Image of Beirut Port blast Image of Beirut Port blast 

Pope Francis recalls second anniversary of Beirut Port explosion

At his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis prays for the people of Lebanon as they mark the second anniversary of the Beirut Port explosion on 4 August.

By Vatican News staff reporter

During his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis recalled the second anniversary of the devastating Beirut Port explosion.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope said his thoughts went out to the families of the victims of the disastrous event and to the "dear Lebanese people."

“I pray that everyone may be consoled by faith, comforted by justice and truth, which can never be hidden. I hope that Lebanon, with the help of the international community, will continue on the path of rebirth, remaining faithful to its vocation to be a land of peace and pluralism, where communities of different religions can live in fraternity,” the Pope prayed.

Explosion and aftermath

On 4 August 2020, a massive blast ripped through the port of Beirut and the surrounding areas, killing more than 215 people and injuring thousands.

The force of the explosion also caused damage to buildings, including Churches and monasteries.

The blast was caused by tons of ammonium nitrate unsafely stored in a warehouse at the port of Lebanon’s capital.

At the time, the Church, through Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Internationalis, helped to provide emergency assistance for those affected by the disaster. 

In a gesture of solidarity with the people of Lebanon following the blast, Pope Francis donated 250,000 Euro as initial aid to assist the Church in this moment of difficulty through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Just a few days shy of the second anniversary of the explosion, a part of the grain silos damaged in the 2020 port blast collapsed.

The silos, which had been on fire for some weeks prior to Sunday's collapse, sent plumes of smoke into the sky, reviving traumatic memories of the August 2020 blast.

According to officials, the fire was the result of summer heat igniting fermenting grains that had been left rotting inside since the explosion.

First Anniversary

Last year on the 1st anniversary of the explosion, Pope Francis appealed for what he called, the beloved country of Lebanon.”

He also said he was thinking of the country “a year after the terrible port explosion in its capital, Beirut, with its toll of death and destruction. I think above all of the victims and their families, the many injured, and those who lost their homes and livelihoods,” he noted.

Prayer and Reflection for Lebanon 2021

In July 2021, the Pope met with Lebanese Christian leaders in the Vatican.

Alluding to this, Pope Francis said that “during the Day of Prayer and Reflection for Lebanon last 1 July, together with Christian religious leaders, all of us listened to the hopes and aspirations, the frustrations and weariness of the Lebanese people, and we prayed for God’s gift of hope to overcome this difficult crisis.”

In his words, the Pope also appealed “to the international community to offer Lebanon concrete assistance in undertaking a journey of “resurrection”. 

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03 August 2022, 10:56