Antiochpatriarchate – January 2017
His Beatitude John X the patriarch of Antioch and all the East, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Balamand for the first time after Christmas and the New Year, and was helped by the rev. priests and deacons.
The following orthodox ministers in the Lebanese government were present:
– His Excellency Mr. Gassan Hasbany: Health minister, and vice-chairman in the government.
– His Excellency Mr. Yacoub Sarraf: Defense minister.
– His Excellency Mr. Nicolas Twainee: State minister of corruption affairs,
besides former deputies and ministers with a crowd of the faithful. In his sermon, His Beatitude addressed the audience congratulating them all for the feasts and the New Year, and prayed for peace.
His Beatitude emphasized the spirit of service and sacrifice which are required by the Gospel. He also emphasized the daily morals of life which presuppose casting away and refusing dark thinking that prevents man from spiritual renewal.
He saluted the president of the Lebanese Republic, and the Government, alluding to the importance of agreement available, and expecting the adoption of a new law for elections. He also alluded to the patriotic and national role of the orthodox figures that goes beyond the sectarian framework, to be at the disposal of the country. He also emphasized, at the same time, that Christian presence in Lebanon should be a support, power, and extension of Christian presence in the East. He reminded all, of the cause of the two bishops of Aleppo John Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, and prayed for their release with all the kidnapped.
He ended the sermon saluting Al Koura in which Balamand and its institutions are the beating heart. After the Liturgy His Beatitude received the audience in the great hall of the monastery.