Permanent Council of Synod of Bishops of Syriac Maronite Church denounces arrest of Archbishop Mussa al-Hajj

BEIRUT — In the presence of Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rai, the Permanent Council of the Synod of Bishops of Syriac Maronite Church held an emergency meeting on Wednesday at the Patriarchal Edifice in Dimane, Lebanon, to discuss the arrest of Archbishop Mussa al-Hajj.

At the end of the meeting, the Synod issued a statement denouncing the action of the Border Public Security Center taken on the order of the government commissioner to the military court, Judge Fadi Akiki.

The Border Public Security Center arrested Archbishop Mussa al-Hajj while he was returning from his diocese in the Holy Land. He was questioned and held for more than ten hours in a security center without any consideration for his spiritual position. His Lebanese passport, phone, documents, and the medical and financial aid he was carrying to the needy and sick in Lebanon were confiscated.

The Synod stated that this insult to the archbishop brings Lebanon back to the time of the invaders when they were trying to undermine the role of the Syriac Maronite Church in Lebanon and the East. However, it said, such steps will not affect the Patriarchal Edifice, which withstood in the face of kingdoms, sultanates, and states.

The statement also demanded an end to this “security, judicial, and political play” and the return of all the aid that was withheld to the archbishop so that he can deliver it to those who need it.

The Synod demanded closing this case, referring Judge Akiki to the judicial inspection, and dismissing him, as well as separating the judiciary from the political authority.