The pontiff held his first audience in a closed courtyard of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, with a maximum of 500 faithful.
Before the event, Francis greeted a priest from Lebanon, kissing a Lebanese flag the priest had brought with him to Vatican City.
He also encouraged all Lebanese to maintain hope and find the strength and energy necessary to begin again, while asking politicians and religious leaders to commit themselves with sincerity and transparency to the work of reconstruction, leaving aside particular interests.
Pope Francis described solidarity as the way out of the coronavirus pandemic crisis as he held his first public audience in almost six months on Wednesday after a pause brought on by Italy's outbreak. "Even in the darkest times of its history, the Lebanese people held on to their faith in God and proved their ability to make their land a place of tolerance, respect, conviviality that is unique in the region".
A woman takes pictures of a damaged church on August 5, 2020, after an explosion hit the seaport of Beirut.
Reiterating the 1989 appeal of Saint Pope John Paul II he went on: "Lebanon can not be abandoned in its solitude". "Lebanon can not be abandoned in solitude".
"I address the inhabitants of Beirut, severely tried by the explosion: Take courage, brothers!"
"Therefore, in order to emerge from this crisis better, we must do it together, together, not alone, together, not alone because it is impossible, either you do it together or you don't do it". "Do not abandon your homes and your heritage". "Do not let the dream of those who believed in the future of a handsome and prosperous country slip away".
Clergy have a key role to play in this context by accompanying the Lebanese faithful through this hard time, Francis said. "So I just ask for closeness".
The head of the world Catholic Church went further proclaiming, the coming September 4th, a Universal Day of Prayer and Fasting For Lebanon.
Lebanon is "more than a country: Lebanon is a message of liberty, an example of pluralism" for the Middle East and the rest of the world, Pope Francis said.
For that reason, the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will visit Beirut as an expression of solidarity.
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