Al-Rahi from Damascus: Reform Reached through Internal Effortsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
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.”