Pope Francis has agreed to extend the boundaries of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maroun of Sydney to include not only Australia but also New Zealand and all the countries of Oceania.
The announcement on Friday comes as a result of the increasing numbers of Maronites in these countries and the need to cater for their pastoral and spirituals needs, in addition to reconnecting them with their spiritual heritage and liturgical traditions according to the Maronite Eastern Antiochene Church.
The Maronite Eparchy of Australia said in a statement that the “decree opens a new and bright chapter in the history of our Eparchy”.
“The decision to extend the boundaries was made on March 29, when Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, met with Pope Francis and informed him of the increasing number of Maronites who had settled or were spending significant amounts of time in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands,” the statement said
By direction of Pope Francis, Maronites in these countries have been placed under the jurisdiction of Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, who will become the first Maronite Archbishop of Australia, New Zealand, and the other countries of Oceania.
An official announcement will be made at a Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral, at Harris Park in Sydney, on Tuesday, May 25 at 6pm.
Pope Francis Announces New Boundaries for the Maronite Eparchy of Australia (Maronity Eparchy of Australia)