On Sunday, September 17, 2023, the episcopal ordination of Franciscan Bishop Hanna Jallouf was held at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Aleppo, following his nomination by Pope Francis as apostolic vicar of Aleppo for Catholics of the Latin rite last July.
The episcopal ordination Holy Mass was presided by Head of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti. It was concelebrated by Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa and Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus Cardinal Mario Zenari. In attendance were a group of bishops and priests from various Churches, Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, nuns, and a large number of believers.
During the Holy Mass, Pope Francis' message was read out which included the nomination of Bishop Jallouf as apostolic vicar succeeding Bishop George Abu Khazen. His Holiness Pope Francis indicated in his message that the new bishop is qualified by “acumen and good management of difficult situations, in addition to other humanitarian and priestly virtues.” He wished Bishop Jallouf--through the “intercession of the Blessed Mary, the saints of the Syria, and Saint Francis that he would be able to offer consolation entrusted to him to the people, and to serve them in a parental way.”
In his address, Cardinal Gugerotti conveyed the greetings of Pope Francis, expressed his happiness to participate in this “day of bright hope,” especially for the Latin Church in Syria, for the Catholics, and for all Syrians who have long thirsted for peace, namely for a life worthy of humanity, and a life marked by love that is not bereft of work, education, health services, and security.
He added, “Our best wishes are conveyed to you and to the Christians in Syria as well. I assure you that the Church stands by you and by your entire people. Today, this house of prayer has become a center for the world, where God performs a miracle out of the abundance of His love, while offering us a hope that never fails... You are receiving with your people this smile of the Lord, and you all consider it an invitation to maintain your smile despite everything, because you are all deeply loved by the Father who sent His Son to be in solidarity with you while marking His death on the Cross, but after that He rose from the dead. Dear brothers and sisters, you, will rise with Him to live forever in heaven, namely in the paradise of peace.
It is worthy to note that Bishop Jallouf succeeds his Lebanese confrere Georges Abou Khazen, who last year had already resigned from the pastoral governance of the Apostolic Vicariate due to age limit. Pope Francis appointed Fr. Hanna as bishop on Saturday, July 1, with a choice full of suggestions for anyone who is aware of the tribulations also experienced by Christians in Syria in recent years.
Fr. Hanna is one of the priests, who during the years of war, continued to serve and comfort with the gift of the Sacraments and the Word of God, small Christian communities in the territories of Idlib Province dominated during the war by extremist militias. They are areas that to date have never returned under the control of the government of Damascus.
Father Hanna, 71, studied philosophy and theology in Assisi and obtained a licentiate in history in Beirut and in Youth Pastoral and Catechetics at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.