Guest of Honor

Guest of Honor

His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi

Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi was born on February 25, 1940, in Himlaya, within the Archeparchy of Antelias—the same village where Rafqa Ar-Rayes, the first Maronite saint, was born. He attended the Jesuit-run Collège Notre Dame de Jambour.

He took his perpetual vows in the Mariamite Maronite Order (OMM) on July 31, 1962. Subsequently, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Lateran University, where he earned a doctorate in canon law and a licentiate in sacred theology. He was ordained as a priest on September 3, 1967. For several years, he oversaw the Mariamite scholasticate in Rome while also serving as director of the Arab language programs for Vatican Radio.

In 1975, at the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war, he returned to Lebanon to lead the Collège Notre Dame de Louaize, where he founded and managed the Foreign Languages Institute. He also served as a judge on the Patriarchal Tribunal and as the head of Santa Rita School in Dbayeh. From 1978 to 1984, he served as President of Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), playing a significant role in its establishment and development into what is known today as NDU.

On May 2, 1986, the Maronite Synod elected him Patriarchal Vicar, and the Pope appointed him to the titular episcopal see of Caesarea Philippi. He was consecrated as a bishop on July 12, 1986. On June 9, 1990, he was assigned to the new Eparchy of Jbeil (Byblos) for Maronites and, in 2003, was appointed Secretary of the Permanent Synod of the Maronite Church. In this role, he participated in several synods in Rome, including the Special Assembly for the Middle East in October 2010, where he was elected to the post-synodal council. In 2009, he became President of the Communications Commission of the Maronite Synod and supported the television network Télé Lumière and Noursat.

On March 15, 2011, he was elected the 77th Patriarch of the Maronite Church at the Extraordinary Synod in Bkerki, northeast of Beirut. On March 24 of that year, Pope Benedict XVI granted him the Ecclesiastica Communio, which he had requested, in accordance with can. 76 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. This special relationship with the Church of Rome was publicly affirmed on April 15, during his first visit to the Pope, at a Divine Liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica presided over by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.

During the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war, Patriarch Al-Rahi welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Lebanon in September 2012 for the presentation of the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente.

On February 15, 2017, Pope Francis granted Cardinal Al-Rahi the title of Lawyer of the Roman Rota.

He participated in the March 2013 conclave, which elected Pope Francis.

He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in the consistory on November 24, 2012.

He is a member of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches.



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