His Life


Patriarch Elias Howayek


Patriarch Elias Howayek was the son of Hilta, a small village in the North of Lebanon. Born towards the end of December in the year 1843, he was the eldest of seven children, three boys and four girls. His father was the priest Tadros Abboud Howayek, known as Father Boutros, married to Ghorra Tannous Howayek. Both were from the same village. The boy Elias received the sacrament of baptism on 5th January in the year 1844 in the Church of Our Lady. His first school was under the village oak tree.

Patriarch Elias Howayek was born into a home that was poor and humble, yet filled with honesty and good character. He was raised in the house of a priest, relying on God, worshipping God, in a family typical of many in Batroun which lived within their means and in the fear of God, asking for nothing more than to do God’s will. He was brought up well, in a spirit of piety and love of truth and good works, and he grew up into an upright, trustworthy and modest young man. His father’s main concern was to educate his children, for education was the one thing he could pass on to them, and which would enable them to profit from opportunities and allow for their future well-being. From under the village oak tree to Kfarhey (1851) the vocation to the priesthood was nurtured, and after studies in Ghazir (1859) it found its fulfillment in Rome (1866). This was the journey of Elias Howayek prior to his ordination to the priesthood on 5th June in the year 1870.

Upon completing his theological studies, he returned to Lebanon on 9th August, 1870. Patriarch Massaad appointed him as his private secretary in 1872. On 14th December 1889, he was consecrated Bishop with the title of Arca and the function of Auxiliary to the Patriarch. On 7th January 1899, he was elected Patriarch of the Maronite Church. He passed away in the peace of the Lord on Christmas Eve, 24th December, 1931.

« Divine Providence looks after all things,

for its Greater Glory.

I request from you that you remember me

in your prayers,

that I may remain

the son of this Divine Providence »

Letter of Elias Howayek to his father dated 6th March 1868

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