Vatican City, 13 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
- erected the new apostolic exarchate for the Maronite faithful resident in Western and Central Africa, in ad Ibadan, Nigeria.
- appointed Rev. Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas-Lebanon, as the first apostolic exarch without episcopal title, and as apostolic visitor for the Maronite faithful resident in Southern Africa.
- appointed Bishop Georges Chihane, eparchal vicar of Cairo and Sudan of the Maronites, as apostolic vistor for the Maronite faithful resident in the countries of North Africa nost included in the eparchal territory.
- appointed Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, emeritus of Mossul, Iraq, and bishop of the Syro-Catholic patriarchal curia, as apostolic visitor for the faithful of Syrian rite resident in Western Europe.
On Saturday 11 January the Holy Father:
- erected the new eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Melbourne of the Syro-Malabars (Catholics 30,000), extending throughout the continent of Australia.
- appointed Bishop Bosco Puthur of the major archiepiscopal curia of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India, as first bishop of the eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Melbourne of the Syro-Malabars and apostolic visitor for the faithful of the Syro-Malabar rite resident in New Zealand.
- appointed Bishop Raphael Thattil, auxiliary of Trichur, India, as apostolic visitor for the Syro-Malabars resident in India outside the territory of the major archiepiscopal curia.
- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Rev. Habib Al-Naufali , as archbishop of Bassorah of the Chaldeans (Catholics 850, priests 1, permanent deacons 1, religious 7), Iraq. The archbishop-elect was born in Baqofa, Iraq in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1998. He holds a licentiate from the University of Mossul. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of St. George in Baghdad, director of the library of Babel College, judge of the eparchial Tribunal of First Instance and head of the Chaldean mission in London.
- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Fr. Yousif Thomas Mirkis, O.P., as bishop of the archieparchy of Kerkuk of the Chaldeans (Catholics 7,000, priests 6, religious 4), Iraq. The bishop-elect was born in Mossul, Iraq in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1980. He holds a doctorate in theology and history of religions from the University of Strasbourg, France. He is the co-founder of the faculty of philosophy and theology of Babel College, where he has served as director of studies and professor. From 1994 to 2000 he was superior of the Community of the Dominican Fathers in Baghdad and director of the publishing house “Al-Nasira”. In 2006 he founded the Academy of Humanistic Sciences in Baghdad and is currently superior of the Community of Dominican Fathers in Baghdad, Iraq.
- gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Rev. Saad Sirop, as auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans (Catholics 150,000 priests 17, religious 67), Iraq. The bishop-elect was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1972 and ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in philosophy. He has served as priest in the parish of Santiago in Baghdad, director of studies and vice-rector of the faculty of philosophy and theology of Babel College, priest of the Chaldean cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad, dean of the Chaldean priests of Baghdad and secretary of the Commission for Christian Youth in Baghdad.
- assigned the titular see of Forziana to Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, who serves in the eparchy of St. Peter Apostle of San Diego of the Chaldeans, U.S.A.