Important events during Patriarch Youssef Raji El Khazen’s reign Part1/3
Written by Najib




Important events during Patriarch Youssef Raji El Khazen’s reign Part1/3

1- During Patriarch Youssef Raji El Khazen’s rule, few priests were performing confessions outside the Lord’s house, thereby violating the church rules. Those forbidden practices were spotted by the Vatican, forcing them to issue a bulletin signed by the Pope Pius IX, stating the following:


“Under Chapter 4 of the Lebanese synod, it is clearly stated that Priests are not allowed to listen to believers’ confessions in their houses except in extraordinary circumstances. As such, few priests have been resorting to illegal confessions for their own comfort and personal benefits and other unjustifiable reasons. Given those facts, the Vatican recommends that its guidelines are republished and distributed and that all Maronites abide by it in an attempt to reinforce correct practices”

After the issuance of this bulletin, the pope Pius IX ordered on the 9th of February 1851, that all priests which have violated the sacred Church laws to be resigned from their positions.

2-  The years 1841 till 1845 witnessed several conflicts in Lebanon particularly in the Chouf and Sidon areas, where the Patriarchal chair and its school were sabotaged. As a result, and upon few bishops’ request, Patriarch Raji dispatched Priest Youhana Azar to Europe to collect donations for reconstructing the parish and its school.

Here’s an extract on what came in the Patriarch’s letter:

"To Whom It May Concern, and with God’s will, I hereby present to you this letter through our son the priest Youhana Azar. Due to the unfortunate circumstances that have surrounded our parish in Sidon and in the Chouf area, which have resulted in the destruction of our beloved Church and its school, Sidon’s revered bishop Abdallah el Boustani has sent, with the consent of our ancestor Patriarch Youssef Hbeich, Brother Youhana Azar to collect goods and aids from Christian believers in Europe for the parish and its chair that were totally destroyed last year. We hope and pray that our fellow Christian brothers will be generous enough to help us rebuild the Lord’s house.”

Published on 24 December 1845


Patriarch of Antioch Youssef Boutros


In order to have a better idea of the damages and losses that the Maronite parish in Sidon endured, we refer to the book written by Bishop Abdallah el Boustani in 1845 and quote few excerpts:

“We cannot remain silent on the atrocities that Christians of Lebanon had endured at the hands of their enemies the Druze, and from other nations that did not hesitate to steal Christians’ goods and properties, as well as commit massacres in larger numbers, without sparring women and children and elderly. The cruelty under which those crimes are being committed is unforeseen; Priests were killed without mercy and brutally, religious monuments and building were burned down to the ground, Saida’s school was destroyed completely for the second time in its history after Bishop al Boustani had rebuilt it during Bashir el Chehabi’s rule. More than 65 churches in total were burned without anyone to protect us or being held accountable.”