Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles

Address: 1021 S. 10th St., St. Louis, MO 63104
Tel.: 314.231.1021
Fax.: 314.231.1418

Archbishop Zayek (the First Maronite Bishop of the United States) - Obituary


14 September 2010

Reverend and Dear Monsignors and Fathers,

We just received the sad news that Archbishop Francis M. Zayek passed away today, September 14, 2010, in Lebanon.

Archbishop Zayek - 1st Maronite Bishop for the United States

Archbishop Zayek was born on October 18, 1920, the son of Mansour and Mariam (Khoury) Zayek in Manzanillo, Cuba. In 1931, the family immigrated to Lebanon.

After seminary studies in Lebanon and in Rome, he was ordained a priest in Rome on March 17, 1946. After completing a doctorate in canon law in Rome, he was appointed to serve the Maronite community in Cairo where he also worked in the Apostolic Nunciature. He later returned to Rome and served as the Promoter of Justice at the Roman Rota.

On May 31, 1962, Pope John XXIII appointed him to serve the Maronites in Brazil, and he was consecrated a bishop on August 5, 1962 in Dimane, Lebanon, by Patriarch Paul Peter Meouchi.

Archbishop Zayek was one of the last surviving bishops who attended all of the all sessions of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as a bishop.

On January 10, 1966, Pope Paul VI established the Maronite Apostolic Exarchate in the United States and appointed Bishop Zayek as the first Exarch. He was installed on June 11, 1966 in Detroit, MI, where he was to establish his See.

Pope Paul VI raised the Exarchate to the rank of Diocese or Eparchy on November 20, 1971, and he appointed Bishop Zayek as the first bishop of the Diocese of Saint Maron, for all Maronites of the United States. He was installed as such on June 4, 1972. (The See was moved to Brooklyn, NY, in 1977.)

In recognition of his pioneering work in the United States, he was given the personal title of Archbishop by Pope John Paul II on December 10, 1982.

Upon reaching the canonical age, Archbishop Zayek retired in 1996.

Archbishop Zayek was predeceased by two brothers and three sisters. He is survived by his brother, Elias, in Brazil, and his sister, Lydia, in Lebanon, and several nieces and nephews.

A Forty Day Divine Liturgy is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, 2010, at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, 109 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY, at 7:00 p.m. A Meal of Mercy will follow in the Cathedral hall. All clergy, religious and laity are invited to attend to pay tribute to this true Churchman and to pray for the repose of his soul.

The Maronite Church in the United States is deeply indebted to this great man for his zealous efforts in establishing the strong, vibrant Maronite community we have today. May Archbishop Zayek share in the glory of the Cross which we celebrate this day!

We extend our profound condolences to the family of Archbishop Zayek, and to all who loved him, and assure them of our prayers. May he rest in peace.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Chorbishop Michael G. Thomas,
Vicar General