Father Andre YS Mahanna is uniquely qualified to speak on the topic of religious freedom in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the United States. A friend of freedom, Fr. Andre has informed and advised the U.S. Administration and members of Congress on these issues at home and abroad. He was an honored guest of President Donald J. Trump for the signing of the executive order on religious freedom at the White House on the National Day of Prayer, May 4, 2017, and has been invited back to this event as one of 40 select religious leaders every year since then.
In November 2017, Fr. Andre was elected the North American Councilor of the Apostolic Union of Clergy, a Vatican-associated office, and continues to serve as U.S. president. Fr. Andre is also the Founder and President of the Apostolate of Our Lady of Hope/St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy. He served on the Vatican’s 2010 Synod on the Middle East, helping deliver the document “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente”.
He grew up in war-torn Lebanon. As a boy accompanying his father on government trips to Muslim and Christian regions, he heard stories of religion-based crimes by both groups. At 10, his family with other families escaped Christian massacres by living in caves in Mount Lebanon. His bed was a Phoenician tomb. By age 12, he had decided to become a Maronite Catholic monk. It was then that concern for precisely what the world is experiencing now – famine and massacre of women and children – gave him the resolve to address ecumenism and inter-faith understanding and to devote his life’s work to be an instrument of peace.
A citizen of the United States, Fr. Andre is fluent in seven languages and understands twelve. Educated in Rome, France, and the U.S.A., he addresses the hard realities of genocide, persecution, and violence in the Middle East. He is a popular speaker and has authored many articles focused on the unity of Christians, religious freedom, and the biblical foundation of Judeo-Christian values and traditions.
An opera-trained vocalist, Fr. Andre, known simply as “Abouna”, is a recognized thought-leader on the historical, religious, social, and cultural complexities of the many regions that comprise the Middle East and North Africa. He is a trusted friend of many international faith leaders including Orthodox and Catholic bishops, cardinals, patriarchs, and popes as well as Protestant pastors, Jewish rabbis, and Muslim imams. He works tirelessly to encourage American leaders to keep God in the public square and to defend religious freedom at home and abroad so that all might live in peace, love, and conviviality for the glory and honor of God.