Lebanon's 'Red Bishop' passes away aged 91

Lebanon's 'Red Bishop' passes away aged 91
Lebanese archbishop Gregoire Haddad passed away aged 91 in a Beirut hospital late on Wednesday.
2 min read
24 December, 2015
Gregoire Haddad passes away aged 91 in Beirut on Wednesday [The New Arab]
Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop Gregoire Haddad has passed away aged 91 in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Wednesday night.

Also known in Lebanon as the 'Red Bishop', Haddad has left behind what many consider a prominent mark on liberation theology in Lebanon.

The author of dozens of books on politics and society, Haddad was an influential thinker within both Christian and Muslim communities of the Arab world.

Promoting ideas on the secularisation of the state and calling for interfaith dialogue, Haddad urged for coexistence amongst all sects.

He was particularly close to the poor and strongly believed that the Church should represent their interests.

Social media sites flooded with comments on Haddad's passing and in praise of his legacy.

Hadad founded the 'Social Movement' in the 1960's which was concerned with social and intellectual matters and worked on bring people together at the height of the Lebanese civil war between Muslims and Christians.

The 'Red Bishop' was also known for demanding a civil state in Lebanon and calling for the exclusion of personal matters from religious institutions. He was an avid supporter of civil marriage in Lebanon.

Haddad was also a noted contributor to the 'Civil Society Movement', a secular movement in Lebanon that called for 'building a community for humans'.

"If one is a true Christian, he should be able to accept people as they are, and if people wish to exist in a certain manner, then no one should deter them from doing so," Haddad said in an interview published in 2009, "A man should be valued because he is man and not because of the belief he practices."

The Catholic Church censured Haddad for challenging societal norms and questioning the Church in the 1970's.

He was pressured to resign from his prominent position at the one of the largest Catholic Churches in the Arab world in 1975 but continued his advocacy for social movements until his final days.