The Melkite story goes back to the beginning of Christianity itself. The Melkites, or Byzantine (Greek) Catholics of Middle Eastern origin, are descendants of the early Christians of Antioch (cf. Acts 11:26). As Rome was the most powerful city in early Western Europe and spread her manner of worship throughout the surrounding area, so too the Greek capital, Constantinople (originally called Byzantium), spread her traditions and customs to the countries closest to her. Therefore, our Church uses the Byzantine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Today the term Melkite is used to refer to those Catholics whose ancestry is Middle Eastern and who follow the Byzantine Tradition in worship, theology, and spirituality.


In the Western world our Church is called Melkite Greek-Catholic (Grec Melchite Catholique). In the Middle East we are generally known as Room Katuleek, literally "Roman Catholic", just as those whom we call Antiochian or Greek Orthodox here are known as Room Orthodox ("Roman Orthodox") there. However the Rome they are referring to in these titles is not the Rome in Italy, but Constantinople, which the ancients called New Rome. Those whom North Americans call Roman Catholics are known as Lateen (Latins) in the Middle East.

An explanation of the names Melkite, Greek, and Byzantine follows:

MELKITE: The term comes from the Semitic words for king, "melko" or "melek". The king in this case was the Byzantine emperor who supported the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon, held in 451. The opponents of this council, most of whom were in the Middle East, called its supporters "The Royalists" (Malikiyeen). So the name, which today refers to the Byzantine Catholics of the Middle East, originally was an insult aimed at all Christians, both Eastern and Western, who supported the Council of Chalcedon.

GREEK ("ROOM" in Arabic): This word refers to the spiritual tradition of the Greek Fathers which our Church follows. At the time of Christ, Greek was the spoken language in the major cities of the Middle East. The New Testament and the writings of the most important Church Fathers were composed in Greek. In contrast, people in the rural areas spoke Aramaic or Syriac until the Muslim conquest.

BYZANTINE: The word refers to the city of "New Rome" originally known as Byzantium. It is chiefly known in history as Constantinople, the "city of Constantine". Its present name is Istanbul, the Turkish pronunciation of the Greek words for "to the city". Our Church follows the ritual of the Great Church of Constantinople for the Divine Liturgy.


We are governed by a successor of the Apostles in the person of His Beatitude Gregory III Laham, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem. He presently resides in Damascus, Syria. We relate directly to him and to the Holy Synod of Melkite Bishops throughout the world.

Our Diocese, the Eparchy of Saint Sauveur, covers all of Canada.  It was shepherded by the late Bishop Sleiman Hajjar who went to his eternal reward on March 10 2002. He was appointed bishop of Canada on June 30, 1998, consecrated a bishop on August 6, 1998 by Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, Archbishop Michel Hakim, and Bishop Issam Darwish, at the Holy Saviour Monastery near Sidon, Lebanon, and installed as Eparch on September 12, 1998.
His address is: 34 Maplewood/ Montreal, Quebec/ H2V-2M1.

(Our former Eparch was Archbishop Michel Hakim. He was born on April 21, 1921 in Maghdoucheh, Lebanon. He was ordained a priest on November 10, 1947 and a bishop on Sepember 10, 1977. Prior to being appointed the Archbishop of Canada, he was the Archbishop of Sidon, Lebanon.)



Father Malatios Mufleh of the Basilian Salvatorian Order (B.S.O.) was sent to Ottawa from the Holy Saviour Monastery in Joun, Lebanon (near Sidon). Eight months later, he was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio.

The following priests who served at St. Saviour Parish in Montreal during this period visited the community of Ottawa on occasion. They attended to the spiritual needs of this small community at that time:

The late Archimandrite Simon Nasr, B.S.O.
The late Archimandrite Maximos Chataoui, B.S.O.
The late Father Beshara Thalge. B.S.O.
The late Archimandrite Gregory Abboud. B.S.O.
Father Theophile Atalla, B.S.O.
Archimandrite Cyrill Haddad, B.S.O.
Father Elias Kwaiter, B.S.O.

June 5, 1958
Father Elias Kwaiter conducted a petition, signed by all the families concerned and presented it to the Archbishop of Ottawa, His Excellency Marie-Joseph Lemieux, requesting he grant them a church with a residing priest.

During part of this most trying period in our parish history, the late Elias Karam (deceased March 30, 1958) was a stable and constant guiding force for our community.

September 1959
The Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Msgr. Gelineau requested a definite answer from the Superior General of St. Saviour, Lebanon "concerning a priest to be exclusively at the service of the Ottawa people."

December 1959
Father Theophile Atalla was designated resident priest for the Ottawa community and was transferred here from Montreal, March 1, 1960.

Father Atalla celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the basement of the Basilica on Sussex Drive and at our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church on Murray Street (since destroyed by fire) for several months until the opening of our own church.

June 2, 1961
An offer of $65,000.00 was made to the Reverend Canon Guidon, Bursar of the Archdiocese, to purchase the church and rectory previously known as Our Lady of the Presentation at 1161 Riverside Drive, Ottawa.

July 10
This offer was accepted and finally approved by the Metropolitan Chapter of the Archdiocese.

The church was purchased.

November 23
The church of Sts. Peter & Paul opened her doors and was a spiritual Centre for all who gathered and prayed there. The parishionners and many friends donated most of the material and over 30,000 hours of free labor to complete the necessary repairs and renovations.

1962 November 25
The church was officially inaugurated by His excellency Reverend Windle, Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa.

1964 September 14
The parish was canonically rected and Father Atalla officially named as founder and first pastor of Sts.Peter & Paul Church.

1969 August
Father Atalla left the parish for Rome.

September 26
Father Habib Kwaiter, B.S.O., was appointed temporay administrator of the Ottawa parish and was transferred here from Montreal on October 1.

1970 January 1
Father Habib Kwaiter was officially named pastor.

1971 November 21
The 10th Anniversary of the foundation of the parish, the community celabrates the Burning of the church mortgage by His Excellency Joseph AurŠle Plourde, Archbishop of Ottawa, and the Elevation of Father Kwaiter to the rank of Economos.

1978 January 20
A loan was requested by the parish from the Archdiocese towards the construction of a new church.

July 31
The Archdiocese approved a loan of $375,000.00. This amount represented half the total budget, i.e., $750,000.00. This was also approved by the members of the Metropolitan Chapter.

October 12
According to the architect's revised estimates, the cost of the new project was to be $900,000.00

October 13
Msgr. Plourde gave the authorization for the project to be undertaken.

May 20
Breaking of the Ground Ceremony.

July 15
The construction began.

1980 March 30
Palm Sunday, the opening ceremony and the first Solemn Liturgy was celebrated in our new church by the Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph Raya. There was a tremendous crowd that day and one evidenced a sense of great pride, satisfaction and deep joy among our people.

July 15
Marked the end of the demolition of the old church and rectory.

1981 April 6
The first Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Most Archbishop Michel Hakim, Apostolic Exarch of the Melkites in Canada.

Newly appointed Archbishop Michel Hakim's first official visit to the Church. Divine Liturgy attended by the Apostolic Nuncio His Excellency Angelo Palmas, and His Excellency Joseph A. Plourde, Archbishop of Ottawa.

June 28
The 20th Anniversary celebration and OFFICIAL DEDICATION CEREMONY...May God be glorified for ever and ever, AMEN.


Exarch Habib Kwaiter
Exarch Habib Kwaiter, BSO

 50 years of Holy Priesthood (1949-1999)

Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Church

July 28, 1924 - Born in Damascus, Syria, to Ibrahim and Marie Kwaiter. Made his elementary studies at the Lazaristes Sisters and the Patriarchal College in Damascus.
September 21, 1936 - Entered the Seminary of the Holy Savior Monastery, Saida, Lebanon, and was given the name of Justin.
August 15, 1942 - Professed first religious vows, and solemn vows on 30 April 1946 and became a member of the the Basilian Salvatorian Order (B.S.O.)
July 24, 1949 - Ordained priest by the Archbishop of Saida, His Excellency Basil Khoury after he completed his courses in Philosophy and Theology.
1949-1952 - Teacher of French, Greek and Music in the Seminary and Supervisor for the boarding school at Holy Savior Monastery.
1952-1957 - Principal of the "Youssoufia" school in Cairo, Egypt.
1957-1965 - Principal of the "Greek Catholic" school in Alexandria, Egypt, until June 1965.
August 24, 1965 - Arrived in Montreal, Canada, to assist Msgr. George Coriaty in St. Sauveur Parish.
September 26, 1969 - Nominated administrator of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish in Ottawa.
January 1, 1970 - Nominated Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish in Ottawa. November 21, 1971 - Elevated to the rank of "Economos" by His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim on the occasion of the full payment and burning of the church mortgage by His Exc. Joseph-Aurčle Plourde, Archbishop of Ottawa.
March 30, 1980 - Erected the new Sts. Peter & Paul complex.
June 28, 1981 - Dedicated the new church.
November 25, 1986 - Celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the Parish.
July 1, 1992 - Received the Governor General of Canada Award.
June 24, 1994 - Elevated to the Rank of Patriarchal Exarch.
August 28, 1994 - Received the Cedar of Lebanon Medal Award, and celebrated the Silver Jubilee of service to the Parish.


Father François Beyrouti
The Beyrouti Family

Born: 1971, Hadeth-Beirut, Lebanon
Parents: Elias and Maggy
Brothers: Late Joseph and Anthony
Emmigrated to Canada: May 11, 1976


Lector and Sub-Deacon: May 30, 1995
Deacon: June 29, 1997
Priest: October 4, 1998
- St. Edmund's Elementary School, North Vancouver, B.C.: 1976-1984
- St. Thomas Aquinas High School, North Vancouver.B.C.: 1984-1989
- Seminary of Christ the King, Mission, B.C. (Bachelor in Arts): 1989-1993
- Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul University, Ottawa: (B.Th., E.C.S., Civil and Ecclesiastical) 1993-1996
- St. Paul University: Graduate Studies in Scripture: (M.A. & L.Th.) 1996-1998


Sts. Peter & Paul Melkite Church's Economic Council is comprised of parish members who volunteer their time and experience to assist the church leaders direct the finances of the parish, as required by our Diocese, the Eparchy of Saint Sauveur.

The Council's primary objective is to review all disbursements of the church operation, which includes facility management, capital improvements and beautification, as well as fund raising, and to present alternatives and recommendations based on the collection of information. The goal of the Economic Council is to assist the Church leaders in making sound financial decisions based on pre-established policies and procedures, in hopes of maintaining the long-term viability of the Church operation.

Although the Economic Council fills a consultative role, all final decisions are ultimately made by the Church leaders.

May 25-26, 1981 - The visit of our Patriarch Maximos V Hakim.


St. Theresa's Women's Sodality is an independent non-profit benevolent group, which is made up women who are also parishioner's of Sts. Peter & Paul Melkite Church. The ladies of St. Theresa raise funds and host events aimed at assisting local needy charities, as well as volunteering time to help build community in our parish.

St. Theresa's can be contacted by mail or telephone at:
1161 River Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1K 3W5
Telephone: 746-6091 Fax: 749-7396


President: Abla Njaim
Secretary: Samiha Karam
Treasurer: Salwa Saab
Houda Abboudy
Mona Abdelnour
Lodi Awad
Aida Baliki
Nahia Bolos
Souad Dourian
Nadia Hatoum
Therese Kouri
Dounia Monsour
Berthilia Nehme
Mona Obagi
Radia Rached
Souad Saab

June 9, 1981 - The Visit of His Beatitude Ignace Antoine II Hayek, Syrian Catholic Patriarch.


The Melkite Catholic Young Adults Organization is the official independent body representing the young adults of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Ottawa. The group offers its members the opportunity to gather at regular spiritual, social and cultural activities.


President: Chaza Nasrallah
Vice-President: Sally Harik
Secretary: Philippe Maalouf
Treasurer: Chris Obagi
Cultural Officer: Diana Maalouf
Pastoral Officer: Philippe Maalouf
Public Relations Officer: Rabih Raffoul
Social Officer: Diana Maalouf
Sports Officer: Joe Ibrahim