ASIA/LEBANON - Maronite Patriarch Rai: united also with Hezbolllah to block the road to the infiltration of the ISIL

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites Bechara Boutros Rai said he was ready to meet soon the leader of Hezbollah Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in order to address together the growing concerns about possible infiltrations in Lebanon of the threat posed by jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that proclaimed the Caliphate in the regions which have fallen under their control in Syria and Iraq. The willingness to meet with the leader of the Lebanese Shiite Party was expressed by the Patriarch on Wednesday, August 20, during statements released to the Lebanese National News Agency at the airport in Beirut, while Cardinal Rai was leaving for Erbil where he is participating in the visit to Iraqi refugees by a delegation of leaders of the Christian Churches of the East which includes Greek Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III and Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. In the statements released at the airport, Patriarch Rai criticized the superpowers and the Arab Countries that did not intervene in aid of the Christians who were put to flight by the militia of the Islamic State. With regards to the relations with Hezbollah, Patriarch Rai stressed that "A Dialogue Committee between Bkerké (the seat of the Patriarchate, ed) and Hezbollah already exists, and we are ready to hold meetings in this regard". The Primate of the Maronite Church also called on the entire Lebanese people to "unite and take responsibility, in order to face together the great danger of the ISIL which has begun to penetrate in Lebanon". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 20/08/2014)