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Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ tag

Pope Urges Interfaith Dialogue in Mideast, Defends Religious Freedom

Pope Benedict XVI signs his apostolic exhortation on the church’s concerns in the Middle East during his visit to St. Paul’s Basilica in Harissa, Lebanon, Sept. 14. The document summarizing the conclusion of the 2010 Synod of Bishops for the Middle East was presented by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, left. (CNS/Paul Haring)

by Francis X. Rocca
from Catholic News Service

BEIRUT (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI signed a major document calling on Catholics in the Middle East to engage in dialogue with Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim neighbors, but also to affirm and defend their right to live freely in the region where Christianity was born.

In a ceremony at the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa Sept. 14, Pope Benedict signed the 90-page document of his reflections on the 2010 special Synod of Bishops, which was dedicated to Christians in the Middle East. He was to formally present the document Sept. 16 at an outdoor Mass in Beirut.

A section dedicated to interreligious dialogue encouraged Christians to “esteem” the region’s dominant religion, Islam, lamenting that “both sides have used doctrinal differences as a pretext for justifying, in the name of religion, acts of intolerance, discrimination, marginalization and even of persecution.”

Yet in a reflection of the precarious position of Christians in most of the region today, where they frequently experience negative legal and social discrimination, the pope called for Arab societies to “move beyond tolerance to religious freedom.”

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A Jewish Synagogue Makes a Comeback in Lebanon

Two Syrian workers in the Magen Abraham synagogue. Photo Credit: Natalie Naccache

by Nicholas Blanford
from the Christian Science Monitor

Amid the new tower blocks that are changing this city’s skyline rises a newly restored symbol of Beirut’s multireligious society.

The Magen Abraham synagogue is the last Jewish place of worship to survive in Beirut, a lone reminder that a few decades ago a thriving Jewish community lived in the city center.

The Jewish faith is one of the 18 officially recognized sects that exist in Lebanon. When the synagogue was built in 1920 there were some 12,000 Jews in Lebanon. But the Arab-Israeli conflict and Lebanon’s devastating 1975-90 civil war spurred Jews to emigrate, and today there are only around 150 left here.

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April 9th, 2012 at 7:55 am

What Is My Responsibility for Peace in the World? Five Steps towards a Peace Process

Alexandra Asseily

Alexandra Asseily

Register Now Tuesday, March 13, 2012
10:00am U.S. Central Time

This webinar offers participants the opportunity to develop a greater awareness of our own responsibility for peace in our lives and to acquire more skills to apply around us.

The webinar will address our own responsibility for war and peace and the role forgiveness plays in releasing cycles of violence. Through personal reflection, we can experience those aspects of ourselves that are not fully contributing to peace and harmony and how to release and transform them through forgiveness. By doing so, we can also unblock the gifts we have inherited, in order to use them and appreciate them more fully in our lives.


As a witness of the pain of the civil war in Lebanon (1975–1991), Alexandra Asseily decided to explore her own responsibility for war and peace and became a psychotherapist. Her focus is conflict resolution—whether in the individual, family, tribe or nation.

In August l997 she was profoundly moved by a vision she had concerning the repetitive nature of conflict—that consciously and unconsciously held grievances are received by each new generation through an ancestral “contract” that can only be released through forgiveness and compassion. This vision inspired the Garden of Forgiveness in Lebanon to which Asseily has been committed since 1998. The garden is under construction in the heart of Beirut. It lies between three cathedrals and three mosques and amongst the archaeological ruins of 3,000 years of human living and dying.

She is a governor and a founder of the Centre for Lebanese Studies, Oxford University, and on the Board of the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, an Advisor on the World Religions and Spiritualities Advisory Council of the Fetzer Institute, and a former member of the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. In 1978 she was co-ordinator of International Aid Organisations in Lebanon after the first Israeli invasion.


Title: What Is My Responsibility for Peace in the World? Five Steps towards a Peace Process

Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees:
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees:
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

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