HARISSA / BEIRUT – Patriarch Mor Ignatius Younan III and the Bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, in their closing statement of the Holy Synod concluded last Saturday, criticized the Lebanese government for not including a Syriac Catholic in the Lebanese government. The closing statement expressed the disappointment of the Syriac Catholic Patriarch and Bishops at the “continued marginalization of the rights of the Syriacs in general and the Syriac Catholic community in particular, by not being represented in this government, as is the case in senior civil, military and judicial positions.”
Lebanon is the country with the highest number of Christians in the Middle East, some 40% of the population. The Syriac Maronites, Syriac Melkites (both Catholic), and the Greek Orthodox are the largest Christian communities. The Syriac Catholics and Syriac Orthodox are the smaller Christian Syriac communities.
After months and months of bickering over the formation of a new cabinet, a new cabinet has recently taken office under billionaire Najib Mikati. The whole cabinet hails from the old political and sectarian constellation and Mikati was previously Prime Minister in 2005 and between June 2011 and February 2014. Mikati’s new cabinet has 11 Christian ministers, 9 Muslim ministers and two Druze ministers. The Muslim seats are divided over Shiites (5) and Sunnis (4). The Christian minister seats are divided between the Syriac Maronites (5), Syriac Melkites (2), Greek Orthodox (2), one Latin Rite Catholic seat, and one Armenian Apostolic seat.