Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton

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Eparchy of Newton (Melkite Greek)
Eparchia Neotoniensis Graecorum Melkitarum
Coat of arms of the Eparchy of Newton.svg
Coat of arms of the Eparchy of Newton
Country United States
Ecclesiastical province Eastern Catholic Eparchies Immediately Subject to the Holy See
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
Parishes 43
Denomination Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Rite Byzantine Rite
Established January 10, 1966 (50 years ago)
Cathedral Annunciation Cathedral
Secular priests 68
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Patriarch Gregory III Laham
Eparch Nicholas James Samra
Emeritus Bishops John Elya

Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton (in Latin: Eparchia Neotoniensis Graecorum Melkitarum) is an eparchy of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in communion with the Holy See and therefore part of the worldwide Catholic Church. The eparchy encompasses the entire United States.

The current eparch, Bishop Nicholas James Samra, was appointed in 2011.


Early immigration[edit]

The first large wave of Melkite immigration from the Middle East to the United States took place in the late 19th century, and the first American Melkite church was established in the 1890s. Because there was no diocesan structure for Melkites in the United States at the time, Melkite parishes were each under the jurisdiction of the local Latin-rite diocesan bishop.[1]

Apostolic exarchate[edit]

As the Melkite presence in the United States reached 70 years, the Holy See erected an apostolic exarchate on January 10, 1966 to serve the needs of Melkite Catholics in the country, with the title Apostolic Exarchate of United States of America, Faithful of the Oriental Rite (Melkite).[2] Archmandrite Justin Najmy (1898–1968), pastor of St. Basil the Great Church in Central Falls, Rhode Island, was designated as the first Exarch by Pope Paul VI on January 27, 1966.[3]

The appointment of Najmy as exarch at first drew protest from the Melkite patriarch Maximos IV, because he and the Synod of the Melkite Church had chosen a different candidate, and the appointment, decided by the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches, made the new Exarch subject to the Holy See, and only responsible to the Patriarch and the Synod in liturgical matters.[4]

After Bishop Najmy's death in 1968, controversy about the appointment of Melkite bishops in the United States resumed. Patriarch Maximos V appointed an administrator for the exarchate, against the wishes of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches, and he and the Synod contended that the Vatican II Decree on the Eastern Churches had cancelled previous church law, under which appointments were made exclusively by the Pope. Archbishop Joseph Tawil, the Patriarchal Vicar of Damascus, was appointed Najmy's successor in October 1969, in a procedure the Patriarch described as a compromise.[4]


On June 28, 1976, the Exarchate was elevated to the status of an eparchy.[3][5] with the title Eparchy of Newton, and Archbishop Tawil became the first Eparch.


Annunciation Cathedral

The seat of the Eparchy is Our Lady of the Annunciation Cathedral in the West Roxbury section of Boston. The Eparchy is named for the Boston suburb of Newton, where its offices and the bishop's residence were formerly located. In 2015, Pope Francis designated Saint Anne Church in Los Angeles as a co-cathedral.[6]

The eparchy has jurisdiction over all the Melkite faithful in the United States, and there are parishes in twenty states. In 2013 there were 24,000 Melkite Catholics in 43 parishes.

According to a research study published in Sociology of Religion, there were approximately 120,000 Melkites residing in the country in 1986,[7] although only about 24,000 were formally enrolled in Melkite parishes.[8]

Seminary program[edit]

In 1975, Archbishop Tawil founded a seminary program for the eparchy, after the Basilian Salvatorian Fathers closed their program in Methuen. Students received instruction from clergy of the eparchy and also from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The next year the eparchy purchased a house in Newton Centre, Massachusetts as a residence for its seminarians, and named it St. Gregory Seminary.[9] The seminary building was destroyed by fire in approximately 2000.

Seminarians are now trained at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh.

Following ancient Christian tradition the eparchy counts among its clergy both celibate and married priests and deacons.[10]

Lay organizations[edit]

Bishop Ignatius Ghattas founded the Order of Saint Nicholas in 1991, a regional lay order attached to the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton.[11]


  1. Bishop Justin Abraham Najmy Exarch (January 27, 1966–June 11, 1968)
  2. Archbishop Joseph Tawil (October 30, 1969–December 2, 1989): Exarch until June 1976; then Eparch
  3. Bishop Ignatius Ghattas (February 23, 1990–October 11, 1992)
  4. Bishop John Elya (November 25, 1993–June 22, 2004)
  5. Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros (June 22, 2004–June 15, 2011)
  6. Bishop Nicholas James Samra (appointed Auxiliary Bishop April 21, 1989; retired 2005. Appointed Eparch June 15, 2011)


  • St. George, Birmingham, Alabama
  • St. John of the Desert, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Annunciation Mission, Covina, California
  • Holy Cross, Placentia, California
  • St. Anne, North Hollywood, California
  • St. Elias, San Jose, California
  • St. George, Sacramento, California
  • St. Jacob Mission, El Cajon, California
  • St. John the Theologian, Oakland, California
  • St. Paul, El Segundo, California
  • St. Phillip the Apostle, San Bernardino, California
  • Virgin Mary, Temecula, California
  • St. Ann, Danbury, Connecticut
  • St. Ann, Waterford, Connecticut
  • St. Jude, Miami, Florida
  • St. Nicholas, Delray Beach, Florida
  • St. Ignatios of Antioch, Augusta, Georgia
  • St. John Chrysostom, Atlanta, Georgia
  • St. John the Baptist, Northlake, Illinois
  • St. John of Damascus, South Bend, Indiana
  • St. Michael the Archangel, Hammond, Indiana
  • Cathedral of the Annunciation, West Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • St. Joseph, Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Our Lady of Redemption, Warren, Michigan
  • St. Joseph the Betrothed, Lansing, Michigan
  • St. Michael, Plymouth, Michigan
  • Our Lady of the Cedars, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • St. Ann, Woodland Park, New Jersey
  • St. Demetrius, Cliffside Park, New Jersey
  • Christ the Savior, Yonkers, New York
  • Church of the Virgin Mary, Brooklyn, New York
  • St. Basil, Utica, New York
  • St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Rochester, New York
  • Holy Resurrection, Columbus, Ohio
  • Holy Trinity, Zanesville, Ohio
  • St. Elias, Brooklyn, Ohio
  • St. Joseph, Akron, Ohio
  • St. Joseph, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • St. Basil the Great, Lincoln, Rhode Island
  • St. Elias, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
  • Holy Family in Exile and the Holy Innocents, Front Royal, Virginia
  • Holy Transfiguration, McLean, Virginia
  • St. George, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Religious orders[edit]

There is a community of the Basilian Salvatorian Order in Methuen, Massachusetts. A community of religious sisters, the Community of the Mother of God of Tenderness, is based in Danbury, Connecticut.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Macke, Beth (Winter 1993). "Melkite Catholics in the United States". Sociology of Religion. The Association for the Sociology of Religion. 54 (4): 414. doi:10.2307/3711783. ISSN 1069-4404. 
  2. ^, AAS 58 (1966), n. 8, S. 563f.
  3. ^ a b Cheney, David. "Eparchy of Newton (Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston) (Melkite)". Catholic Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  4. ^ a b Philip A. Khairallah (1986). "The Ecumenical Vocation of the Melkite Church" (PDF). St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly. 30 (3): 197-206. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "For Melkite Catholics, a new co-cathedral in Los Angeles". Georgia Bulletin. June 25, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ Macke, Beth (Winter 1993). "Melkite Catholics in the United States". Sociology of Religion. The Association for the Sociology of Religion. 54 (4): 413–420. doi:10.2307/3711783. ISSN 1069-4404. JSTOR 3711783. 
  8. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav (February 16, 1997). "Bishop's Quiet Action Allows Priest Both Flock and Family". The New York Times. p. 1. 
  9. ^ Mark Melone (Summer 2012). "Archimandrite Charles Aboody Celebrates 50 Years of Priestly Ministry" (PDF): 4-5. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  10. ^ Ignatius, William (November 13, 2001). "Melkite Catholic Church to Ordain Married Men to the Priesthood in the US". Catholic Online. 
  11. ^

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