Lebanon\'s Baalbek festival has angered the orthodox community
Beirut – Riad Shouman
The Baalbek International Festival may be cancelled this year after facing several problems.
The festival initially had to be relocated from Khan al-Harir
to Jdeidet al-Metn in north Beirut due to security concerns, however in the past few days another issue has arisen as a group of Christian Orthodox priests are protesting the use of a popular church hymn in commercials for the festival.
Priests of the Orthodox diocese of Beirut called on festival organizers to remove the hymn titled “The Entire People,” which honours the Virgin Mary, from a commercial in which the hymn was coupled with a dance routine.
“While we respect and support the arts and popular culture, we reject completely the mixing of the holy with the artistic,” the priests said in a statement directed at festival organizers.
“We reiterate our respect to you and our support of your work, but we also repeat our complete refusal for the use of our hymn, and we are confident that our request will be received positively by you,” the priests told the festival organizers in a statement.
A committee from the festival allegedly contacted the diocese of Beirut to meet ?and discuss the issue.
However an online campaign has now been launched by both priests and believers calling for the boycott of the festival.
Father Botros al-Zein from the Saint Michael Church commented on the campaign of ? saying “the debate should continue. I am very pleased with the stance announced by ?Beirut’s priests, and we hope that we follow their example in Jebel Lubnan. We don’t accept what’s ?happening; especially since it hurt the feelings of Christians and lacks respect for religious ?traditions and rituals.”?
“We are not against art, but it is not allowed to dance to a divine ?hymn. It is for worshipping in the house of Allah and not for a dancing show in the theatre ?where its original purpose is totally eliminated and it becomes a source of inappropriate attention,” Father Zein added.