In a few days, the Maronite Church and Lebanon will end an important chapter of their history. No other man in current Lebanon has left a more durable print on the ink of Lebanese history than Patriach Sfeir, whose resignation from head of the Maronite Church was met with grateful sadness from many and jubilation from a few.
I will not enumerate the many achievements of this man – for those achievements are imprinted in every free Lebanese’s mind. Patriarch Sfeir has fought for Lebanon and continued the legacy of the Maronite Church’s continuous struggle to make Lebanon a suitable home for every Lebanese, not only Maronites.
Patriarch Sfeir has been beaten down – literally and figuratively – during his twenty five year run as head of the Maronite Church. And yet, he did not let down. Regardless of the many insults and blows he was dealt, he persevered. The betterment of the nation was superior to his own well-being. He handled it with wisdom and serenity.
He was a leading voice against social and political injustice in Lebanon, of which his people suffered immensely. He played a great role in keeping together what was left of his country when everyone wanted a piece of that country. It is because of this man and the institute that stands behind him that we can say that today, regardless of how weak it might be, we have a country to our name.
He was a voice of reason when reason was not appreciated. He was firm in his stances when firmness meant a pertinent life threat. He had a futuristic vision of a future that many saw was bleak. And in many occasions, his vision turned out to be true.
I, as a Maronite, am proud to say that this man has represented me for the past twenty five years. Regardless of whatever mistakes he might have made, and we all make mistakes.
He may have left his Patriarchal seat, but Patriarch Sfeir will forever be seated in our hearts and minds. They say that the glory of Lebanon is given to the Patriarch – whoever he may be. But Patriarch Sfeir has given Lebanon and Maronites glory beyond glory…