In the Middle East, one country stands out for its political system based on confessionalism: Lebanon. But what exactly does this mean? Power is shared between the different religious communities according to their demographic and political weight. A peculiarity that suggests that the Lebanese state recognises several religious communities on its territory. So which religions are practiced in Lebanon? Answer.
Religions in Lebanon: recognised religious communities
Lebanon is a multi-faith country with 18 religious communities. Among them, five are Muslim or of Islamic origin: the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Druze, the Ismailis and the Alawis. The other 13 are Christian. On the one hand, there are the Catholic Christian communities, which include the Maronites, Greek Catholics, Armenian Catholics, Syriac Catholics, Latins, Chaldeans and Copts. Then, on the other hand, the non-Catholic Christian communities which are also present in Lebanon: the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian Orthodox, the Syrian Monophysite, the Assyrians, the Protestants and finally, the Coptic Orthodox.
To simplify, there are two religions practiced in Lebanon: the Muslim religion and the Christian religion. Each religion is divided into several communities. In terms of distribution, Lebanon is said to be approximately 60% Muslim and 40% Christian. However, these figures remain approximate, as the Lebanese State has not carried out an official census since 1932.
The most beautiful Muslim and Christian places of worship in Lebanon
Religion means places of worship. In Lebanon, mosques and churches coexist in order to welcome all the faithful. In Beirut, the oldest mosque in the capital is called Al-Omari. Built in the 13th century, it was damaged during the civil war and then renovated. Another sublime mosque, still in Beirut, is that of Mohammed El-Amine. With its five domes, four minarets and a surface of 9,700 m², it is the largest mosque in Lebanon! Further north, in Tripoli, the Taynal mosque is worth a visit. With its emerald domes, it has a stone façade and Roman columns in the Corinthian style. A real gem!
As for cathedrals, don’t miss the Maronite cathedral of Saint George in Beirut, whose new bell tower was inaugurated in 2016. Topped by a luminous cross, it rises to a height of 72 metres. In the north of Lebanon, the port city of Batroun hosts the chapel of Saydet El-Bahr. A place of worship with an arcaded terrace from which you can see the sea. Splendid.