Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch for Maronites (Lebanon), was born on May 15, 1920 in Reyfoun in the Maronite Diocese of Sarba, Lebanon.
He was educated at the school in Mar-Abda Harharaya from 1933 to 1936.
He attended the Saint-Maron Seminary in Gahzir, Lebanon (1937-1939) for his secondary studies, and then the Major Seminary at St Joseph's University in Beirut (1940-1943).
He studied philosophy and theology at the theological faculty of St Joseph's University from 1944 to 1950.
He was ordained a priest on May 7, 1950, and appointed curate of the parish of Reyfoun and secretary of the Diocese of Damas, an office he held from 1950 to 1956. Also, from 1956 to 1961, he was secretary to the Maronite Patriarchate.
From 1951 to 1961 he taught literature and Arabic philosophy and translation at the College of the Marist Fathers in Jounieh.
Elected to the titular Church of Tarsus for Maronites, he was named Patriarchal Vicar General on June 19, 1961 and confirmed on June 23. He was ordained Bishop on the following July 16.
Appointed Patriarchal Administrator to Antoine Pierre Khoraiche, then Archbishop of Saida (1974-1975), he was subsequently named councillor of the Commission for the Revision of Canon Law in 1980.
In 1977 he was made representative of the president of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon for Caritas-Lebanon, and in 1980 he was appointed spiritual advisor to the Order of Malta.
He was elected Patriarch on April 19, 1986 and took possession on April 27, 1986.
He has taken part in three General Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops between 1986 and 1994.
His works include Des sources de l'Evangile,1975; Des visages qui ne sont plus, vol. I, 1983; vol. II, 1984; Sunday Homilies, translated into various languages.
He was formerly president of the Assembly of Patriarchs and Catholic Bishops in Lebanon and head of the Synod of the Maronite Church, resigning from this post on Febuary 26, 2011.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of November 26, 1994.
Congregation for the Oriental Churches;
Special Council for Lebanon of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.