Vatican announces early resignation of prominent Melkite archbishop in Israel
January 27, 2014
In a surprise move, Pope Francis has accepted the early resignation of a prominent Melkite Catholic archbishop in Israel.
The Vatican announced on January 27 that the Pontiff had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Elias Chacour of Akka, in northern Israel. The archbishop, a noted advocate of non-violence and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. A native Palestinian himself, he was also the first Israeli citizen to be appointed a Catholic bishop.
The announcement of Archbishop Chacour’s resignation was surprising because it came several months before his 75th birthday. The Vatican offered no explanation for the unusual move.
Archbishop Moussa El Hage, who heads the Maronite Archeparchy of Haifa—located in the same region of northern Israel—was named by the Pontiff to serve as apostolic administrator of the Melkite archdiocese until a replacement for Archbishop Chacour is named.