This file photo shows Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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The patriarch of the Maronite church will travel to Jerusalem next month to greet Pope Francis, the first head of his Lebanon-based denomination to visit since Israel's creation in 1948, he said Friday.Maronite clergy are able to travel to the Holy Land to minister to the estimated 10,000 faithful, but all other Lebanese are banned.Rai's deputy Boulos Sayyah, who will accompany him, said the patriarch would not participate in any political meetings in Israel but will meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.Pope Francis is scheduled to make his first trip to the Holy Land from May 24-26 .
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