ASIA/LEBANON - Tour of the Patriarchs of the Syro Churches among Lebanese political leaders

Friday, 22 January 2016 politics

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - Yesterday, the two Patriarchs of the Syro-Antiochene Churches - Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II and Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III - wanted to achieve together a round of consultations with the leaders of different national political forces, at a time when the political landscape of Lebanon appears moved by the surprising support offered by the Maronite Party of the Lebanese Forces with regards to the candidacy of former rival Michel Aoun to the office of President of the Republic.
During the talks, the two Primates of the Churches, accompanied by Bishops and collaborators showed concerns and suggestions regarding the crisis besetting the region - with particular reference to the suffering experienced by the Christian communities - and the institutional stalemate prevailing in the Country of the Cedars . The tour of patriarchal consultations began with Mohammad Raad, leader of the parliamentary representation of the Shiite party of Hezbollah, followed by meetings with former general Michel Aoun - leader of the Free Patriotic Movement -, with Samir Geagea (Lebanese Forces leader), with Fouad Siniora (representative of the Sunni party Future), with Sami Gemayel (leader of the Kataeb party) and President of the Lebanese Parliament, the Shiite Nabih Berri.
According to the delicate institutional system in Lebanon, the office of President of the Republbica is reserved to a Maronite Christian. In all the meetings, the joint delegation of the Syro Churches expressed hope that Lebanon will soon elect a president, in order to get out of the political vacuum and the institutional paralysis that has lasted for 18 months. The new President – hoped the two Primates and those present – will have to protect the rights of different religious denominations. In this regard - reports a statement issued by the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate - the two Patriarchs have asked all their political interlocutors that at least one seat in the Lebanese parliament is reserved for each of the two Syrian church communities. This request - said the statement, sent to Fides - also received the full support of Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rai. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 22/01/2016)