The inauguration ceremony of Beshara al-Rai as the 77th patriarch of the Maronite church is underway at Bkirki in the presence of local, Arab, and international officials.
President Michel Suleiman, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri, and a Lebanese Forces delegation headed by Samir Geagea arrived at Bkirki.
PM-designate Nagib Miqati, caretaker PM Saad Hariri, Army Commander Jean Qahwaji, Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh, Minister Boutros Harb , Egyptian Ambassador Bedewi are also attending the ceremony
FPM leader MP Michel Aoun arrived in Bkirki, Gebran Bassil, Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali , Speaker Berri, Hezbollah delegation headed by MP Raad , MP Jumblatt with delegation are also attending the ceremony
Patriarch al-Rai’s sermon will deliver an emotional message to Patriarch Sfeir highlighting the fact that he was the one who had ordained al-Rai as a bishop in 1986 and the one who will ordain him as a patriarch today.
Just after 6 pm Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir ordained al-Rai as the new Patriarch of the Maronite church.
Rai after being ordained as Patriarch said: Lebanon is the country of partnership, which is built on parity between Muslims and Christians.
He added: “The country is not for a sect, a party or a group and shall not be monopolized because the monopolization of Lebanon by a single group would represent scorn against us all.” The statement was a possible to Hezbollah which overthrew the cabinet of Prime Minister Saad Hariri last January and replaced him with its own candidate Nagib Mikati to form and lead a new cabinet
Addressing president Suleiman he said : We ask God to guide your steps and my steps in service of the country and the church.
“Through partnership and love I will cooperate with Speaker Nabih Berri, Caretaker PM Saad Hariri and PM designate Nagib Miqati and all the ministers and MPs.” Rai said