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Lebanon's Maronite head wants to resign: agency

Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir,the head of ebanon's Maronite church tenders his resignation to the Vatican

AFP, Sunday 16 Jan 2011
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The head of Lebanon's Maronite church, Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, tendered his resignation several months ago but the Vatican has yet to accept, the Lebanese news agency NNA reported on Sunday.

"After meeting Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Labour Minister Boutros Harb announced that the patriarch had submitted his resignation to the Holy See, asking to be relieved of his duties," it said.

The Vatican has not yet decided whether to accept the resignation, the agency added.

Sfeir has wielded considerable political influence in Lebanon since assuming leadership of the country's Maronite church in 1986.

Maronite Christians made up the most powerful single community prior to Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, but their influence has since waned as they have been outnumbered by Shiite Muslims in the multi-sectarian country.

Sfeir in 2000 openly declared opposition to Syria's three decades of domination over Lebanon that ended five years later when Damascus withdrew its troops following former premier Rafiq Hariri's assassination.

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