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(from ONE magazine March 2011)

Maronite Patriarch Retires
Posted: 21 Mar 2011

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Msgr. Stern invites Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Cardinal Sfeir to sign CNEWA’s guest book, 2007.  (photo: Maria Bastone) 

On 26 February, Pope Benedict XVI announced the retirement of the patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Cardinal Nasrallah Peter Sfeir. For nearly 25 years, Patriarch Nasrallah served as the spiritual leader of the 3.1–million strong Maronite Church. Ordained in 1950, the patriarch worked closely with two of his predecessors before being enthroned as patriarch in 1986.

During the latter years of the Lebanese Civil War, which raged from 1975 to 1990, the patriarch served as a strong voice of reason and an advocate for peace. In his writings and speeches, he often expressed his vision of a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous Lebanon. He also spoke out against political injustices and strengthened and expanded church–led projects and institutions assisting the needy and disenfranchised.

“With the ardent desire for peace in your country, you led the church and traveled the world to console those obliged to emigrate,” wrote the pope.

“I am sure that you will always accompany the journey of the Maronite Church with your prayers, your wise counsel and your sacrifice.”