Francis, Pope of Rome
As Melkite Greek-Catholics, we are the Church of Antioch that is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.
Patriarch Gregory III (Lutfy) Laham, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem
His Beatitude was born in 1933 in Daraya (near the Syrian capital, Damascus) known as the place of St. Paul’s conversion. The young Lutfi (the name means kind) was accepted in 1943 into the seminary of the Salvatorian Fathers at the Monastery of the Holy Saviour near Saida (in southern Lebanon) where he completed his studies in philosophy and theology. He took temporary vows on 15 August 1949 and made his solemn profession on 20 January 1952. His superiors decided to send him in 1956 to Rome (Italy) to further his theological studies. In 1961, he received the title of Doctor in Oriental Ecclesiastical Sciences from the Pontifical Oriental Institute run by the Jesuit Fathers. There he was ordained priest on 15 February 1959 at the Monastery of Grottaferrata (near Rome.)
Back in Lebanon after finishing his doctorate in 1961, he was named Superior of the Major Seminary of his Order at Holy Saviour (1961-64); then at Jeita near Beirut (1966-1969.) During that period, he taught theology and liturgy at the Major Seminary and at the University of the Holy Spirit at Kaslik (near Beirut.)Inspired to work for Church unity, he founded in 1962 the review Unity in Faith. This was the first Arabic review dealing with ecumenical issues and problems.
He work on the social level by founding the Girls’ Home (in 1964)with several branches in various villages in South Lebanon. Then, in collaboration with Fathers George Kwaiter and Salim Ghazal , he set up the Providence Home in 1966 in the hills east of Saida. During 1974-75, he completed the restoration of the patriarchial cathedral and residence in Jerusalem and the equipment of a pilgrims’ hostel that belonged to it. In 1976 he founded a centre for religious studies for adults that has now become a branch of the University of Bethlehem. In 1977, he dedicated himself to social service and instituted the Common Financial Fund with the aim of helping Jerusalem’s poorer students to pursue their university studies.
The Holy Synod, meeting on 9 September 1981, elected him to the rank of bishop. He was consecrated in Damascus on 27 November of the same year by His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos V. In 1981, he initiated a housing project consisting of 36 apartments to accommodate a number of poor families in Jerusalem, with a church, a large hall and a health centre. This project was followed by the construction of several housing projects in Beit Sahour, Taybeh and Ramallah, as well as schools, health centres and restoration of church buildinings.
His Beatitude is the author of numerous books and articles on the spiritual, liturgical, and historical life of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. In June 2000, he invited all the Catholic Bishops of Byzantine tradition from around the world to a Congress in the Patriarchal Residence of Jerusalem. They were able to study together problems common to their Churches. That was the first time that such a reunion had taken place between the different Byzantine Churches.
The Holy Synod, assembled at Rabweh on 22 November 2000, accepted the resignation of His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim, who stepped down due to old age and failing health. On 29 Novemeber the Synod elected His Eminence Archbishop Lutfi as Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem. He took the name of Gregorios III, a name that means “the watchman.”
Most Rev. Nicholas J. Samra, Eparchial Bishop
The Most Rev. Nicholas Samra was born in Paterson, New Jersey on August 15, 1944 to George H. Samra and Elizabeth Balady Samra. His grandparents and his father were immigrants to the United States from Aleppo, Syria. He was ordained a priest for the Eparchy of Newton on May 10, 1970 and served as a pastor in Melkite parishes in Los Angeles, Chicago and New Jersey. Bishop Samra has a B.A. from St. Anselm’s College, in Manchester, New Hampshire, and a B.D. from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts.
On April 21, 1989 Samra was appointed Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus of the Eparchy of Newton, and Titular Bishop of Gerasa, by the Holy Father, His Holiness Blessed Pope John Paul II. He was consecrated and installed on July 6 of that year by Archbishop Joseph Tawil as Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus of the Eparchy of Newton and Titular Bishop of Gerasa. Samra served as Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus until his retirement on January 11, 2005.
On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, he was appointed Bishop of the Eparchy of Newton by the Holy Father, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, replacing His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros. He is the fifth eparchial bishop and the first American-born bishop to serve the Eparchy.
An active speaker and author, Samra has written extensively on the subject of ecumenism, Christian leadership and stewardship. He has also published a multi-volume history of the Melkite Church and a book on the legacy of Archbishop Joseph Tawil. He is the past president of the Eastern Catholic Association of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rev. Fr. Thomas P. Steinmetz, Pastor
Fr. Tom is a lifetime Manchester, NH resident. He graduated from Manchester Central High School in 1974 and St. Anselm College in 1978, and married his wife Kathy that same year. They have three children, Michael, Elizabeth, and Sarah, a daughter-law, Mary, and two grandchildren, Rebecca and Katherine.
Fr. Tom was a career police officer with the Manchester Police Department and retired as a Detective Lieutenant in 2002 after 24 years of service.
Raised in the Latin Church, Fr. Tom began attending Our Lady of the Cedars Church in 1976. After petitioning for a transfer of enrollment from the Latin Church to the Melkite Church he and Kathy formally became Melkites in 1985.
As a layman, Fr. Tom was actively participated in parish life. He was a member of the parish young adult group from 1981 to 1986, served on the Parish Council from 1983 to 1993 and taught religious education for several years.
Fr. Tom attended the Melkite Diocese's Deacon Formation Program at St. Gregory's Seminary from 1990 to 1993, and was ordained to the diaconate January 23, 1994 at Our Lady of the Cedars Church by Bishop Nicholas Samra. While serving as deacon, he received a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Notre Dame College in 2002. He was ordained a priest in Rabweh, Lebanon on July 6, 2002, by the hand of Archbishop Salim Ghazal, BSO. On Sept. 1, 2002 he became the administrator of Our Lady of the Cedars Church, and was later named pastor.
In addition to his duties as pastor, Fr. Tom is also chaplain for the Manchester Police Department and the Manchester V.A. Medical Center. He is a member of the Retired Manchester Police Officers Association, the Manchester Association of Police Supervisors, the Manchester Police Relief Association, the New Hampshire Police Association, the Knights of Columbus Council #5260, and the Catholic War Veterans.
Rt. Rev. Fr. Andre St. Germain
Fr. Andre, having come from the Latin parish of St Jean Baptiste in Manchester NH, has been a parishioner of Our Lady of the Cedars since 1966. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on May 27, 1973, the second deacon ordained by Archbishop Tawil for the Eparchy of Newton. He served as deacon in our parish for twenty-three years. In 1995 he was appointed Economos (Chief Financial Officer) and vice chancellor of the Eparchy. After studies in Philosophy at Rivier College and the other sacred sciences under the tutorage of Archimandrite Gerasimos Murphy, Dean of St Basil Seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 1996 by Bishop John Elya. During his service of the Eparchy he was named an Eparchial Consultor and was a member of the Presbyteral Council. On March 3, 2002 he was elevated to the office of Economos in recognition for his service to the Eparchy. In February of 2006 he was retired for reasons of health and now resides with his wife, Claire, in Pembroke, N.H. When he is able he participates in our parochial life on the weekends.
Rev. Fr. Roger Boucher
Father Roger Boucher is a native of New Hampshire having attended Spaulding High School and the University of New Hampshire. Ordained in 1973 as a priest for the Diocese of Worcester, he served for ten years as Chaplain at Clark University, was pastor of St Joseph’s church until he entered the US Navy. He served with the Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Navy having pre-commissioned the USS BONHOMME RICHARD LHD6 as Supervisory Chaplain and served in Norway, Japan, Alaska, Florida and Winter Harbor, Maine among other places. His last duty station was Submarine Base, Groton as Senior Base Chaplain where he retired after 20 yeras of service in the military. He holds faculties in the Diocese of Worcester, the Archdiocese for Military Services and the Diocese of Newton. He was granted bi-ritual faculties by the Holy Father in 2008 to serve the Melkite Diocese. His love for orthodoxy and the truth of the Divine Liturgy was his motivation to share his priesthood in the Eastern church. He has been chaplain at Thomas More College, Erasmus Institute and has served two terms as Chaplain to the New Hampshire Legislature. He serves part-time at the Veteran’s Hospital in Manchester. He lives on a remote hilltop (off-grid) with a semi-private chapel that is open for silent retreat to those who are not weak of heart.
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Rev. Theophan Leonarczyk
Fr. Theophan Leonarczyk was ordained to the order of deacon on April 15, 2007, and to the order of priest on April 16, 2016.