Their Holinesses Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, and Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, visited His Excellency General Michel Aoun, President of the Republic of Lebanon, at the presidency palace in Baabda.
First, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II thanked His Excellency General Aoun for his reception: “you encouraged us, Your Excellency, by your participation today in the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence, and by your kind words; we thank you; we will always depend on leaders like you who have the concerns of the Christians of the Middle East, as part of their life and work”.
His Holiness added that the heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East meet in Lebanon to participate in the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence, as well as to hold their twelfth meeting which included on its agenda as a main concern the presence of Christians in the Middle East.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros then spoke assuring the respect of the faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church to His Excellency, and thanking him once again for participating in the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence. He also expressed the gladness of Oriental Christians for the care His Excellency is showing them.
In turn, President Aoun welcomed the delegation and expressed his happiness to participate in the opening ceremony of the new patriarchal headquarters, wishing that “this opening will be a qualitative leap and a renewed spiritual and humanitarian step forward.” Aoun reiterated his personal care for the future of the Oriental Christian presence in this region of the world, saying that “Christianity is a testimony and an act of permanent resurrection and hope.” He added “The history of the Christians of the Orient is a permanent living in danger; yet, Christianity continues in the East, and we continue. The hierarchy of the church which takes care of the faithful is a sign of the permanence of Christianity”.
His Holiness our Patriarch was accompanied by their Eminences Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas, Archbishop of Turabdin, and Mor Gregorius Joseph, Metropolitan of Kochi, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.