Pope Francis, and announced that he would take the name of Yousseff, as Patriarch.
Yousseff Absi turned 71 on June 20, he was born in Damascus but also has US citizenship. He belongs to the Missionary Society of Saint Paul, born in the twentieth century within the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church with the intent of nurturing the spiritual life of the faithful, especially through preaching and popular missions. He lived the time of his formation in the novitiate of Gap (France). He was ordained a priest by Patriarch Maximos V on 6 May 1973. He was then elected Superior General of the Missionary Society of St. Paul on July 13, 1999, but two years later (June 22, 2001) he was elected Patriarchal Auxiliary (Bishop of Curia) and titular Archbishop of Tarso. On October 13, 2006, Patriarch Gregorios III, his predecessor, appointed him Patriarchal Vicar.
The election of the new Patriarch follows the resignation of the patriarchal mandate of 85-year-old Patriarch Gregory III Laham. The election of Bishop Absi comes a month after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Gregorius III Latham.
The election of the new Patriarch marks the epilogue of a phase of tension and misunderstanding within the Greek-Melkite ecclesial hierarchy. (GV) Agenzia Fides, 22/6/2017)