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The news about the upcoming visit of the Patriarch Raii to the Holy Land is raising two contradictory opinions among the Lebanese, between those who are favorable and those who are opposed to this visit. The first group considers that the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch’s visit is a duty of a protective shepherd, whereas the other group considers that the visit would be an “indirect recognition” of Israel.

So what divides the two groups is whether they consider the Patriarch a political or a religious figure…If the Patriarch is considered a religious figure, it would absolve him from accusations, but if he’s considered a political figure, the consequences would be greater…

The problem is not easy to solve especially that the Patriarch, like all religious figures in Lebanon, Christian and Muslim, detains two powers: the temporal and the spiritual power. It raises another old problem: the necessity of “giving to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's”…


 Pascale Asmar


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