Cardinal Bishop of
Cardinal Sfeir was born on May 15, 1920, in Reyfoun, in the eparchy of Sarba of the Maronites. He was ordained on May 7, 1950, and soon began what would become his life project — promoting dialogue in Lebanon's multi-religious society. In 1977 he was chosen representative of the Assembly of the Patriarchs and the Catholic Bishops for Caritas-Lebanon, and in 1980, Spiritual Counsellor of the Order of Malta. Named Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites on April 19, 1986, he also assumed the role of President of the Assembly of the Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon. His peace-making role in one of the most conflict-ridden areas of the world made him a very significant figure for the Church. Sfeir also had the difficult task of safeguarding the spiritual and cultural traditions of the Middle East's largest Maronite community. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by John Paul II during the Consistory of November 26, 1994.