BETH KERKE, Lebanon – Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Béchara Boutros al-Raï received a delegation from the Evangelical Baptist community around the world at the patriarchate in Beth Kerké (Bkerki) on Friday morning. The visiting delegation included Rev. Dr. Elijah Brown, Secretary General of the Baptist World Alliance, Lina Raad, Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance in the Middle East, Rev. Joseph al-Kazzi of the Congregation of Evangelical Baptist Churches, and Dr. Nabil Costa, Secretary General of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon. The Baptist World Alliance is a global network of 47 million Baptists in 126 countries.
The Baptist delegation affirmed its support for Patriarch Raï’s patriotic stances, especially the issue of Lebanon’s neutrality and its disassociation from regional conflicts. It further affirmed its ongoing support for and cooperation with Christians in the Middle East, and its support for the Lebanese people under the difficult circumstances. The two sides discussed the reality of private education in Lebanon and the need for cooperation between all educational institutions to serve students, raise the cultural and educational level of Lebanon’s youth by full focus on the education sector to advance Lebanon and building strong state institutions through science and knowledge.
Patriarch Mor Béchara also received a delegation from the Beirut-based non-governmental organization Maronite League. The Maronite League was founded in the 1950s and is currently headed by former Member of Parliament Nematallah Abi Nasr. It can be seen as a diplomatic voice of the Syriac Maronite Catholics in the country. Mor Béchara and Nematallah Abi Nasr went through the activities and projects of the Maronite League for the new year together.
Patriarch Mor Béchara also received on Friday a delegation from the Executive Board of the Maronite Clerical Association headed by Dr. Antoine Saad, as well as the Dean of the General Maronite Council and former Minister Wadih el-Khazen.