Under the auspices of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, the Syriac League in Lebanon held a gala dinner on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its establishment. His Holiness Catholicos Aram I was represented by His Grace Bishop Noares Achakian and His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorius III Lahham was represented by His Excellency Mgr. Jean Moufarrej. Their Excellencies Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Minister of Education Elias Bou Saab, and the Former Vice-President of the Parliament Mr. Elie Ferzli, Former Minister Youssef Saadeh representing Minister Suleiman Frangieh, and Former Minister Selim Al-Sayegh representing President Sami Gemayel, as well as Former Minister Faysal Karame, and Syrian Member of Parliament Mrs. Maria Saadeh, and Lebanese Members of Parliament Nematallah Abi Nasr, Emile Rahmeh, Ghassan Mkhayber, Farid Khazen were also present in this occasion. Egyptian Ambassador Mohammad Badreddine Zayed, Greek Ambassador Passas Theodoros, Russian Embassy Counselor Vladimir Noskoff, Dr. Safa’ Mageed from the Iraqi Embassy, General Consul Ramzi Mansour from the Palestinian Embassy, and a delegation from the American Congress attended the gala dinner as well as many religious leaders and public figures.
His Holiness delivered a speech on the occasion saying: “the Middle East storms with violence and danger. This drives Christians to leave their countries, forced to seek refuge and security elsewhere. They left North of Iraq, namely Mosul and the villages of the Plain of Nineveh, to go to societies in the West that make use of their energy and creativity as well as their accumulated knowledge and experience”. He added that despite the persecutions and suffering that Christians undergo and the destruction of religious sites, we are still holding firm to our faith in Jesus Christ.
He also spoke about the role of the Syriacs in Lebanon, for they are a core component of the Lebanese society, in spite of the injustice that we face in sharing the adequate political role and positions because of the sectarian structure of Lebanese Politics. He incited thus Lebanese Christian political leaders to assume their responsibilities and elect a President for the Republic, in order to save the country from the current crisis and preserve their role.
During the dinner, paintings by Artist Gabriella Murr were exhibited and the Syriac League in Lebanon offered a Portrait painting to His Holiness, thanking him for his support.
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Shemoun, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.