Elias Boutros Howayek, the 72nd Patriarch of Antioch for the Maronites, and widely considered as the founder of modern Lebanon, was declared venerable yesterday by Pope Francis. Howayek was elected Patriarch of Antioch from 1899 till his death in 1931.

A candidate is declared Venerable Servant of God, or simply Venerable when the heroic virtues of a person are recognized. After this stage, “a miracle through the intercession of the person is required to clear him/her for beatification, like Archbishop Sheen. A beatification ceremony is held where the person is declared a Blessed.
Another such miracle is required after beatification to clear the person for canonization, declaring him/her a saint.” [Source]

Hoayek led in 1919 the Lebanese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. He fought to be able to see Lebanon free from the Ottoman Empire and had no desire to see it become part of an Arab monarchy. The Lebanese delegation led by Hoayek presented the Lebanese aspirations as follows:

– The extension of the frontiers of Lebanon to include the cities of Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli and the districts of Akkar, Beqaa, and Southern Lebanon. These cities and districts were natural parts of Lebanon, but were administratively separated by the Ottoman rule.
– The recognition of Lebanon’s full independence French protectorate over Lebanon.

General Gouraud announced a declaration by France of the independence of Lebanon on September 1, 1920.