Suleiman Reportedly Urges Rahi Not to Visit Jerusalem, Patriarch 'Doesn't Mind' Christian Pilgrimage

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

President Michel Suleiman has told Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi that it was preferable for him not to visit the Holy Land later this month over local controversy on the planned trip, As Safir daily reported on Friday.

The newspaper said that Suleiman preferred during the talks held on Thursday at Baabda Palace that “such a visit not take place amid the division over it.”

The president also “expressed readiness to provide the political cover to any stance made by the Maronite patriarchate to go back on the decision to hold the controversial visit,” it said.

But al-Rahi reportedly defended his decision to accompany Pope Francis to Jerusalem and hinted that he would not change his mind.

According to the report, he also said he did not mind for Lebanese pilgrims to visit the Holy Land in the future.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Thursday al-Rahi was not part of the official delegation heading to the Holy Land and was going on his own initiative.

Al-Rahi would be the first patriarch to enter Israel since the Jewish state was created in 1948.

Reports said Friday that the patriarch also told Suleiman that it was unacceptable not to have a president at Baabda Palace after the end of his tenure on May 25.

Al-Rahi also met on Thursday with Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea in Bkirki.

Informed officials told An Nahar newspaper that the patriarch expressed frustration at the lawmakers who are boycotting the parliamentary sessions on the election of a president.

“They are pushing the country towards vacuum,” the officials, who were not identified, quoted him as saying.

The lawmakers that al-Rahi was allegedly referring to are members of the March 8 alliance, including MPs from Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc.

Geagea is the March 14 alliance's only candidate. But March 8, which has not officially backed any candidate, has been boycotting the parliamentary sessions on the election of a president.

Comments 10
Default-user-icon kazan (Guest) 09 May 2014, 09:38

Lebanon as is cannot survive .Politicions please seriously consider Northern Lebanon as independent country and Southern Lebanon as another independent country, subsequently let people decide themselves where they want to live .

Thumb sophia_angle 09 May 2014, 09:59

Jerusalem is a holy land for all so it should be under UN's control

Missing phillipo 09 May 2014, 13:56

Just remember though -
For the Jews it is their holiest city
For the Christians - their holiest together with Bethlehem.
For Islam - ONLY their third holiest, after Mecca and Medina.
Who were their over time -
First - The Jews
Second - The Christians
Third - The Moslems.

Thumb FlameCatcher 09 May 2014, 13:44

Ya Suleiman, I'm not even a Maronite but al Rahi has the right to visit whichever territory on earth he wishes to. Al Rahi is one of the last bastions of the Christians of the East and must reaffirm their position in this region by defying the enemy state of Israel and going there irrespective of the political situation.

I hate what religion has done to this country. It destroyed all sense of national identity and is the main (fake) cause of wars. Maybe its time for religious institutions to play a role in breaking down barriers and fixing what our politicians have fought to destroy for so long.

Maybe its time for fake religious figures such as Pseudo Sayyed / Cheikh Hassan Nasrallah to disappear and let the true messages of all religions, PEACE / ISLAM / LOVE take over !

Such figures couldn't be further away from "religion" and have hijacked the true meaning and purpose of religion to fuel wars, hatred, crimes and wealth !

Missing cedars 09 May 2014, 14:02

Abbas is jumping from joy for al r3i visit,meanwhile Al ra3i told Suleiman it is unacceptable to have Baabda without a president post may 25.
How about al ra3i invites all his Maronite politicians and make them choose one for baabda palace, otherwise they remain sleeping at his place until the white smoke comes out.

Missing hajjradwan 09 May 2014, 15:23

For once the guy's focusing on the spiritual, let him be.

Thumb -phoenix1 09 May 2014, 15:58

Mr. President, despite the fact that I am one of your devoted supporters, this time Sir I cannot but disagree with you. Let His Eminence go to where he needs to go, he hasn't done anything illegal and we shan't live under anyone's shadows anymore.

Missing godhelpus 09 May 2014, 18:47

Dear Batrak,
God be with you. Semper Fidelis.

Default-user-icon Illusionist (Guest) 10 May 2014, 00:49

@ Phoenix1, i respect your point of views that are equitable and based on true convictions. Nonetheless i dont understand why you keep answering people like ibnblabla and others that keep teasing you with fake profiles and similar names as yours. these people are here out of hatred. As for @flamethrower, i can see you get along well with phoenix1 on certain matters although i can understand that your point of views differ. I am glad to see that opposing camps can agree. You both should stick together developping your elaborated views that are not always the same but nonethless constructive and respectful without paying attention to other insects. Do not take it as an order or as someone trying to impose rather take it as an advice from a fellow patriot that is happy to see opposing camps argue but respectfully

Default-user-icon Illusionist (Guest) 10 May 2014, 00:52

@ All, to come back to the subject, president Sleiman is someone that has earned the respect of many lebanese by his class and his devotion for his country. Nonetheless, he is not a strong president and didnt chose to be a confrontationnal one although he knows deep inside he is more confortable with march 14th than march 8th. Rahi's visit is nobody's business and no one has the right to stop him from visiting any country in the world for religious purposes. In fact, his courageous stance must be a lesson and also maronites must be reunited at bkerki in order to chose the next president that will be in front of Hezbollah which is an unstoppable force, an immovable object himself.