03/25/2008, 00.00
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Easter for Catholics and Armenians, against the disintegration of the country

Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir and Armenian catholicos Aram I promote Christian witness to save the country from conflict and self-destruction.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Catholics of Lebanon have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus by praying for the unity and redemption of the country, while tension grows and the political stalemate worsens.  Lebanon has had no president since November, and the parliament - following boycotts and attacks - is unable to meet to elect the new head of state.

Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the Maronite patriarch, celebrated the solemn Easter Mass in the courtyard of the patriarchal see of Bkerke.  "This feast day", he said, "does not lend itself to joy and gladness if we look at it in an ordinary, human way".  The cardinal once again highlighted the country's distressing problems: divisions, splintering, conflicts, bickering among the politicians.  "The value of this feast", he added, "does not lie in human appearances, but in the encounter with God and the commitment to live according to his will".

Aram I, catholicos of the Armenian Orthodox Church, celebrating the liturgy in the cathedral of Antelias, emphasised that the resurrection of Christ is "the victory of life over death".  In the country, he said, there are signs of "death", of "self-destruction", generated by the existing climate of distrust.  "Unfortunately, we see that the culture of death and of fear is weighing upon our daily lives".  "We reject this kind of culture", he added, "and Lebanon will remain a country of Islamic-Christian coexistence.  We want to reinforce this peaceful coexistence, adhering to our common values and respecting them".

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