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(in Rabweh, Lebanon at 5p.m. on Tuesday 10 May 2011)

On Tuesday, 10 May 2011, in Rabweh (Lebanon), Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, inaugurated "in the name of Christ the Saviour, risen from the dead," the Liqaa International Centre for Dialogue, in the presence of the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Sleiman and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Muhammad As-Salemi, Minister of the Awqaf and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman.

Many distinguished figures, both civil and religious, accepted the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch’s invitation.  Present were the Grand Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid Qabbani, Sheikh Akl of the Unitarian Druze community, the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, representatives of the other Catholic Patriarchs of Lebanon, Pastor Selim Sahyouni, President of the Supreme Council of Evangelical Churches in Lebanon and Syria, as well as many Melkite Greek Catholic, Maronite and Orthodox bishops, not to mention the superiors general and mothers general of the main Lebanese religious orders.

Also present were Ministers Michel Pharaon, Tarek Mitri, Selim Wardeh and Hassan Mneimneh, as well as Members of Parliament Hagop Pakradounian, Michel Moussa, Ghassan Moukheiber and Marwan Fares, military leaders, heads of university and leading representatives of the judiciary.

The international community was very well represented by some 29 Western and Arab ambassadors and the Sultanate of Oman by a delegation led by the Secretary-General of the Sultan Qaboos Centre for Islamic Culture, Mr. Habib Bin Mohammed Al-Riyami.

The ceremony was introduced and presented by Father Michel Sabee. The Apostolic Nuncio read a letter from Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Then Mr. Habib Bin Muhammad Al-Riyami gave a speech for the occasion, and H. B. Gregorios III gave a speech that can be found on the Patriarchate’s website (in English, French and Arabic.) http://www.pgc-lb.org/english/index.shtml

At the end of the ceremony, the Patriarch, the President and the Omani Minister unveiled the commemorative plaque of the event, then together cut the ribbon to the entrance to the Centre’s main hall, where a cocktail was offered to all the attendees.