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Lebanon offers hope for peace, says Archbishop of Canterbury

14 April 2022

Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Hosam Naoum, visit St Luke’s Rehabilitation Centre, Beirut, last month

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Hosam Naoum, visit St Luke’s Rehabilitation Centre, Beirut, last month

LEBANON shows how it is possible for people to live peaceably “in our complex and difficult world”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said after his first official visit to the country last month.

Archbishop Welby visited Lebanon at the invitation of the Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Hosam Naoum. Lebanon is incorporated into the diocese of Jerusalem.

During the visit, Archbishop Welby met the President of Lebanon, General Michel Aoun, in his official residence, Baabda Palace, in Beirut. According to comments from the meeting published on his website, President Aoun told the Archbishop: “Lebanon is still paying the price for the repercussions of the war in Syria as a result of receiving the displaced Syrians and the international community not helping to return the displaced to their homeland.”

Archbishop Welby told the President: “The great challenge is to learn how to differ in opinions without resorting to violence. Lebanon is an example of recovery, and Europe can learn from it.”

He continued: “International tensions are so great that the needs of many countries are easily forgotten, especially in this region. As for my prayer, it is for peace, stability, and recovery in Lebanon from the problems it is facing. Through the trips I take around the world, I meet many Lebanese, and they are among the most prominent, successful, and most effective leaders.

“I know that this country is full of all the talents that man asks of God, and I pray that you, Mr President, and your successors will be able to lead these talents to serve the needy and the poor in this country.”

During the visit, Archbishop Welby also met the Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi. The Archbishop wrote on social media after the meeting that they had reaffirmed their “commitment to unity, reconciliation, and Christian witness in the holy land”.

In Beirut, he visited St Luke’s Centre for Rehabilitation, which he described as “a witness to God’s care for every single one of his children, and the innate value each of us has as those made in His image”.

The Archbishop wrote on social media after the visit: “The story of Lebanon is one of the possibility of peace and the hope of living together well in our complex and difficult world. . .

“We cannot forget the people of Lebanon and the suffering they face as a result of the port explosion, the pandemic and economic and political problems. Let us pray for hope and abundance for this beautiful nation, for the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem and all those it serves.”

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