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Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Akouri Congratulates Lebanese Cleric Monsignor Youssef Antoine Soueif, Newly Named Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

(NICOSIA, CYPRUS)...John Akouri, former executive Parish Council member and congregational leader at the Cathedral of St. Maron Maronite Church of Detroit (Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles) during the pastoral adminstration and under the auspices of esteemed senior priest Very Reverend Fr. Ghattas Khoury, today congratulated his friend and colleague Joseph Soueif on his enthronement as the new Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus. The ceremony took place in the Maronite Church in Nicosia and was attended by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus Chrysostomos II, Bishops of the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus, Maronite Archbishops and Bishops, members of the Cypriot Council of Ministers, leaders and representatives of the political parties of Cyprus, members of the Cypriot Parliament and Cypriot Members of the European Parliament, heads of diplomatic missions, representatives of the Maronite community in Cyprus, mayors and others.
In his address, the new Maronite Archbishop thanked especially the Cypriot President and the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus for attending the ceremony, saying “I interpret your presence at this ceremony as an honor to the Maronite community in Cyprus and to my self and I express to you all my deep appreciation”. “My special gratitude to you Mr President for your presence among us today. This is a proof of love and concern for our community. In his address, the President congratulated the new Maronite Archbishop for his enthronement and wished him every success, reassuring him that their cooperation will be “close and daily”. “Today’s message is a message of unity, a message on behalf of the Maronite community, the Maronite Church, a message on behalf of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus as well as a message of unity on behalf of the Armenian and Latin communities of Cyprus”, he said, adding “it is also a message of love, brotherhood and unity with the Turkish Cypriot community of the Republic of Cyprus”.
The new Archbishop was born in Chekka, Lebanon, in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987 by Archbishop Antoun Joubeir. From 1974 to 1982, he completed the complementary and high school studies at the minor patriarchal Seminary of Saint Maron in Ghazir (Sagesse School-Jdaidet Al-Maten) and between 1982-1987, he attended the Major Seminary in Ghazir, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Theological Studies at the Holy Spirit University in Kaslik. He also took musical courses (piano). In 1992, he received his doctorate in Eastern Ecclesiastical Studies-liturgy, from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. And in 1997, he was nominated General Secretary of the Episcopal Liturgical Commission by His Excellency Monsignor Boutros Gemayel where he also participated in the preparation of the liturgical texts and the coordination of the celebrations during the visit of the Pope John Paul II, to Lebanon. Prior to suceeding his predecessor Petro Gemayel in Cyprus, he was the representative for pastoral care and the implementation of synodal acts of the Arch-Eparchy of the Tripoli diocese.
The Maronite Church is one of the largest Eastern-rite communities of the Roman Catholic Church and is especially prominent in modern Lebanon. The Maronite community in Cyprus are Catholic Christians of Lebanese origin, who settled in Cyprus 1,200 years ago from Lebanon where the Maronite Archbishop is elected by the Holy Synod of the Maronite Church in Bkirki and confirmed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. At present the Cyprus Maronite community is a very small community forming an integral part of the people of Cyprus but, at the same time, continuing to exist as a separate community. The Maronites who now live in Cyprus consider themselves of Lebanese origin and they are Christian Catholics. The Maronite community of Cyprus today numbers around 6.000 scattered all over the island.

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