A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Maronite Patriarch Visits the Vatican

The 77th Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Bechara Rai (also transliterated Rahi; the name is actually Ra‘i  الراعي ) is visiting the Vatican where his election in March will be confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI. He replaced Cardinal Nasrullah Sfeir, who announced his retirement on turning 90.

The importance of the Maronite community in Lebanese politics means that the Patriarch has considerable political influence; some comments he made on cabinet appointments have already drawn fire from the Free Patriotic Movement's Michel Aoun, also a Maronite.

Rai, the former Bishop of Jbail and Secretary of the Maronite Synod, is 71 and was elected last month to replace Sfeir, who retired voluntarily.


Tim said...

Shouldn't his Kataeb insignia be worn over the cross? It's important to observe the priorities.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Now, now, Tim. Let's not be catty.