In an interview with Vatican News, Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, Aram I, reflects on the dire situation in Lebanon and the importance of the Day of Prayer and Reflection held on July 1 on the road to recovery for the country.
By the editor of Vatican News
Pope Francis and Lebanon’s Christian Leaders Host a Day of Prayer and Reflection in the Vatican Thursday, for the current situation in this troubled country, and to implore the grace of peace and stability.
Among the delegation of Christian leaders was Aram I, the Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians, who spoke to Robert Attarian of Vatican News about the ecumenical meeting and the current situation in Lebanon.
A major event
“The meeting in the Vatican of the Christian spiritual leaders of Lebanon was in my opinion a milestone – not in the political sense – but in the perspective of a Christian-Muslim cohabitation”, declared the Catholicos.
He explained that the Christian leaders came to share with Pope Francis “the pain, the suffering, the hopes and the expectations” of the Lebanese people, “without any distinction or discrimination”, because the country cannot be understood without Christians- Muslims. coexistence which “constitutes the basis and the identity of Lebanon”.
The meeting, he said, “was an important step forward in taking Lebanon from its current state of stagnation and chaos to new horizons.”
On the road to “recovery”
Lebanon is going through an emerging economic crisis with serious consequences for its population. The country’s woes, which escalated in late 2019, are rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by a post-civil war politicians who have racked up debts and done little to encourage local industries.
Faced with the economic collapse of the country, the Catholicos noted that the meeting also focused on exposing the current situation in its major aspects, with the aim of seeking the most effective means of jointly initiating a process that it qualifies as “recovery”. “
“Lebanon is sick, terribly sick; therefore, Lebanon needs recovery, ”he said.
Proposing concrete measures to achieve this recovery, the Catholicos stressed the importance of forming a new government that will focus on solving socio-economic problems as a priority in order to meet the needs and expectations of the population.
The proximity of the Pope
The Catholicos then expressed his appreciation for the closeness of Pope Francis to the Lebanese people in the midst of the difficult times the country is going through, noting that this meeting at the Vatican is “a concrete manifestation of solidarity and support”.
He said the Vatican, through its moral authority, can play an important role in supporting Lebanon by “reminding the international community of the critical importance of Lebanon and the vital need for a new government”.
In this regard, he waved Pope Francis’ message at the end of the ecumenical ceremony on Thursday, noting that the Holy Father sent a clear message to the international community and to the Lebanese political authorities not to ignore the needs of the people.
According to the Catholicos, the message of Pope Francis and of the meeting can be summed up as follows: “The people are suffering, therefore, by all means, you must act! Now is the time to act! he insisted.
In conclusion, the Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenians invited all – Christians and Muslims, political and community leaders – to work together on the process of recovery in Lebanon.