LEBANON’S PRESIDENT DELIVERS EASTER MESSAGE ON SAT-7
14 April 2017
Michel Aoun is the only Christian president in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and during Easter he gave a clear message about his faith in an exclusive interview on SAT-7.
“Resurrection is what we wish for after death: this is the Christian hope based on our faith. Without it, there is no Christianity and no resurrection.”
This was the president’s reply to his first interview question from SAT-7’s Host, Fady Bou Rached. Aoun then also referred to Paul’s Gospel, emphasising the significance of Jesus’ resurrection:
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)
MESSAGE OF PEACE
After an extended period of political impasse in Lebanon, the election of President Aoun on 31 October 2016 was considered a much-needed sign of hope for “encompassing recovery from the past and unfortunate events.” Bou Rached added that, as the only current Christian president in the Arab World, President Aoun’s mission is to promote peaceful living, coexistence, and tolerance in the Middle East. Aoun declared, “I carry a message of peace.”
A CHANGING RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE
Aoun expressed concerns about the constant change in religious landscape, lamenting the fact that Christians, as minorities, are quickly affected by political turmoil. He particularly stressed on the negative impact of ousting Christians from the Holy Land, saying, “Christians in Jerusalem once constituted 22 percent of Israel’s population. Now, we are left with only about one percent.”
PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO THE VATICAN
On 16 March 2017, the President met with Pope Francis and the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin carrying “a message of love”. During the interview, Aoun confirmed that the Pope is well aware of the current situation of the Christians in the Levant and is willing to visit Lebanon to encourage Christians in the whole Middle East.
Furthermore, and in an attempt to make Lebanon a powerful model for the Middle East and the world, Aoun aims to position the country as the international hub for religious dialogue, hoping for confirmation or “blessing” from the United Nations as he does so. He added, “Lebanon encompasses the ultimate mix of cultural, religious, and ethnic groups in the world.”
AVOIDING FEAR, DOUBT, AND TEMPTATION
President Michel Aoun ended the interview, reflecting on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, saying:
“This week we remember the last week of Jesus’ life on Earth, the week in which he accomplished His mission and ministry after suffering, being crucified, and rising from the grave. Jesus conveyed lessons through his disciples, citing the main reasons of failure in life as fear, doubt, and temptation. All things we should seek to avoid!”
Aoun addressed this message to Middle Easterners, spurring them on to remain steadfast in hope through the many current challenges and difficulties in life.