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    » 02/20/2010, 00.00

    VATICAN - LEBANON

    Pope to Hariri: Lebanon, a model of coexistence and "message" for the entire Middle East



    This morning, Benedict XVI received the Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri in audience. The coexistence of different religious communities in the country is a model for the entire Middle East region. At the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East the task of promoting dialogue “between cultures and religions. "

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The situation in Lebanon and the plight of Christians in the Middle East were the themes at the heart of the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon this morning in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. After the audience, conducted in a "climate of great cordiality" - as stated in the press release issued by the Holy See - the prime minister visited the Secretary of State Card. Tarcisio Bertone accompanied by Msgr. Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

    Benedict XVI and Hariri stressed the importance of Lebanon, which for decades has been a model of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. The hope - said the statement - is that "through the exemplary coexistence" of different religious communities that comprise the country, it will "remain a 'message' for the Middle East region and the entire world."  

    Among other things the Lebanese government recently announced  its intention to establish an Islamic-Christian holiday in the name of the Annunciation of Mary. It will have a "national" rather than "religious" stamp and will complement that of the Annunciation, not replace it. However, the new holiday aims to strengthen the "symbol of unity" among the Lebanese in the name of the Virgin Mary -  who is also revered by followers of Mohammed - and "encourage the image of Lebanon as a 'Country' symbol of pluralism and tolerance", as often repeated by John Paul II.

    Pope Benedict and Saad Hariri also stressed the need to find a "just and comprehensive solution to the conflicts that cause bloodshed in the Middle East. To achieve this goal - continues the statement - it is important to promote "intercultural and interreligious dialogue" that is a harbinger of peace and justice.  

    The Christians of the Middle East are victims of sectarian violence and persecution, which moves the faithful to abandon their places of origin in search of safety. In this perspective, the forthcoming Special Meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East - scheduled 10 to 24 October 2010 – was mentioned, which will seek solutions to the mass exodus that threatens to empty the region of a Christian presence. Benedict XVI and Hariri recalled "the importance of the work of Christians in the country" that is applied to "the entire society, especially through its educational, health and welfare institutions."

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    See also

    27/02/2013 VATICAN - MIDDLE EAST
    Young Christians from Middle East thank Benedict XVI for supporting their vocation
    Johanna, a young Egyptian seminarian, and Fr. Isa, a Palestinian priest from Bethlehem; owe their vocation to the figure of Benedict XVI. With his encyclicals, his letters and his journey to the Holy Land he was an example of the presence of Christ, not only among Christians but also between Muslims and Jews.

    12/09/2012 VATICAN
    Pope: May God gift "longed-for peace" to the Middle East
    On the eve of his trip to Lebanon, at the general audience Benedict XVI asks for prayers ahead of the visit. In the catechesis he continues to illustrate prayer in Revelation. As Christians "we can never lose hope, we know that on the path of our life we often encounter violence, falsehood, hatred, persecution, but that does not discourage us," because "we know that the victory is God’s."

    19/09/2012 VATICAN - LEBANON
    Pope: Christianity and Islam witnessing together against divisions, violence and wars
    At the general audience, Benedict XVI retraces the steps of his visit to Lebanon. A "strongly desired" journey, a "providential opportunity for dialogue" in a region that sees dramas such as the "terrible conflict" in Syria. Christians are exhorted to "live the faith and to witness it without fear."

    30/07/2006 VATICAN
    Pope: in the name of God, lay down your arms immediately

    An appeal from Benedict XVI to "all those responsible". The pope urged governments and international institutions to strive for a cessation of hostilities, a necessary premise to build, through dialogue, peace for all the peoples of the Middle East. To men of all good will, the pope issued an appeal to intensify aid delivery, and he asked believers to continue to pray to God for peace.



    24/11/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: saddened and concerned over situation in Lebanon and entire Middle East
    Meeting with Aram I, catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians, Benedict XVI also speaks of the persecution against the Christians taking place in the Middle East and "elsewhere." Progress along the path of ecumenism, and the hope that the mixed commission will fruitfully continue with its work.



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