Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alan, Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, spoke about the results of his last visit to Lebanon, held on June 7-9, 2021, and about the assistance provided to the Lebanese by the Russian Orthodox Church.
In an interview with the Sputnik news agency, Vladyka Leonid noted: "The Russian Orthodox Church, through the Fund for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage, has donated funds for the restoration of three objects in Lebanon that were damaged by an explosion in the port of Beirut in August last year." He continued: "One of the most affected objects is the building of the Metropolitan of Beirut, both the internal frescoes and the building itself need restoration. The second object is a temple located in the same area. Due to the shock wave, stained glass windows were knocked out in it, and other elements of the interior, especially the walls, were seriously damaged. The third object is a school, it is supervised by the Association of St. Porphyry, a fairly well-known Orthodox organization in Lebanon. In addition to the secondary school classes, there is also a kindergarten in it."
Vladyka Leonid stressed that he personally visited all three sites and brought with him materials, thanks to which it is possible to fully track how the restoration process is going.
According to the deputy chairman of the DECR, the Moscow Patriarchate will not be limited only to material and humanitarian assistance – the necessary medical equipment and vaccines against coronavirus will be delivered to Lebanon. "The issue of the transfer of vaccines is very important and relevant at the moment, the coronavirus does not spare anyone. At the Patriarchal Residence in Balamand, I was received by His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, who expressed a request for help in providing the Sputnik V vaccine, it is very much expected there. As soon as all the related technical issues are resolved, we will send the requested number of vaccines to Lebanon," said Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alan.
During the visit of the DECR Deputy Chairman to Lebanon, other issues were also touched upon, including the topic of emigration of local residents. Archbishop Leonid stressed: "We share the grief of the Lebanese people that a considerable number of Christians, including Orthodox Christians, are still unable to return to their native lands, which they were forced to leave earlier for various reasons."
At the end of the interview, Bishop Leonid stressed that his trip to Beirut was of a social and humanitarian nature.