Russian Russian Orthodox Church held a meeting at the Russian House in Beirut on July 2, 2021, dedicated to the progress of restoration work on the objects of the Beirut Metropolis of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, in the restoration of which the Russian Orthodox Church actively participates.
Among the participants of the event were the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Lebanon A. N. Rudakov, the rector of the Russian Orthodox Church in Beirut Archimandrite Philip (Vasiltsev), the chairman of the Association of St. Porphyry Zh. Russian Russian House in Beirut director V. I. Zaichikov and parishioners of the Russian Metochion.Hasbani, director of the Russian House in Beirut V. I. Zaichikov and parishioners of the Russian Metochion.
Those present were able to get acquainted with the exhibition, which presents photos showing the stages of restoration work. The Russian Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage provided great assistance in their financing.
As A. N. Rudakov noted in his welcoming speech, " Russia has historically always helped and is helping Lebanon." "Russian assistance covers various spheres, and the Lebanese people are well aware of this," the diplomat stressed. — Russia did not stand aside when the disaster occurred last year, caused by an explosion in the seaport of Beirut. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin reacted immediately and, without waiting for any bilateral consultations, sent emergency workers, a mobile hospital and the necessary assistance to the victims to Lebanon."
Speaking about the support of the state and public institutions of Russia to the victims of the explosion in Beirut, the ambassador also noted: "Timely and effective assistance was provided through the Russian Orthodox Church, and today we see its results."
Orthodox politician, former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon Zh. Hasbani recalled that the history of Christianity in the Lebanese land began with the apostolic times, and already in the early Middle Ages in the center of Beirut, next to the Cathedral of St. George, there was a metropolis of the Church of Antioch. "The city developed, churches, schools, hospitals were built, and the metropolis eventually moved to where it is now (the Ashrafiya quarter)," Zh. Hasbani. — After the end of the civil war of 1975-1990, a large-scale reconstruction of the affected churches, residential buildings, schools, social and medical institutions was carried out. After the explosion in Beirut last August, the Association of St. Porphyry had to re-engage in the restoration of what was destroyed in Christian areas." Zh.Hasbani mentioned that this work was primarily aimed at housing and educational institutions, churches and cultural and historical monuments, hospitals and clinics. "It was at this critical moment that help came from Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church," the Lebanese politician stated.
He stressed the importance of the concern shown by the Russian side "for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Lebanon, including Christian sites," which, in his opinion, " will have a positive impact on the social and interreligious balance, given the multi-confessional nature of Lebanon."
"We sincerely thank the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian state and the people for their support in the difficult circumstances in which Lebanon is now, and we strive to ensure that our fruitful cooperation continues in the future," Zh. Hasbani.
He recalled that already a century and a half ago, thanks to Russia, 150 schools were built in Lebanon, which were called "moskobia". "This cultural and educational activity has earned love and appreciation for Russia forever," Zh. Hasbani.
Already at the present time, the Russian Orthodox Church has provided assistance in the amount necessary for the repair of objects that are very important for Orthodox Christians — the Church of St. Dmitry, which was badly damaged by the explosion in the seaport, the ancient metropolis, which is of great historical value, and the Bishara school, where 800 children were trained. As the Lebanese politician stressed ," this school, built at the beginning of the last century near the church of the Holy Great Martyr Catherine, preserves good traditions and occupies one of the leading places among the educational institutions of the city."
Archimandrite Philip (Vasiltsev) noted: "Given the scale of the destruction caused by the explosion that occurred on August 4, 2020, it was impossible to take responsibility for the restoration of all the destroyed and damaged churches and diocesan institutions. Therefore, in coordination with Metropolitan Elijah of Beirut and in working contact with the president of the Association of St. Porphyry, Mr. Hasbani, three objects were allocated: the building of the Metropolitan of Beirut, the diocesan college of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos and the church of the Great Martyr Demetrius in Ashrafiya. Funds for the restoration were received, after which a lot of systematic work was carried out."
At the end of the working meeting, the executive secretary of the Association of St. Porphyry, Piya Abdo, presented a presentation of restoration works at the sites of the Beirut Metropolitan Area, the website of the Russian Orthodox Church in Beirut reports.