Beirut (Lebanon) - Lebanon has a specific vocation in fostering dialogue between civilizations and in the encounter between cultures, for the historical event that has made it more than just a crossroads between East and West. This was confirmed by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, on receiving a large group of delegates and partners of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) today in the Presidential Palace, at the conclusion of their meeting hosted in Beirut from 7 to 9 May at the Evangelical Center Dhour Chweir-Ain El Qassis
This year, the meeting placed at the center of common reflection the need to support political processes aimed at affirming, protecting and promoting human dignity. "Now more than ever" wrote Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako in a message sent to the meeting, "the Churches in the East need to unify their vision". During the work and study session, moderated by Maronite priest Rouphael Zgheib, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, the Reverend Habib Badr, President of the Evangelical Union, referred to Christ's descent to hell, underlining that after that event every Christian is called to descend "into the hell of human suffering, those of wars, of poverty and disease, to recognize and affirm the dignity of every human being even in those contexts. While Ziad El Sayegh, councilor of the MECC for politics and communication, reiterated that the Christian communities in the Middle East are called to come out of the misleading dialectics that read everything in terms of confrontation and contrast between "minorities" and "majorities".
Currently, the Secretary General of the Council of Churches of the Middle East is Lebanese professor Souraya Bechealany, a Maronite Christian, who in her speech also exposed the restructuring process undertaken in the MECC departments with the creation and launch of the theological-ecumenical department, and of the communication and public relations department.
Professor Souraya Bechealany teaches theology at the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth.
The Council of the Churches of the Middle East, founded in 1974 in Nicosia and currently based in Beirut, aims to facilitate the convergence of Middle Eastern Christian communities on topics of common interest and to favor the overcoming of confessions of a confessional nature. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2019)