Catholic Church in Lebanon

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The Catholic Church in Lebanon is part of the worldwide Catholic Church under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

There are about 1.2 million Catholics in Lebanon in total, the majority of whom are not Latin Catholics but instead follow Eastern Catholic rites as part of the Catholic Church - mostly Maronite, but also Melkite as well as Catholic rites non-native to Lebanon like Armenian, Chaldean, and Syriac.

The Maronite Church constitutes the largest Eastern Catholic church represented in both Lebanon, and the Middle East. The "Land of the Cedars", as Lebanon is known, is the only one in the region where Catholics play an active role in national politics. Besides the President of the Republic, which by the Constitution of Lebanon must be a Maronite Catholic, in the Lebanese Parliament there are 43 seats reserved to Catholics out of a total of 128 seats. Catholics are also well represented in the government and in the public life.

Until the 1960s, Catholics were also the major component of the population and represented 43% of all Lebanese. Nowadays, they are considered around 27% of the total population, being Maronites 21%, Melkites 5% and non-native to Lebanon Catholic rites like Armenian Catholics 1%.

Recent history[edit]

Muslim and Christian communities coexist in the country for centuries. Cohabitation was sanctioned by a National Pact in 1943, which created a democracy based on religious communities. The country became a good example of religious and ethnic coexistence. But that lasted only a few decades. The larger communities, Christian and Muslim, were upset by the long Lebanese Civil War that raged between 1975 and 1990. The religious geography of the capital Beirut was redrawn: 65,000 Shiite Muslims abandoned their neighborhoods, and Nabaa chout; from interior regions, in contrast, to the capital flowed 80,000 Maronites and Druzes.[1] As a result of the Civil War, West Beirut was progressively abandoned by Christians.[citation needed] Also, a mass exodus fleeing saw tens of thousands of civilians, including Christians, Druze and Sunni Muslims.[citation needed]

Not enough internal upheavals, during this period, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees entered the country. At the end of the Lebanese Civil War, Christians, by majority, were discovered minority.

In 1995 it was held a Special Assembly of Bishops for the Lebanon, convened by Pope John Paul II in Rome.

Territory and statistics[edit]

Since 1954 the Holy See has its own seat in Lebanon, the Apostolic Vicariate of Beirut.[2] with 15,000 Roman Catholics, 161 priests and 8 parishes in 2010. There are 1,883,000 Catholics in Lebanon (mainly Eastern Catholics), with 23 episcopal sees, 1,603 priests and 1,253 parishes belonging to the six Catholic rites.[3]

Rites of the Catholic Church in Lebanon[edit]

In addition to the Latin Church in Lebanon there are five other Catholic Churches sui iuris. Each is characterized by a liturgical rite specific differences. Among them, the main in Lebanon is the Syro-Antiochene. The Catholic Antiochian Rite form two distinct groups: the Maronite Church (main Catholic religious branch in Lebanon) and Syriac Catholic Church. Both churches have their patriarchal see in Lebanon. However, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (second most important Catholic branch in Lebanon), Armenian Catholic Church and Chaldean Catholic Church are also present.

Apostolic nunciature[edit]

The Apostolic Nunciature in Lebanon was established on 21 March 1947 with the short For christifidelium salutem by Pope Pius XII.


  • Alcide Marina, CM (1947 - September 18, 1950, deceased)
  • Giuseppe Beltrami (October 4, 1950 - January 31, 1959, appointed Apostolic Internuncio to the Netherlands)
  • Paolo Bertoli (April 15, 1959 - April 16, 1960, appointed Apostolic Nuncio to France)
  • Egano Righi-Lambertini (July 9, 1960 - September 12, 1963, appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Chile)
  • Gaetano Alibrandi (December 9, 1963 - April 19, 1969, appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland)
  • Alfredo Bruniera (April 23, 1969 - November 6, 1978, appointed Pro-Nuncio of Kuwait)
  • Carlo Furno (November 25, 1978 - August 21, 1982, appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Brazil)
  • Luciano Angeloni (August 21, 1982 - July 31, 1989, appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Portugal)
  • Pablo Puente Buces (July 31, 1989 - July 31, 1997, appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Great Britain)
  • Antonio Maria Vegliò (October 2, 1997 - April 11, 2001 appointed secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches)
  • Luigi Gatti (June 28, 2001 - July 16, 2009 appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Greece)
  • Gabriele Giordano Caccia, (July 16, 2009 - September 12, 2017 appointed Apostolic Nuncio of Philippines)
  • Joseph Spiteri, (March 7, 2018 - Present)

Religious institute (orders)[edit]

List of religious institutes that have their mother house in Lebanon:


Melkite Catholic[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [Andrea Riccardi, The century of martyrdom, Mondadori, p. 304.]
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]