Saint sponsorship?

In Lebanon, everything seems to be marketable, even potential sainthood. This wall ad is positioned along one of downtown Beirut’s busiest intersections. It follows last week’s beatification ceremony for Father Joseph Haddad, also known as Abouna Yaccoub. It is not clear what the relationship is between the Lebanese Canadian Bank (logo pictured left) and the bearded saint in waiting. Both appear to be enjoying the spotlight though.

The bank, like most in Lebanon, has performed exceedingly well and according to press reports, is now building a new headquarters on one of the most expensive plots in the city (the giant wall ad actually covers the perimeter of the construction site).

Father Yaccoub has also seen his stock grow recently. In the last two weeks his pictures have been plastered everywhere in Christian parts of the city, draping scores of billboards, bridges and even entire apartment buildings. The speed and budget of the campaign for the little known priest has rivaled that of the one created last month to promote the country’s new President, Michel Sleiman.

The streets of Beirut don’t discriminate. Whether priest, president or bank, all are welcome for the right price.

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