Al-Rahi, Meqdad Exchange Words during Yazigi's Enthronement in Damascus

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Greek Orthodox leader Youhanna X Yazigi was on Sunday enthroned in Damascus during a ceremony that was attended by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and the Syrian deputy foreign minister.

The ceremony took place at the Church of the Holy Cross in Qassaa, a central neighborhood of the conflict-hit Syrian capital.

Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, was also among the top spiritual officials present at the mass.

TV footage showed al-Rahi and Laham speaking with Syrian Deputy FM Faisal al-Mekdad as he entered the church to attend the ceremony.

Presidential Affairs Minister Mansour Azzam, a key adviser to Bashar Assad, was among ministers representing the embattled government.

Snipers deployed on the rooftops around the church and guests bearing official invitations were whisked through metal detectors at the door, but their chauffeurs were prohibited from parking, and throngs of devotees had to watch the liturgy on a giant screen outside.

Al-Rahi said after Yazigi's enthronement that he came to Damascus at a difficult time to confirm his solidarity with the “wounded” Syrian people.

“You have been chosen at a difficult time in Syria,” he told the Greek Orthodox patriarch. “We stress unity and love among us.”

“We are all brothers and sisters and we should preserve the life of humans,” he said.

Discussions on reform and democracy cannot be compared with the blood shed by a single person in Syria, he added.

In remarks to LBCI, al-Rahi denied that his visit had a political aspect.

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.

During a mass he held at the Maronite Cathedral of St. Anthony in Damascus' Christian district of Bab Tuma on the occasion of St. Maroun, al-Rahi said: “Any role for the international community should not contradict with this.”

"We pray each day for the end of war and violence and that a unanimous peace may be achieved through cooperation,” he stated.

His visit -- the first by a Maronite patriarch since Syrian and Lebanese independence in 1943 -- comes as the revolt against Assad's regime nears the two-year mark.

Yazigi was chosen as the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East on December 17, replacing Ignatius IV Hazim who died earlier in the same month.

After his enthronement, Yazigi said: “Anything that harms Lebanon or Syria would affect all of us deeply.”

“We salute Lebanese President Michel Suleiman,” he said.

He also thanked Assad and said: “We hope that Syria would find a peaceful political solution so that violence ends and the country returns to stability and peace.”

Comments 13
Missing phalangistes 10 February 2013, 10:07

This patriarch is the shame of the Lebanese Christians!

Missing 10 February 2013, 10:23

That is taking it too far. I may not like it and it may be used by the regime for propaganda. Sometimes you simply get cornered.

Missing ghzayel 10 February 2013, 15:57

strange patriarch indeed!!!!!!!

a similar inaugural ceremony is going to be held in st nicolas church in beirut in the coming days , so ya batrak and with all due respects of course, what are you doing in syria mingling with syrian regime officials involved in a controversial and bloody war against the majority of their own people??????????

Missing 10 February 2013, 12:03

You talk about freedom but you support some of the most brutal regimes in the world whose support of terror is state policy.

Missing 10 February 2013, 12:10

When did Geagea party with wahabis? Or is lying part of the course with you. And for the record, the overwhelming majority of wahabis (they refer to themselves as salafis and people like you denegrate them as wahabi) are peace loving and struggle to live their lives and raise their families the best they can as all of us do.

Missing 10 February 2013, 12:12

M8 self-righteousness!

Missing mansour 10 February 2013, 12:15

my only response to all your comments is simple.
Long Live The Syrian Civil War!

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 10 February 2013, 13:42

we officially entered the civil war in syria,it is sad to say that rahi is helping assir.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 10 February 2013, 16:22

rahi officially brought the syrian crisis to lebanon,i dont care if the administrator will put this comment at least he read my point of view its worse than the ain el remmaneh bus,because its a silent killer virus.bibi elections.

Missing 10 February 2013, 16:50

FT - how many salafists do you know? I am telling you this as a secular person to the core that believe that religeous parties and polical currents (whether hiz, MB or extremes like qaeda or mahdi army) are symptoms of something deeply wrong in society.

Missing 10 February 2013, 16:57

Yes Josh. That is why as a hatefull sunni, I am married to a Catholic from spain and I named one of my sons manuel. You are a bigoted idiot who knows nothing about history. But let me ask you couple of questions about history. After the spanish reconquest of spain, how many muslims and jews were allowed to remain? After the reconquest of coastal syria, lebanon and palestine by the muslims, how come we continued to have substantial christian communities?

Missing 10 February 2013, 18:49


Default-user-icon munjk (Guest) 10 February 2013, 22:52

Maybe the Cardinal does not mean to send any political message but just likes to be in the headlines.