Friday, August 31, 2012

Al-Akhbar- George Khodr: The Poet Bishop

From today's al-Akhbar English. Read it all here.


George Khodr, the metropolitan bishop of the archdiocese of Mount Lebanon of the Orthodox Antiochian church since 1970, was born in Tripoli. It was from there that he set out to explore the worlds of theology and philosophy. He embraced dialogue, turning it into a lifestyle and a way towards engagement.

 His deep understanding of religion and theology gave him something akin to a poet’s conception of God and existence. As such, his writing in al-Nahar newspaper is characterized by a unique poetic tone that intertwines spiritual metaphors with the modernity of language. Khodr was a friend of contemporary modernist poets like Onsi al-Hajj, Adonis and Yusuf al-Khal.


Khodr discovered that each group knows how to explain its religion to the other. An enlightened Christian reveals Christian ideology just as an enlightened Muslim reveals Muslim ideology. “We took long strides in this dialogue and a belief emerged that these two groups must get to know each other and come together. Dialogue is intellectual engagement and discussion of the other’s ideology. This dialogue can carry on to the extent that the other group becomes responsive.”

But the bishop was shocked lately by a return to sectarianism. The solution lies according to Khodr in secularism. “As a bishop, I win under secularism,” he says explaining that adopting secularism would expel self-interested people and opportunists from the church. “This will be accomplished but it needs time. Salvation from the current crisis will come about and peace will reign in the East.”


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