News & Media

February 22, 2012
Homage to Father Michel Hayek

On February 22, 2012, under the High Patronage of His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al Rai, and on the occasion of the book release “The Maronite: An Intricacy or a Cause”, by Rev. Fr. Michel Hayek, The Phoenix Center of Lebanese Studies at USEK organized a conference under the title of “Homage to Father Michel Hayek”. This book, edited by Jad Kusaifi, consists of 11 lectures given by Fr. Michel Hayek during Lent 1979, in St. Georges Cathedral in Beirut.

Following the Lebanese National Anthem and a documentary movie on the life and achievements of Fr. Michel Hayek, Mgr. Issam Abi Khalil, representing Bishop Boulos Matar, delivered a speech entitled “The Maronite in the Thought of Father Michel Hayek”. Within this he underlined that Fr. Hayek “… devoted his whole life to defend the Maronite religion… The Maronite religion was able to withstand new challenges as it did throughout 14 centuries and remained the consciousness of Lebanon and the East”. Mgr. Issam Abi Khalil stressed that such resistance was achieved, “Thanks to the prayers of its sons, their sacrifices and their martyrs on the altar of homeland and humanity”.

Father Daniel Zgheib spoke about “Father Michel Hayek and the Maronite Liturgical Reform”. He stated that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, several priests started to show interest in the Maronite liturgy after it had been overlooked for a long period of time; namely Boutros Dib, Michael Rijji, Michael Doumit and Michel Hayek. Nevertheless, what distinguished Michel Hayek from the other liturgical experts is that not only did he provide a descriptive presentation of the liturgy, but he was also a pioneer in pinpointing its flaws and proposing alternative reforms that should be undertaken.

In his speech, journalist Farid Selman considered that it was a rare blessing to have known Father Michel Hayek in his lifetime, pointing out that “…while hoping for a rebirth of our devastated East, threatened by its historical pluralities, I am crushed by the pain of the premature absence of Father Michel Hayek, because this great East was in the forefront of his concerns and dreams”.

The conference ended with the speech of Dr. Naji Hayek, nephew of Father Michel Hayek, who spoke about Michel Hayek, the human being, who having always in mind the example of Jesus Christ, lived a life, which was intellectually rich and physically poor. He underlined that “Father Hayek was a committed person; committed to every human being, pursuant to the words and deeds of Jesus… He embraced this humanitarian commitment on all levels within Society and the State, since such commitment is an essential value in Christianity, and Father Michel was aware that, through such commitment, the humanitarian aspect of people matures”.
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