Maximos V Hakim

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  • Maximos V
  • مكسيكوس الخامس حكيم
Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch
Ben Gurion - George Hakim 1960.jpg
Maximos V Hakim meets with David Ben-Gurion, 1960
See Antioch
Elected 22 November 1967
Installed 26 November 1967
Term ended 22 November 2000
Predecessor Maximos IV Sayegh
Successor Gregory III Laham
Other posts Bishop of Damas
Orders
Ordination 20 July 1930
by Maximos IV Sayegh
Consecration 13 June 1943
by Cyril IX Moghabghab
Personal details
Birth name George Selim Hakim
Born (1908-05-18)18 May 1908
Tanta, Egypt
Died 29 June 2001(2001-06-29) (aged 93)
Beirut, Lebanon
Denomination Melkite Greek Catholic Church
Residence Syria and Lebanon
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Maximos V Hakim (Arabic: مكسيكوس الخامس حكيم‎; May 18, 1908–June 29, 2001) was elected Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch in 1967 and served until 2000. He guided the church through tubulent changes in the Middle East and rapid expansion in the Western hemisphere.

Life[edit]

He was born George Selim Hakim at Tanta, Egypt, May 18, 1908, to parents who were originally from Aleppo.[1] He was educated locally and at Le College de la Sainte Famille (High School of the Holy Family) Jesuit school in Cairo. After completing his studies at St. Anne of Jerusalem, he was ordained a priest in the Basilica of St. Anne by Maximos IV Sayegh, then Archbishop of Tyre, on July 20, 1930. As a young priest he taught for a year in the patriarchal school in Beirut before returning to Cairo in 1931.

Episcopate[edit]

He was consecrated Archbishop of St. John of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and all Galilee, in Cairo on June 13, 1943, by Patriarch Cyril IX Moghabghab, assisted by the Archbishops Dionysios Kfoury and Peter Kamel Medawar, patriarchal auxiliaries. He was elected Patriarch by the Holy Synod at Ain Traz on November 22, 1967.

As a priest, he distinguished himself by his running of the Patriarchal College in Cairo and by the launching and publication of the review Le Lien. Later, as an archbishop, he built schools, a junior seminary, an orphanage, a home for the elderly and several churches. He took particular care for the clergy and for the religious and secular orders and he brought in several groups of Europeans come to integrate themselves into the Church. As archbishop he spearheaded efforts to provide relief for Palestinians during the 1948 exodus.

Under his guidance as patriarch, a minor seminary was established at Damascus and later a major seminary for the formation of priests was opened at Raboueh in Lebanon. He later funded numerous scholarships for needy seminarians during the Lebanese Civil War. He also oversaw the growth of the Melkite church in North and South America as many of the faithful emigrated to the West.

Maximos condemned the violence that pitted Muslim against Christian in Lebanon, where Greek Catholics constitute 4% of the population.[1] In 1982, he negotiated with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt to safeguard ancient Christian villages in the Chouf valley. He enjoyed warmer ties with Syria than his colleague, Butros Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of the more powerful Maronite Catholic community.[1] Even so, community politics would prove dangerous for him at times. In 1990, he was targeted by would-be assassins as he travelled to the predominantly Christian city of Zahle, located in the predonimately Shi'ite Beq'a valley.[1]

Following an old tradition of the more than 900-years old Order of Knighthood, founded in Jerusalem to take care of lepers in the Hospital St. Lazare, he was the Spiritual Protector of the international ecumenical Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, as is his successor.

Patriarch Maximos resigned on November 29, 2000, due to failing health and was succeeded by Patriarch Gregory III Laham. He died on June 29, 2001 in Beirut.

Writings[edit]

A prolific writer, Maximos is best remembered for his Arabic work Al Rabita and the French works, Message de Galiléerenc, and Pages d'Évangile lues en Galilée.

1948 Nakba controversy[edit]

In the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Hakim negotiated with Yehoshua ("Josh") Palmon, then leader of the "Arab Section" in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, for the return of Galilee Christian Arabs (then refugees in Lebanon) in exchange for Hakims future goodwill towards the Jewish State. In the end several thousand (including several hundred from Eilabun) Galilee Christian were allowed to return in the summer of 1949.[2]

In the 1950s, while he was archbishop of Galilee, the future patriarch was involved in the fate of the Palestinians of the two depopulated Christian villages of Kafr Bir'im and Iqrit. He alerted the Vatican and other Church authorities about the expulsion of the villagers, and lobbied for their return.

A number of sources[3][4][5] have quoted Maximos V as having said "the Arab League had issued orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries." For example, Israel's Abba Eban told the U.N. Special Political Committee in 1957 that Hakim had said:

The refugees had been confident that their absence from Palestine would not last long; that they would return within a few days [or] within a week or two; their leaders had promised them that the Arab armies would crush the 'Zionist gangs' very quickly and that there would be no need for panic or fear of a long exile.[3]

Joseph Schechtman in his 1949 publication book The Arab Refugee Problem quotes Hakim's comment to Karl Baehr, the then Executive Secretary of the American Christian Palestine Committee. Schechtman says of Hakim and his views,

The role played by the British authorities in the Arab mass flight is also stressed by Monsignor George Hakim, Archbishop of the Greek Catholic Church (a Uniate Church which is in fellowship with the Vatican and counts 20, 864 adherents in Palestine). An Arab himself and a former supporter of the Mufti, Archbishop told Baeher... that an important element in precipitating the flight, particularly in the Haifa area (where Monsignor lives) was "the fact that the British informed the Arabs that they would not protect them. Since most of the Arab leaders had already fled, the people were thrown into a panic so they fled by sea to Lebanon. They fled in spite of the fact that the Jewish authorities guaranteed their safety and rights as citizens of Israel."[6]

Erskine Childers investigating the claim made by Eban that the

Arab League issued orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboring countries, later to return to their abodes in the wake of the victorious Arab armies and obtain their share of abandoned Jewish property.[3]

later wrote in The Spectator on May 12, 1961:

I wrote to His Grace, asking for his evidence of such orders. I hold signed letters from him, with permission to publish, in which he has categorically denied ever alleging Arab evacuation orders; he states that no such orders were ever given. He says that his name has been abused for years....[7]

In a letter Childers received from the Archbishop in 1958, Hakim responded to allegations that his words were used as evidence that the Arab leaders had given the Palestinian Arabs orders to evacuate:

There is nothing in this statement to justify the construction which many propagandists had put on it, namely, that it established the allegation widely disseminated by partisan sources that the Arab leaders had urged the Arab inhabitants of Palestine to flee.

"As far as I can recollect, the aforesaid statement was intended to voice the strong feeling of resentment and revulsion felt by the refugees. They were convinced by what they had heard and read that the defeat of the Jewish armed forces, the re-establishment of peace and order throughout the country, and the institution of Arab rule, would be achieved within a short time. Instead of such achievements the Arab States had twice agreed to a truce, and the Arab armies were inactive. Hence the strong feeling of disappointment and frustration among the file and rank of refugees.

"At no time did I state that the flight of the refugees was due to the orders, explicit or implicit, of their leaders, military or political, to leave the country and seek shelter in the adjacent Arab territories. On the contrary, no such orders were ever made by the military commanders, or by the Higher Arab Committee, or indeed, by the Arab League or Arab States. I have not the least doubt that any such allegations are sheer concoctions and falsifications. [....]

... as soon as hostilities began between Israel and the Arab States, it became the settled policy of the Government to drive away the Arabs. (Childers.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Joffe, Lawrence (July 28, 2001). "Obituaries: Maximos V: Spiritual leader of a million Christians". The Guardian (London). p. 22. 
  2. ^ Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press, 2004 p. 480
  3. ^ a b c Abba Eban (November 1958). "Arab Refugees: The Real Story". Address to the UN General Assembly's Special Political Committee. The Jewish Press. Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  4. ^ John B. Quigley (1990). Palestine and Israel: a challenge to justice. Duke University Press. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-0-8223-1023-5. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  5. ^ No solution to the Arab-Palestinian Problem Samuel Katz, 1985
  6. ^ Joseph Schechtman (1949). Arab Refugees: Facts and Figures. New York, N.Y.: Jewish Agency for Palestine. p. 12. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ E. B. Childers (1971). "Transformation of Palestine". In I. Abu-Lughod. The Wordless Wish. Northwestern University Press. pp. 197–198. 

External links[edit]