Al-Rahi to Damascus for Inauguration of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch
(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi revealed his intention to visit Damascus on Sunday to take part in the inauguration celebration of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch Youhanna al-Yaziji, the An Nahar daily reported Saturday.
Al-Rahi's revelation came following a mass he held in the city of Tripoli on the occasion of Saint Maroun day.
The expected visit of al-Rahi would be the first for a Maronite patriarch since Lebanon's independence in 1943, after the visit carried out by the late Patriarch Antoun Arida during the French mandate.
Al-Rahi and many non-Orthodox patriarchs are expected to take part in the inauguration ceremony in a show of solidarity between the Christian churches in light of the conflict Syria is witnessing, the daily added.
However, some observers following up on this development highlighted the potential of a meeting that could take place following the ceremony between heads of the christian churches, the representatives and Syrian President Bashar Assad, a possibility not applauded by many Lebanese politicians.
Although a possible meeting with Assad has not been confirmed yet, it could raise controversy and complications even if it is listed as part of the protocol, the daily added.
The first reaction to al-Rahi's expected visit came late Friday, as the March 14 General Secretariat coordinator Fares Soaid expressed his rejection to it, saying it “could subject the Christians to danger.