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Africa: Pope creates new diocese for Maronite faithful

© Antoine Y. Mekary
Lebanese Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai leads a mass on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Maron ( Maroun) in the Saint Maron Church in Rome, Italy, February 09, 2017.
St. Maron (also spelle
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Centered in southwest Nigeria, in Ibadan.

Pope Francis created a new Maronite eparchy in West and Central Africa, the Holy See reported today. At the head of this eparchy, known as the “Annunciation,” the pontiff appointed Bishop-designate Simon Faddoul.

Until now, the Maronite faithful of West and Central Africa, mainly concentrated in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Cameroon, were united under an apostolic exarchate, a subdivision of an Eastern Patriarchal Church in a territory that is not its own.

Now, this ecclesiastical district is being raised to the rank of eparchy, the equivalent of a diocese for the Eastern Churches, with a bishop at its head; Msgr. Simon Faddoul will be ordained a bishop in April of this year for this purpose. The Maronite priest was the president of Caritas in Lebanon between 2010 and 2013.

The seat of the Annunciation Eparchy is in Ibadan, in the southwest of Nigeria. With more than 3.5 million inhabitants, it is the third largest city in the country. This eparchy includes 12 parishes, 10 priests, six religious and five seminarians.

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