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Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Monday, 19 July 2010 12:02 UK
Bishop of Clifton visits Lebanon to support Christians

The Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton
Bishop Lang has travelled to Lebanon at the request of the Maronite Church

The Bishop of Clifton has travelled to Lebanon to support Christians in the Middle East.

The Rt Rev Declan Lang is in the country at the request of the Maronite Church.

Bishop Lang hopes that the visit will 'deepen the relationship' between the Bishops of England and Wales and the Catholic community in Lebanon.

Bishop Lang said: "I felt the best way to show the Bishops' solidarity with the people of Lebanon and, in particular, the Maronite Catholic community was to accept the invitation to travel to the country and learn about the challenges, hopes and expectations of the people firsthand.

"I am particularly looking forward to meeting with Cardinal Sfeir of the Maronite Church to assure him of our prayers and support."

'Interreligious dialogue'

Bishop Lang will be accompanied by Dr Harry Hagopian, the Bishops' Conference's Consultant on the Middle East, who said:

"Those who know Lebanon or come to understand or visit Lebanon will realise that it has a very positive side.

"Christians are extremely attached to their faith, values and customs - as are Muslims.

"In a sense we need to express our support to the Christian churches - to the Catholic Church through the visit of Bishop Declan - but also to show we support interreligious dialogue.

"Interreligious dialogue and the coming together of these different confessional communities is, to my mind, a very singularly Lebanese form of democracy."

You can find out more information from a special podcast, in which Dr Harry Hagopian gives his 'Middle East Analysis'.

Dr Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, political consultant, writer and lecturer - he also works within the Armenian Church in London.

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