Pope Appoints Bishop for Melkite Eparchy of Newton

Lebanese Priest to Lead Eparchy of Sydney

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BOSTON, Massachusetts, JUNE 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI named retired Auxiliary Bishop Nicholas Samra, 66, of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts, as the bishop of the same eparchy. 

Nicholas Samra is a native of Patterson, New Jersey, and he was ordained for the Eparchy of Newton in 1970. He has degrees from St. Anselm’s College, Rome, and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.

In 1989, he was named auxiliary bishop of Newton, and he retired in 2005.

Bishop Samra succeeds Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, 72, who will lead the Melkite Archdiocese of Beirut and Jbeil, Lebanon.  

The Vatican announced Wednesday that Benedict XVI approved the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church of Archbishop Bustros as archbishop of Beirut and Jbeil.  

Cyril Salim Bustros is a native of Lebanon. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Society of the Missionaries of St. Paul in 1962. He received a doctorate of theology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium in 1976.  

In 1988, he was elected archbishop of Baalbeck, Lebanon, and in 2004, the bishop of Newton. 


Benedict XVI also named Father Robert Rabbat, 51, rector of the Annunciation Melkite Cathedral in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, as bishop of the Melkite Eparchy of St. Michael in Sydney, Australia.

Robert Rabbat is a native of Beirut, Lebanon. Before entering the seminary, Rabbat worked as a technical consultant for the Middle East and Africa supervising desalinization and water treatment projects.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Beirut in 1994. He holds licentiates in philosophy and theology from St. Paul Institute for philosophy and theology in Harissa, Lebanon, and a master’s in communications from Purdue University in Indiana.

Bishop-elect Rabbat appoint succeeds Bishop Issam Darwich, 66, who was elected by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church to lead the Archdiocese of Zahleh and Furzol, Lebanon. The Pope approved the election Wednesday.

Bishop Darwich is a native of Syria. He was ordained a priest in 1972, and named bishop of St. Michael’s of Sydney in 1996.

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