Pope Hails Sfeir as 'Craftsman of Peace, Defender of Sovereignty'
Pope Francis has hailed late former Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir as a craftsman of peace and “ardent defender of the sovereignty and independence of his country.”
“I address my warm condolences to you, as well as to his family and to all the faithful of the Patriarchal Church of Antioch of the Maronites, whom he governed for many years with as much gentleness as determination,” Pope Francis wrote in a May 14 cable to Sfeir’s successor, Beshara al-Rahi.
Francis called Sfeir “a free and courageous man,” saying he was “a decisive craftsman of gathering, peace and reconciliation. Ardent defender of the sovereignty and independence of his country, he will remain a great figure in the history of Lebanon.”
“I ask the Father of all mercy to welcome to his home of peace and light this wise and committed pastor who showed the love of God to the people who had been entrusted to him,” the pope added.