Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and Saudi Ambassador discussed Christian presence in Middle East

ATCHANEH, Lebanon — In a bid to fortify relations and promote the values of peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II warmly welcomed Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Walid al-Bukhari at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Lebanon.

The meeting, attended by several bishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Dr. Michael Cooley, served as a platform for dialogue on various issues concerning the Christian presence in the Middle East in general and the Arabian Peninsula in particular.

Patriarch Aphrem II delved into the rich history of the Church in Arabia, highlighting the proliferation of monasteries and churches in the region. He also underscored the deep-rooted connection between the Arabian tribes and the Syriac Church, citing the Church’s dedicated service, including the appointment of bishops like Mar George, renowned as the Bishop of the Arabs.

Ambassador al-Bukhari lauded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to openness and tolerance, a vision championed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He highlighted the kingdom’s numerous initiatives and projects aimed at bolstering its pioneering role in the Middle East and beyond.

The discussions between the Patriarch and the Ambassador extended to the broader regional landscape, including the situation in Lebanon, with a nod to Riyadh’s steadfast support for the Lebanese people.