On 17 April 2013, Father Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, OLM, was appointed by his holiness Pope Francis, as Maronite Bishop of the diocese of St Maroun, Australia.
He was ordained to the Episcopate on 25 May 2013 by His Beatitude and Eminence Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke.
He was officially installed as the fourth Bishop of the Maronites in Australia, on the third of June 2013 at St Maroun’s Cathedral in Redfern.
- Monk and priest in the Lebanese Maronite Order
- In 1983, Bishop Tarabay joined the novitiate of the Lebanese Maronite Order at the Monastery of Kfifane, Lebanon. He professed his temporary vows in 1985 and his perpetual vows as Monk of the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1991.
- In 1993, he was ordained to the priesthood.
After completing his undergraduate studies in 1993 majoring in Theology at the Holy Spirit University (Kaslik), he moved to Italy to complete two Masters Degrees, graduating with Honours – Moral Theology (1996) and Bioethics (1998).
He also completed a Diploma in Human Rights Studies (1999) at the Institute of Human Rights in the Catholic University of Lyon, France.
- In 1999, Bishop Tarabay was awarded a Doctorate of Moral Theology (Bioethics), from Academia Alfonsiana – Lateran University.
Very passionate about education Bishop Tarabay has worked at all levels, from primary to tertiary. His career in education began in 1999 as a Lecturer in Business Ethics and Bioethics at the Holy Spirit University (Kaslik) and a Lecturer in Moral Theology at the Antonine University, both in Lebanon.
- In 2002, he was appointed Principal of St Charbel’s Primary and Secondary College in Sydney.
- In 2005 he returned to Lebanon and was appointed Director of Student Affairs Office, at the Holy Spirit University (Kaslik), where he also lectured in Bioethics at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Medicine.
Rector, St Charbel’s Punchbowl (NSW), Lebanese Maronite Order
- Bishop Tarabay has occupied several roles in the Lebanese Maronite Order and the Maronite Diocese of Australia. In 2007, he was appointed Rector of St Charbel’s College, Monastery and Parish Priest of St Charbel’s parish (Sydney).
He served in this capacity until his appointment as Maronite Bishop of Australia.
Bishop of the Maronite Diocese of Australia
- On 17 April 2013, Pope Francis appointed then-Father Superior Antoine Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia following the retirement of Bishop Ad Abikaram.
Following his appointment, Bishop Tarabay launched his seven-year plan (2014-2020) to deliver pastoral priorities to meet the needs of a growing and dynamic Maronite community in Australia.
- The plan centred around seven pastoral priorities; vocations, family, youth, emerging social issues, Evangelisation, Maronite Liturgy, and Maronite outreach. It was a very important moment in the life of the Eparchy when in 2016, Bishop Tarabay called for the first Maronite Diocesan Assembly, which took place from 12-14 April 2018, under the theme: strong in faith, growing in love.
- In 2021 Bishop Tarabay launched the pastoral plan for another 7 years 2021-2027, under the theme “watering the seeds”. The Maronite Eparchy continues to expand geographically, physically and spiritually, guided by the Holy Spirit, with additional parishes and churches (seven new parishes), schools, aged care homes (two new ones) and other institutions opening across Australia to meet the spiritual, pastoral, social and human needs of the Maronite community.
In 2021, the boundaries of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maroun Australia were expanded to include New Zealand and all the countries of Oceania (Papal Decree number 204/2019). This historic decision was made on 29 March 2021 by the Holy Father Pope Francis at the request of the Maronite Synod of Bishops, and on the advice of Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.
- In 2022, a supplement on the Pastoral plan was published to focus on rebuilding our Maronite community under the motto: Encouraging and Building each other up 2022-2024.
In December 2022, and under the motto: “the Maronite in Australia: A journey of holiness and openness”, Bishop Tarabay announced the jubilee year, 50 years (1973-2023) for the foundation of the Maronite Eparchy in Australia. This announcement includes the calendar of events for the jubilee year from 9 February 2023 on the Feast of St Maroun, to 8 December 2023 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception).
Bishop Tarabay has been a member of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference since 2013 and a member of the permanent committee of the ACBC since 2018. He is the first Eastern Catholic bishop to be elected to this role.
He is also a member of the Bishops’ Commission for the Plenary Council for the Church of Australia (2018-2022), a member of the Maronite Synod of Bishops, and President of the Council of the Eastern Catholic Bishops in Oceania.
Bishop Tarabay has authored Bioethics at the Crossroad of Religions and Maronite Church roots and Mission, as well as several theological and pastoral articles, and contributed to countless books and publications about the Maronite Church as well as Catholic Bioethics.
Third Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia – Emeritus Bishop Abikaram
Second Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia – Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hitti
1991 – 2002
First Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia – Bishop Abdo Khalife
1973 – 1991