On Wednesday, December 7, 2022 His Majesty King Abdullah II received Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi at Basman Palace.
The meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hussein Ibn Abdullah II, covered the deep-rooted ties between Jordan and Lebanon, according to a Royal Court statement.
During the meeting, His Majesty King Abdullah reaffirmed Jordan’s solidarity and ongoing support for Lebanon in its efforts to overcome the crises it is facing. The King also pointed out that Jordan will continue to exert its utmost efforts to safeguard the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem in accordance with the Hashemite Custodianship.
For his part, Patriarch Al-Rahi praised Jordan’s stances, led by His Majesty the King, regarding the continued support for Lebanon, its people, and the Arab causes. He also highly valued the expeditious humanitarian and medical aid that Jordan sent to Lebanon in the aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion almost two years ago.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, December 7, the Latin Patriarchal Vicariate in Jordan held a banquet in honor of Maronite Patriarch Al-Rahi marking his visit to Jordan. In attendance were Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian, Greek Orthodox Bishop Christophoros Atallah, Patriarch Fouad Twal, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan Monsignor Mauro Lalli, Chargé d’Affaires at Lebanese Embassy in Amman Youssef Emile Raji, and a number of priests.
On the other hand, on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan welcomed Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi during which Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan Monsignor Mauro Lalli hosted a lunch in honor of the guest who was on an official and pastoral visit to the Kingdom.
During the banquet, a discussion ensued covering a host of issues which involved pastor priest of the Maronite Church in Jordan Fr. Joseph Sweid, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, Director of the Integral Human Development Office affiliated with the Latin Patriarchate Fr. Mario Cornioli , Chargé d’Affaires of the Lebanese Embassy to Jordan Ambassador Yousef Emile Raji and his deputy Mr. George Fadel, in addition to Patriarch Al-Rahi’s secretary Mr. Walid Ghayyad.
In an address, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan Monsignor Mauro Lalli welcomed Patriarch Al-Rahi on his first visit to the “House of the Pope” in Jordan, pointing out that his presence constitutes a sign of the great fraternal partnership and the firm unity of the Maronite Church with Rome, which confirms the importance of the visible unity of the Catholic Church. He added that history has taught us that the special expression of our faith traditions is like a river flowing into a sea of communion and unity.
He referred to the long and distinguished relationship between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Maronite Church, stressing that this provides evidence of the perspicacity of the Royal Hashemite Family and the wise leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II, which made Jordan a model of peaceful living among the people of different religious traditions. He pointed out that the official recognition of the small Maronite parish in Jordan must continue to be translated into pastoral communion with the Catholic and non-Catholic Churches. He also referred to what Pope Francis maintained during his recent apostolic visit to Cyprus that, “we need a fraternal Church, one that is an agent of fraternity in our world.”
Monsignor Lalli stressed that the Holy See always strives to encourage Churches in Jordan to pray for fraternal Lebanon, as well as to express their closeness with the Lebanese people who still represent a symbol of steadfastness despite all the events that have taken place. He addressed Patriarch Al-Rahi saying: “We know very well everything you are doing to create new opportunities for dialogue, to confront differences and to overcome them, to ensure continuous solidarity by providing assistance to all those in need, and to ensure growing recognition of the fact that all the Lebanese are brethren and members of one family and one people. Through prayer and work, the Catholic world stands in solidarity with the Lebanese at this difficult time that the country of Cedars is going through.”
He drew attention to the numerous appeals made by Pope Francis, where his Holiness said: “When I think of Lebanon, I feel great concern for the crisis it is in and I feel the suffering of a people who are tired and worn-out by violence and grief. I carry in my prayer the desire for peace that rises from the hearts of that country.” He also urged for praying for brothers and sisters “in the Middle East, who have been subjected to ordeals, so that they could have the strength to rebuild their society in brotherhood.”
For his part, Patriarch Al-Rahi, thanked Monsignor Mauro Lalli for his warm reception. He said: “The points mentioned in your address are very important to us.” He added, ”Saint Charbel Church in Amman lives in complete harmony with other sisterly churches, and this is a matter of great importance and close to our heart. And I confirm, through parish priest Fr. Joseph Sweid that he always acts in the direction of strengthening the bonds of friendship with the local community, especially with the other Churches.”
Patriarch Al-Rahi reaffirmed that Lebanon bears the “message”, as Pope Saint John Paul II said, but this message is in crisis at the present time which affects all components of the Lebanese society, Christians and Muslims, and not only Christians. He stressed that the identity of the Lebanese, is the identity of plurality, the identity of common living, and the identity of harmony among the components of the people which will never end.
Stressing that, “We pride ourselves in the good relationship that developed decades ago between the Hashemite family and the Maronite Church, he continued that “the politicians in our country, Lebanon, can solve the problem but they are at present preoccupied with their own problems, and they often regretfully work against the interest of Lebanon. As for the resistance that the Lebanese people must show, it is the resistance through prayer, through adherence to the constants of common living, and through staying on Lebanese soil, and through resistance with hope which is a fundamental virtue of our Christian virtues.”
In a relevant event, on Tuesday, December 6, Maronite Patriarch Al-Rahi was welcomed at the Dawood family’s grand hall in the framework of his visit to Jordan during which a banquet was hosted in his honor in the presence of political and religious personalities.
During the visit, Patriarch Al-Rahi said: We always feel that the Jordanian people sympathizes with the problems and difficulties of Lebanon, as if they were their own, and this is something that reflects the feelings of friendship, respect and affection, at a time when we feel that the country closest to us is Jordan. The Patriarch greeted His Majesty King Abdullah II, and the entire Hashemite family for their care and their special love for Lebanon.
He added that His Majesty the King always stands by Lebanon in all Arab and international forums, and through him all the Jordanian people. He touched on the deep historic relations of friendship and feelings of human brotherhood that the Hashemite family share with the Maronite Patriarchate, stressing his keenness to maintain these good relations which are not only confined to the Maronite Patriarchate, but also include Lebanon, and this is what we are working for with His Majesty the King.
By Munir Bayouk/ en.abouna.org