Area: 10,452 sq. km.
Neighbouring countries: Syria to the East and North, Israel to the South
Capital City: Beirut
Other Cities: Tripoli, Sidon, Baalbek, Zahleh
Ethnic groups: Arabs including Palestinians (about 10%), Armenians, Syrians and Others
Languages: Arabic (official), French and English
Currency: Lebanese Pound
Member of: Arab League, OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) and UN
(De Agostini, Jan. 2008)
A part of the Ottoman Empire, then under French mandate in 1920, Lebanon obtained its independence on the 26th November 1941, and is today a Parliamentary Republic.
According to the Constitution, the State respects all religions and guarantees their legislative and juridical autonomy regarding marriage and family except succession. There is no State religion.
The population is about 4 million. The Catholics are about 2 million. (Source: Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2008)
Relations with the Holy See
Lebanon has diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Apostolic Nuncio is Mgr. Gabriele Giordano Caccia, tit. archbishop of Sepino (16th July 2009).
BENEDICT XVI TO THE BISHOPS OF CELRA – CONFERENCE OF LATIN BISHOPS OF THE ARAB REGION: Nevertheless, it is essential to give firm support and encouragement to those who choose to remain faithful to their homeland in order to prevent it from becoming an archaeological site deprived of ecclesial life
BENEDICT XVI TO THE AMBASSADOR OF BAHRAIN, ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF HIS CREDENTIALS: As my venerable Predecessor Pope John Paul II wrote: "One must never forget that a gesture of peace can disarm one's adversary and often invites him to respond positively to the hand held out, because peace, which is a good par excellence, tends to be communicated"…