Hariri: Patriarch Sfeir, a national symbol whose voice never faded in support of Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence

The Press Office of Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued on Sunday the following press release in wake of the passing away of Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir:

“Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir leaves a bright page in Lebanon’s history. This page will remain alive in the conscience of all those who knew him and a guidance for the generations that will read the modern history of Lebanon.

This great man embodied in his personality and his work a legacy of spiritual and national values during a difficult period in the history of Lebanon. He became a national symbol as a result of his steadfastness, persistence and courage, and contributed to transforming the course of events and moving Lebanon from one situation to another.

After his election in 1986, he witnessed the years of war and accompanied the peace efforts and Lebanon’s transition to peace after the bloody and destructive conflicts. He championed righteousness and his only means were spiritual depth and loyalty to Lebanon’s constants, which the Maronite Patriarchate was historically the most entrusted to preserve.

Thus, the events he witnessed and experienced at the national level and the objections and criticisms he faced, increased his faith in his spiritual and Lebanese message. His voice never faded in supporting what he believed in. He refused and condemned practices that happened during his tenure, in the Maronite Bishops’ Council appeal in September 2000, in the Mountain Reconciliation in 2001 and his meetings with the decision makers in the west and the east, strongly supported by the Vatican and the major capitals.

Fate led to the historic meeting between him and my father martyr Premier Rafic Hariri. They met on the national cause of independence, full internal and external sovereignty and freedom of decision.

As if it was destined for these two great men to meet at this historic decisive moment, with the same national belief and aspiration. They both realized that their cooperation is the solid starting point to bring Lebanon back to its natural status as a free and independent sovereign country that plays its leading role in its Arab region and the world.

In my personal name and on behalf of my family and the government,

extend my deepest condolences to the Maronite Church, to Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rai and to all the Lebanese, hoping that the image of Patriarch Sfeir will always remain a model to all those who are working for the interest of their country.”

Source: National News Agency