French-born Monsignor Nicolas Lhernould has been named the new Bishop of Constantine at Saint Vincent-de-Paul Cathedral in Tunisia on Saturday, 8th February, making him the youngest French Catholic bishop in history.
The last episcopal ordination in Tunisia dates back to 1962, six years after independence, which took place in Carthage Cathedral - which has since been turned to a cultural centre.
Fifteen bishops and sixty priests attended the ceremony, surrounded by hundreds of Christians. Bishop Lhernould expressed his happiness especially with the "impressive" presence of the representatives of the churches from Algeria and Morocco.
"We wanted to celebrate in a family manner, and that exceeded all our expectations," he said.
The 44-year-old bishop said he was looking forward to learning from God and the people of Tunisia.
North Africa was considered an influential Christian region in the first centuries. Today, Tunisia is home to a small Catholic community mainly consisting of those from other countries, who came either from sub-Saharan Africa to study or look for a better life, or from Europe looking for jobs.
With a Catholic minority in a predominantly Muslim region, the Bishop of Constantine intends "to make himself a place of welcome, to receive instruction and message from God and from others, and to listen, in the company of all, to the Holy Spirit who makes everything new."