- A few numbers
- 2,000,000 Christians
- almost 40 % Christian population
- 94 Communities assisted
- €3.6M In aid donated by l’Œuvre d’Orient
- Population: over 6,000,000 inhabitants. Lebanon currently hosts 950,000 Syrian refugees according to the UNOCHA (30/09/2018)
- Official language: Arabic
- Form of government: Parliamentary republic (Michel Aoun)
Lebanon and Eastern Christians
- Special feature: the government is based on a denominational division of power between the different religious denominations present in Lebanon. Lebanon is thus governed on a basis of parity between Christians and Muslims. For example, the President of the Republic and the Army Chief must be Maronite Christians, while the Prime Minister must be a Sunni Muslim and the President of Parliament a Shiite Muslim. Christianity has been present in Lebanon since its origins and, via its various communities, including the Maronite community, plays a major role in political, economic, social and cultural life.
- The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and the East is Bechara Boutros Raï.
- Referring to the Land of the Cedars, Jean-Paul II spoke of a “message”. Eighteen religious communities have been living side by side for centuries. Within this mosaic, thirteen are Christian and six of these are attached to Rome.
- The Church plays a major role in Lebanese society and has high visibility. Structured around 24 dioceses, it has 1,126 parishes with 53 bishops and 1,543 priests, 390 seminarians, and 62 postulants.
- The 39 pastoral centres welcome all communities. The aim of the 2,800 religious leaders, the 2,301 lay missionaries, and the 500 catechists is to transmit the faith.
- Catholic education is dispensed mainly in French from kindergarten level through to higher education. There are almost 430,000 scholars and students at over 900 establishments, plus 350 other supporting structures.
- In the health and social spheres, the Church manages 30 hospitals and 168 dispensaries, 39 retirement homes, 63 orphanages and nurseries, 22 family and social protection centres, and 28 other specialised social centres.
L’Œuvre d’Orient supports the Lebanese Church in all these fields.
A threat to the equilibrium of the Lebanon
- In August 2018 Msgr. Pascal Gollnisch launched this appeal: “The refugees in the countries bordering Syria, especially the Lebanon, must return home. It is important not to destabilise the fragile balance that has existed between the communities in Lebanon for years. The country’s very existence is at stake. The international community, in conjunction with the Syrian authorities, must put in place the means to enable these people to return home ensuring their safety and human dignity.”
L’Œuvre d’Orient’s projects in Lebanon
- In 2017, 21 % of L’Œuvre d’Orient’s aid was distributed through various projects in Lebanon.
- Support to francophone educational establishments run by religious congregations,
- A literacy centre for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Bouchrieh,
- A help centre for Lebanese street children (the Afif Osseiran foundation),
- A school in the suburbs (like the Baalbeck Maronite school or the Carmel St-Joseph school, at Mechref in the Chouf district),
- A hospital complex (renovation of the Bannes hospital).