Lebanon’s Maronites celebrated the 1600th anniversary of St. Maroun’s death on Tuesday in two separate masses held in Beirut’s Saint George church and in Brad in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir held the mass at Saint George in downtown Beirut at 11:00 am. The mass was attended by President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and several cabinet ministers, MPs and politicians.
The mass at St. Maroun church in Brad, Syria was attended by Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, former President Emile Lahoud, Marada movement leader Suleiman Franjieh and Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, who traveled to Aleppo on Monday. Aoun thanked after the prayers President Bashar al Assad and the Syrian people for their warm welcome
Aoun slammed those criticizing his visit to Syria, stressing the occasion was celebrated worldwide rather than only in one church.
Franjieh said he was proud of being part of the Syrian-Iranian axis.
Ad-Diyar daily said Bkirki circles have expressed frustration at attempts to show a divide among Christians.
“What’s happening in Brad is an attempt to target the Maronite Patriarchate and hint that there is a Christian authority that can make decisions to weaken the Maronite church,” the newspaper said.
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir held the St. Maroun mass at Saint George Cathedral in downtown Beirut at 11:00 am. The mass was attended by President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and several cabinet ministers, MPs and politicians.