His beatitude Patriarch Paul meouchi left Lebanon for Europe a month ago. He first visit?
View of the plane while taxing near the airport lounge reserved for high dignitaries only.
Patriarch Meouchi steps down from the plane.
A wild acclaim from the waiting public estimated 5,000
Patriarch Paul Meouchi shakes hands with a receiving delegation representing the President of the Republic. Present among them: was Hussein Oueini, Lebanese Foreign Minister; Pierre Edde, minister of Interior and Pierre Gemayel Minister of Public Works
Patriarch Paul Meouchi reviews a guard of honour.
Patriarch Paul Meouchi leaves the airport in a special convertible saloon, provided for the occasion by the President of the Republic. The Presidential guard in jeeps followed and another one hundred cars followed which made the cortege of the Patriarch drove through the principal roads in the capital. A truly triumphal reception was reserved to the Patriarch after a sojourn of a month in Europe -- where he visited Italy, France and Spain.
Enclosed are some press cuttings.
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Background: His beatitude Patriarch Paul meouchi left Lebanon for Europe a month ago. He first visit ed the Vatican where he had audience with the Pontiff John. Then he went to France where he paid a formal visit to President De Gaulle in Paris, later went to Spain where he visited General Franco in Madrid. This is the first visit abroad for the Patriarch since his appointment by the late Pope in 1955 as head of the Maronite Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle East.
The Patriarch is both, religious and political personality in the Arab World. His backing last year of the Lebanese Revolt helped topple the pro-Western regime of Camille Chamoun. However this doesn't mean the Patriarch is anti-Western -- he is purely nationalist Arab who advocate friendship for both camps, East and West. Positive neutrality is best policy says the Patriarch.