Pope Francis has appointed Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP to the Congregation for Oriental Churches.
The Vatican announced his appointment to the congregation, following on from previous Congregation member and former Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart.
The Congregation is responsible for a number of Churches including the Melkites, the Maronites, the Ukrainians and the Chaldeans.
Archbishop Fisher welcomed the appointment which will involve specific dialogue with the Eastern Churches in Australia and across the world.
“Australia has a rich diversity of middle eastern Catholics and I very much look forward to working with the Congregation,” he said.
Archbishop Fisher is also currently a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Joining Archbishop Fisher on the Congregation for Oriental Churches are His Eminence Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve; His Eminence Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid; His Eminence Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm; His Eminence Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, Archbishop Georges Bacouni of Beurit and Jbeil of the Greek Melkites; Archbishop Borys Gudziak of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians; Archbishop Michel Petit of Paris, and Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
It was established due to the complex reality of the geographical, cultural and social conditions of the middle eastern Churches and aims to strengthen the relationships between them.
It has exclusive authority over regions including Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, southern Albania and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and also oversees jurisdictions based in Romania, Southern Italy, Hungary, India and Ukraine and is located in the historic Palazzo dei Convertendi.
Established by Pope Pius IX on January 6, 1862 with the Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices it was declared independent on May 1, 1917 by Pope Benedict XV.