BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai congratulated Sunday Muslims on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and called for the swift formation of the next government.
“It pleases me to mention in our prayers our Muslim brothers in Lebanon and the Middle East and all Muslims on the occasion of the holy Eid al-Adha. We offer them our congratulations,” he said during his weekly Sunday Mass.
“On the occasion of Eid [al-Adha], we offer condolences to the families of victims from fighting among brothers in the ... recurring wars. We pray that the souls of the dead may rest, that the wounded recover and there be an end to violence, war and terrorism.”
Rai also expressed hope for the release of Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim. Yazigi and Ibrahim were kidnapped on April 22 by armed men while en route to Aleppo from the Turkish border.
“We pray for the release of all the hostages and detained, at the forefront the two bishops Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim and the three [other] priests. [We pray] as well for the released those wrongly detained and imprisoned for political reasons,” he said.
On the political situation in Lebanon, Rai called for the swift formation of a government.
“We pray that God may move the reason of officials in Lebanon and that they form today, before tomorrow, a new government that is capable of confronting the current economic, social and security challenges,” he said.
Rai said it was the duty of officials “to fulfill their duties, regardless of how hard the challenges they face may be.”
“The duty of political authorities in the state is to ensure public welfare by enhancing the constitutional institutions,” Rai said, citing judicial, legislative, executive, administrative and security institutions.
He added that no one has the right “to control or obstruct the work of such institutions or give them a sectarian dimension.”
Rai also lamented the loss of Lebanon’s Wadih Safi, the famed Lebanese singer who passed away earlier this week.
The Maronite head described Safi as “the great master” and an “innovator in oriental song.”
“He sang under the skies of Lebanon, Egypt, Brazil, Paris and London ... and sang in Lebanon’s churches with love,” Rai said.
“Will God ever send us someone like Wadih Safi in 6,000 years?” he asked.
Safi died at the age 91 after suffering a stroke Friday.