Harb Warns Against Politicizing al-Rahi's Visit to Damascusإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Batroun MP Butros Harb expressed fears on Sunday that the Assad regime would use the pastoral visit of Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi to Damascus to meet political objectives.
“It's a pastoral visit made by the patriarch with the aim of consolidating Maronite-Orthodox cooperation,” Harb said.
“But I am afraid that this visit would be used politically … by the Syrian regime to give the impression that the Maronite patriarch supports one team against the other in Syria,” Harb told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5).
He also expressed fears that the Maronite church would be pushed into the Syrian crisis.
Al-Rahi made a two-day visit to Damascus on Saturday - the first by a Maronite patriarch since Syrian and Lebanese independence in 1943 - during which he presided mass at Saint Anthony's Cathedral in the Christian district of Bab Tuma.
On Sunday, he attended the enthronement of Greek Orthodox leader Youhanna X Yazigi at the Church of the Holy Cross in Qassaa, a central neighborhood of the conflict-ridden Syrian capital.
Harb, a member of the March 14 opposition alliance, expressed regret that Maronites in Lebanon were not united.
“I don't think that Maronites would be okay if they keep putting themselves in constant conflicts,” he told VDL.
“The Maronite base is in loss” over divisions among political officials, he said.