Al-Rahi from Damascus: Reform Reached through Internal Efforts

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said on Saturday that reform in Syria is reached through internal efforts and dialogue, explaining that it cannot be imposed by any foreign interference.

“Reform is needed in every country but it should be pursued through internal cooperation,” al-Rahi stated during a mass he held at the Maronite Cathedral of Mar Antonios in Damascus.

He added: “Any role for the international community should not contradict with this“.

The patriarch expressed that his visit aims at expressing “sympathy with all those affected by the Syrian crisis, especially with Christians”.

“We came to pray for Syria's citizens and for the return of the refugees to their country,” he said.

Al-Rahi had arrived in Damascus on Saturday to attend the enthronement of Syria's Greek Orthodox leader, Yuhanna X Yazigi.

The ceremony for the new Greek Orthodox leader is to be held at 8:30 am (06:30 GMT) on Sunday at the Church of the Holy Cross in Qassaa, a central neighborhood of the conflict-hit Syrian capital.

Al-Rahi considered earlier during a telephone conversation with President Michel Suleiman that his visit to Syria is linked to spiritual and church reasons.

“I am going on the occasion of Saint Maroun day and to take part in the inauguration celebration of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch Youhanna al-Yaziji,” al-Rahi said.

The Patriarch hailed the president's stance from the visit to Syria.

Suleiman expressed after Saint Maroun mass in Gemayzeh his support to the visit, calling against politicizing it.

Al-Rahi's revelation came following a mass he held in the city of Tripoli on the occasion of Saint Maroun day.

Earlier An Nahar newspaper reported that the expected visit of al-Rahi would be the first for a Maronite patriarch since Lebanon's independence in 1943, after the visit carried out by the late Patriarch Antoun Arida during the French mandate.

Al-Rahi and many non-Orthodox patriarchs are expected to take part in the inauguration ceremony in a show of solidarity between the Christian churches in light of the conflict Syria is witnessing, the daily added.

However, some observers following up on this development highlighted the potential of a meeting that could take place following the ceremony between heads of the christian churches, the representatives and Syrian President Bashar Assad, a possibility not applauded by many Lebanese politicians.

Although a possible meeting with Assad has not been confirmed yet, it could raise controversy and complications even if it is listed as part of the protocol, the daily added.

The first reaction to al-Rahi's expected visit came late Friday, as the March 14 General Secretariat coordinator Fares Soaid expressed his rejection to it, saying it “could subject the Christians to danger.”

Comments 22
Thumb andre.jabbour 09 February 2013, 09:50

He's going to get his instructions. Poor Lebanon.

Missing peacelover 09 February 2013, 13:58

andre that was too harsh.But I agree that this is a political step that should be avoided,coz It will create a lot of controversy.

Default-user-icon Lebanese (Guest) 09 February 2013, 20:55

And the 30 years of instructions the future movement was receiving? you guys have selective memory

Thumb shab 09 February 2013, 12:26

Bad timming

Default-user-icon Fadd (Guest) 09 February 2013, 13:26

Why give a political signification to this visit? it is a pastoral move; the only thing that should be avoided is one on one meeting with Bashar. Rahi is not inconsiderate and will surely avoid it.

Missing peacelover 09 February 2013, 13:54

I hope he is consulting our 4 maronite leaders before taking a political step of that magnitude.They know more facts than we do.I pray for god to give him the wisdom to do the right thing.

Missing peacelover 09 February 2013, 14:09

If he actually does go to syria,which me as a maronite vote no.
It will be the biggest political decision ever to be taken by a priest.
he could be or not ,endangering a lot of christian lives and relations in the region.WISDOM.

Missing peacelover 09 February 2013, 14:14

Abouna al rahi,this message is for you.A lot of our sunni brothers will feel stabbed in the back.Please think carefully.Before hurting anybodys feelings.

Missing anonymetexasusa 09 February 2013, 20:34

Peacelover
If Al-Rahi visit is a show of solidarity with Syrian Christians, and to commemorate the big Orthodox event. Why would the Sunnis brothers feel stabbed in the back or hurt their feeling?
Is the simple solidarity, and acknowledgement of Christian presence in Syria now considered a stab in Sunnis back or an insult to them.
Don't tell me that Sunnis will take it as a tacit solidarity with Bashar. If they see it as such, it is they who have Bad intentions.

Missing peacelover 09 February 2013, 14:20

I beleive all the maronites in the world should vote before you can take such a dangerous step.you do not represent yourself alone Abouna.

Missing thatisit 09 February 2013, 14:59

abouna is walking on thin ice by visiting el sham at this time/ not sure how such a decision is made without carefully considering all the consequences both short and long term.

Thumb andre.jabbour 09 February 2013, 15:31

Oh, you're my soulmate.

Default-user-icon axan (Guest) 09 February 2013, 15:41

inchallah ymoot hownik ou ma yerjaa!

Missing helicopter 09 February 2013, 16:21

Unlike F.T, I predicted that he, karim, accordionman are going to condemn Rahi's meeting with Assad on the grounds that it is inappropriate to do so given the current events in Syria.... but I was wrong. F.T. teach me how to predict better next time. :>)

Missing mountian1 09 February 2013, 16:45

Abouna has to watch himself in Syria.I smell fish..

Thumb kanaandian 09 February 2013, 17:11

Syria is for him, not the towel head rebels or Assad

Default-user-icon Trueself (Guest) 09 February 2013, 17:11

I am not against a visit like this especially at this critical time when the Syrians are suffering from the internal war in their country. I am even for a meeting with Bashar in the hope that the Patriarch could ask Bashar to improve the living standard of his people while the war is raging. Many of the Syrians don’t even have food, let alone shelter. The patriarch’s visit could be classified as humanitarian and needed. I am not trying to politicize this visit. I am keeping it within its religion realm. In the Middle East, we need people in the center whose minds and souls are not full of hate and anger. The Patriarch is one of these who could play a role in cooling tempers and leading people to seek peace not war.

Default-user-icon Manronite Lebanese (Guest) 09 February 2013, 19:18

idiot why don't you shut the up who the hell are you to say to the head of the maronite where he can and cannot do it is not any your business

Default-user-icon Maronite lebanese (Guest) 09 February 2013, 19:26

to all of those stupid pupet people… why no one heard you talking when saad hariri went to syria and met with his old friend basher

Default-user-icon maronite lebanese (Guest) 09 February 2013, 22:37

this message is for you Naharnet - dont take side and publish only the comment that you like this is NOT journalism - journalism reflect the view of all - the reason i am saying that because of my 2 comments under the name Moronite Lebanese that you chose not to publish just because they don’t fit in your narrow mind - Shame on you this NOT what Jebran and Ghansan build - my email address lebanese@objectmail.com

Missing peacelover 10 February 2013, 02:09

josh,culture of killers,,were is assad on that list?how many lebanese and palestinians and syrians has he killed?under normal circumstances the sunnis should not be offended.but when 130 countries do not beleive he represent the syrians.they might see al rahis visit as legitamizing an isolated dictator,the wrong time for such a trip.NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

Missing pro-federation 10 February 2013, 08:31

hala2 sar kil 2a2ra3 bi libnen bi nazir 3al batrak
ndabo wle hebil