Bishop Robert Rabbat was born in Beirut on 14 February 1960. He studied at the Collège des Frères de La Salle (De La Salle Brothers) and because of the 1975 disturbances in Lebanon, he finished his senior year of schooling at Ashrafieh High School.
In 1979, he travelled to the United States where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and another Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He worked in the chemical industry and management (water desalination) with several multinational companies, and was responsible for operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In 1989, Bishop Robert entered Saint Paul’s Institute for Theology and Philosophy in Lebanon as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Beirut. He graduated in 1994 with a double Licentiate in Philosophy and Theology.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1994 by the late Archbishop Habib Basha of Beirut. (Memory Eternal!) Prior to returning to the USA, he was assigned to the Church of St Anthony the Great in Ashrafieh, Lebanon. He arrived in the United States in August 1995, and served at the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Hammond, Indianna.
In 1997, he received a Masters in Communication from Perdue University in Indianna. In addition to his pastoral work, the then eparch of the United States, Bishop John Adel Elya, appointed Father Robert as editor-in-chief of the Melkite diocesan magazine, Sophia. In 2000, he took up a pastoral appointment at St John the Baptist Church (Northlake, Illinois) and Holy Saviour Mission (Oak Lawn, Illinois).
He was nominated to the Board of Directors of Télé-Lumière International in 2003 and accepted the position with the blessing of his bishop. Based in Lebanon, Télé-Lumière International, is the paramount Christian television broadcaster in the Middle East. It is greatly committed to the promotion of harmonious relations between the various ethno-religious communities of the region especially Christian and Muslim. In 2004, he was elected as
Vice- President of the Board of Directors
During his time in Northlake, his keen interest in matters ecumenical led him to initiate an active relationship between the four Antiochioan Churches in the Metro-Chicago area – Antiochian Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Maronite and Melkite. These faith communities came together in sharing social and spiritual events; and in as much as possible in our present situation did so in fulfilment of our Lord’s Prayer that his followers should be one church.
In 2005, Father Robert was appointed Rector of the cathedral of the Annunciation, Boston, and was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite. On 25 June 2010, the Holy Synod of the Melkite Church elected him to the episcopate. His appointment as Eparch of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church in Australia and New Zealand was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI on 14 June 2011.
Bishop-Elect Robert Rabbat received episcopal consecration at the Church of St John Chrysostom in Beirut, on
16 September 2011. The principal consecrator was His Beatitude, Gregory III Laham, the Patriarch of Antioch, who was assisted by Archbishop Cyril Boustros and Archbishop Issam John Darwish.
The Most Reverend Robert Rabbat, the third Melkite Catholic Eparch of Australia and New Zealand, was enthroned in the Cathedral Church of St Michael the Archangel, Darlington, New South Wales, on 8 October 2011.
Bishop Rabbat is a member of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and is a member of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations.
Bishop Robert Rabbat is currently the President of the Conference of Bishops and Representatives of the Middle Eastern Apostolic Churches in Australia and New Zealand.