Australia

Victims of Beirut explosion remembered in Australian religious services

Service at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Western Sydney remembers the victims of the Beirut blast earlier this week Source: SBS News

Lebanese Christians in Australia have gathered for church services, in-person and virtually, to pray for the victims of this week's Beirut explosion that has killed over 150 people.

Lebanese Christians around Australia have attended church services to remember the victims of Tuesday's devastating explosion in Beirut.

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral in Western Sydney was filled to its coronavirus-restriction imposed capacity as the community came together for the first weekend since the disaster that has killed at over 150 people, including one Australian.

A service at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Western Sydney remembers the victims of the Beirut blast that has killed over 150 people
A service at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Western Sydney remembers the victims of the Beirut blast that has killed over 150 people

A live-stream of the service was also offered for those unable to attend.

"This is our small way from 20,000 kilometres away to say a prayer for the people," NSW state member of parliament Jihad Dib, who was at the service, told SBS News.

"It's important people come together, and we're seeing people across all different faiths come in solidarity to say a prayer for the people of Lebanon.

"What they've been through has been unbelievable," he said.

Only 100 people were allowed into the cathedral because of COVID-19 restrictions, and attendees had their temperatures taken on arrival.

Those attending the service at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Western Sydney have their temperature checked on entry
Those attending the service at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Western Sydney have their temperature checked on entry because of coronavirus measures
SBS News

About 250,000 people make up Australia's Lebanese community and most directly know someone who has been devastated by the event.

"There are no words that can describe what we're going through," Sister Irene Boughosn told SBS News.

"Everyone has been touched, in a different way."

Authorities in Beirut on Saturday said there were still at least 60 people still missing as rescuers continued to search through the rubble.

The Australian government has pledged $2 million to the humanitarian and recovery effort.

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