Pope Francis on Tuesday hailed the late Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir as a staunch maker of peace, dialogue and reconciliation in a condolatory cable he sent to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi.
“I extend my deep condolences to his family, and to all the faithful of the Patriarchal Maronite Church of Antioch, which he governed for many years with such gentleness and determination,” the pontiff wrote.
The pope described Cardinal Sfeir as “a free and courageous man", and "a key architect of mediation, peace, and reconciliation.”
“A staunch defender of his country’s sovereignty and independence, he will remain a great figure in Lebanon’s history," Pope Francis said in the telegram.
"I ask the Father of all mercy to welcome into his home of peace and light this wise and committed Pastor who knew how to manifest God's love to the people entrusted to him,” the pope concluded.