Syrian regime exploits Patriarch’s visit to its benefit

patriarch rai in syria 5As was expected the embattled Syrian regime of president Bashar al Assad exploited the controversial visit of Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai to Syria to its benefit.

Rai headed to Syria late saturday to participate in the Damascus enthronement of a new Greek Orthodox leader, John Yazigi who took the name of John X and became the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East in a Mass at Damascus’ Holy Cross Church on Sunday.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad, who was seen on TV footage talking to Rai as they entered the ceremony, suggested Sunday that the patriarch’s visit was a nod of support for the embattled regime.

“Patriarch Rai has corrected the wrong that was done in the past decades,” with the failure of previous patriarchs to come to Syria,” Meqdad said.

This was a direct attack against former Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir who refused to go to Syria .

Meqdad added that the turnout at the event “represents a stand in the face of the West, telling them not to interfere in our affairs and stop slaughtering and killing our people, and this is what Patriarch Rai has reiterated.”

He was referring to Rai’s earlier comment that reforms in Syria are “necessary, but should not be imposed from the outside.”

Meqdad with RaiMeqdad welcomed Rai, saying that the people of Syria and Lebanon are one and “Rai is now in his homeland and we welcome him in his country and among his people. We welcome the values, the legacy, the history and civilization he represents.”

Rai is the first Maronite patriarch to visit Syria since the two countries gained independence in 1943. His visit drew the ire of some Lebanese opposition politicians, but he emphasized that it was “merely pastoral” and that he had gone to “meet the Christians, notably the 60,000 Maronites,” stressing that the church is “always against war and for dialogue.”

But March 14 MP Boutros Harb warned Rai earlier that the Syrian regime could exploit such a visit to its benefit:

“I know that the visit is religious, but I fear the Syrian regime will give the trip a political dimension to spread rumors that the Maronite Patriarchate is supporting one Syrian side at the expense of the other, and ultimately engage the church in the Syrian conflict,” Harb told Voice of Lebanon.

Harb also expressed fears that the Maronite church would be pushed into the Syrian crisis.

Harb expressed regret that the Maronites in Lebanon were not united.

“I don’t think that Maronites would be okay if they keep putting themselves in constant conflicts,” he told VOL.

“The Maronite base is in loss” over divisions among political officials, he said.

One analyst commented by saying :

“We have 3 guys in black in lebanon that are trying to dictate our lives.

There is this guy who has been hiding for over six years appears every so often on TV to tell the Lebanese what to to do and then goes back to his bunker . This guy is Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

Then there is the other guy who issued a fatwa against civil mariage and threatened all Muslim politicians who support its legislation and this guy is Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani.

Then of course there is Rai who has been praising the Syrian regime ever since he was elected to replace Cardinal Sfeir. His siding with the Syrian regime has caused divisions within the Christian community.”

He added :”It is about time these guys in black get off our back and stick to spiritual issues and leave politics to politicians ”

  • dateam

    well at least he can go to syria? maybe hes afraid for the christians in syria? ive never heard the saudis or qataris offering him a visit instead they allow their men in black to issue fatwas against saying merry xmas………..

    • Hannibal

      Well that is beyond me because Jesus is revered by Islam so I am at a loss when they decree not to say merry Christmas… How illogical…

      • Prophettttt

        Who says so? Who told you that Muslims decree”not to say merry Christmas”.That is how much you know about true Islam and true Muslims,unless you’re reading what the wicked school of thought of the Wahabis,and others who don’t understand their Islam.Islam and Christianity both have their wicked school of thoughts,and unfortunately loud minorities are always more visible than the main stream belivers.

        • Hannibal

          So fast as jumping when I say jump you say how high? You know I am answering dateam and referring to the recent decree in Egypt that said it is a sin to say 3iid milaad majiid to Christians but that for the sake of tolerance you may say it in a foreign language (other than Arabic)… Stop putting words in my mouth and assuming you know me.

          • Prophettttt

            Aren’t you jumpy today? lol. Yes Milad Majeed in Arabic,and as loud as Possible,and who ever decrees against saying that , know nothing except their wicked and evil beliefs,and they only speak for their own wickedness.I never put words in your mouth; Mashalla, no need to.lol

          • 5thDrawer

            Are we rushing the season … AGAIN ?? 😉

          • Hannibal

            Glad you know… lol

    • libnan1

      I agree it’s their loss. Santa wont visit them either no chimneys…

  • dateam

    well at least he can go to syria? maybe hes afraid for the christians in syria? ive never heard the saudis or qataris offering him a visit instead they allow their men in black to issue fatwas against saying merry xmas………..

    • Hannibal

      Well that is beyond me because Jesus is revered by Islam so I am at a loss when they decree not to say merry Christmas… How illogical…

      • Prophettttt

        Who says so? Who told you that Muslims decree”not to say merry Christmas”.That is how much you know about true Islam and true Muslims,unless you’re reading what the wicked school of thought of the Wahabis,and others who don’t understand their Islam.Islam and Christianity both have their wicked school of thoughts,and unfortunately loud minorities are always more visible than the main stream belivers.

        • Hannibal

          So fast as jumping when I say jump you say how high? You know I am answering dateam and referring to the recent decree in Egypt that said it is a sin to say 3iid milaad majiid to Christians but that for the sake of tolerance you may say it in a foreign language (other than Arabic)… Stop putting words in my mouth and assuming you know me.

          • Prophettttt

            Aren’t you jumpy today?lol

          • 5thDrawer

            Are we rushing the season … AGAIN ?? 😉

          • Hannibal

            Glad you know… lol

    • libnan1

      I agree it’s their loss. Santa wont visit them either no chimneys…

  • 2160John

    Lebanon is run by these people especially the people behind Rai. There is no difference between religion and politics because these so called religious people are the ones who run politics behind the scenes. Under Vatican banking law which is used throughout the world, all money trails lead to Rome and in this case Switzerland where the laundered money of the Sunnis, Shiites, Jews and Christians is placed in a neutral country. Lebanon is controlled by the Society of Jesus from the NDU.

  • 2160John

    Lebanon is run by these people especially the people behind Rai. There is no difference between religion and politics because these so called religious people are the ones who run politics behind the scenes. Under Vatican banking law which is used throughout the world, all money trails lead to Rome and in this case Switzerland where the laundered money of the Sunnis, Shiites, Jews and Christians is placed in a neutral country. Lebanon is controlled by the Society of Jesus from the NDU.

  • 5thDrawer

    It was a Greek Orthodox event …. Rai didn’t do anything any other Christian Rep would do except say ‘Congrats’ to the new John and enjoy a pile of ceremony and a little feasting … Meqdad (MacDud) can say anything he wants but no-one with a brain should be listening to him … probably doesn’t know Greeks are to the west of him.
    As for the ‘Men in Black’, it’s up to ‘the people’ to begin to realize that the fantasies that keep them in the dark are their own to sort out – they would be better off to allow the ‘talking heads’ only a condescending smile most of the time.
    And politicians are always trying to exploit any situation … along with ‘news reporters’.

  • 5thDrawer

    It was a Greek Orthodox event …. Rai didn’t do anything any other Christian Rep would do except say ‘Congrats’ to the new John and enjoy a pile of ceremony and a little feasting … Meqdad (MacDud) can say anything he wants but no-one with a brain should be listening to him … probably doesn’t know Greeks are to the west of him.
    As for the ‘Men in Black’, it’s up to ‘the people’ to begin to realize that the fantasies that keep them in the dark are their own to sort out – they would be better off to allow the ‘talking heads’ only a condescending smile most of the time.
    And politicians are always trying to exploit any situation … along with ‘news reporters’.

  • Prophettttt

    The patriarch must have felt the urgent need to visit the birth place of Mar Maroon and “straight street ” where Saul was healed and converted into St.Paul, before it is taking over by the the force of darkness of the Salafi and jihadist killers of the House of “Saud”. I believe He thought that this is his last chance to walk through the alleyways of the old Syrian market place where St.Paul preached and turned the words of Christ into a world religion. Watching what the “Saudi” sponsored “democracy and freedom revolution” is doing to Syrians ,and to christian in particular, I don’t blame the man;sadly this could be the last visit of any Patriarch to Syria.

    • 5thDrawer

      In 1971, I visited that now-below-ground church at the spot where Saul fell off his horse. It may survive the shelling and the idiots who want no democracy. At that time one could take pictures and not be shot at ….

      • libnan1

        1971 !!!!!!

        • 5thDrawer

          Ok, libnan1 .. yah … ancient … sigh ….
          Lucky ‘it’ still works …. 😉
          Also saw the Mosque … and what was left of the crusader’s church next door. A lot of history there … too. Too bad that MOST seem not to learn from it.

  • Prophettttt

    The patriarch must have felt the urgent need to visit the birth place of Mar Maroon and “straight street ” where Saul was healed and converted into St.Paul, before it is taking over by the the force of darkness of the Salafi and jihadist killers of the House of “Saud”. I believe He thought that this is his last chance to walk through the alleyways of the old Syrian market place where St.Paul preached and turned the religion of Christ into a world religion. Watching what the “Saudi” sponsored democracy and freedom revolution is doing to Syrians ,and to christian in particular, I don’t blame the man;sadly this could be the last visit of any Patriarch to Syria.

    • 5thDrawer

      In 1971, I visited that now-below-ground church at the spot where Saul fell off his horse. It may survive the shelling and the idiots who want no democracy. At that time one could take pictures and not be shot at ….

      • libnan1

        1971 !!!!!!

        • 5thDrawer

          Ok libnan1 .. yah … ancient … sigh ….

  • Hannibal

    The people of Syria and Lebanon are NOT one

    • Patience2

      And, Lebanon is NOT Syria’s front lawn!

  • Hannibal

    The people of Syria and Lebanon are NOT one

    • Patience2

      And, Lebanon is NOT Syria’s front lawn!

  • Fauzia45

    Both religious leaders and politicians are after power!!Ghandi said,¨Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is!¨

  • Fauzia45

    Both religious leaders and politicians are after power!!Ghandi said,¨Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is!¨