Audeh Urges MPs to Elect President, Calls for Revolt against Negligenceإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Beirut Elias Audeh condemned on Sunday the ongoing vacancy in the presidency, questioning the motives of lawmakers in the failure to elect a head of state following 21 electoral sessions.
He said during Easter Sunday mass: “If you truly represent the people, then you should elect a president. You have a holy duty to elect a head of state as soon as possible.”
“Is the election of a president so difficult?” he wondered from St. George Cathedral in Beirut.
“Aren't there any more responsible individuals in Lebanon who can steer the country away from its plight? The nation is more important than interests and tutelage to foreign powers,” he continued.
“The nation is more important than the pursuit of power,” Audeh declared.
“I call on all sides to rebel against this reality, political feudalism, and ignorance. I call on all to return to their conscience,” he stated.
“I call for adopting knowledge in the face of ignorance, light against darkness, and morality against immorality,” he added.
Addressing the rise of Islamic extremism in the region, the archbishop said: “We must stand united to avert the regional unrest from reaching our country.”
“Some civilizations are facing the threat of extinction due to extremism. Is the destruction of places of worship and signs of civilization a form of religion?” he wondered.
“Religion is not a political ideology, but the belief in God,” Audeh emphasized.
“Extremism and the persecution of the other will destroy the soul and tarnish religion,” he noted.
Turning to Muslims, he said: “You should stand firmly against waves of takfiris and extremism. Only God will be my judge.”
“If Christians are driven out of the region, what identity will the East have without them? Everyone knows that Christians are deep-rooted in this region. Is an East lacking in religious diversity capable of interacting with the West?” he asked in reference to the persecution of minorities at the hands of the Islamic State extremist group.
He therefore emphasized the need to respect the beliefs of others and the need to safeguard this principle.
“Real faith should not be a reason for division. Only those who believe in God can save the nation and a real believer cannot live isolated from other groups,” he remarked.
Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.
Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the polls.