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Summer, 2014
Volume 40, Number 2
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In this 1996 image, children attend a festival in New York celebrating Greek heritage. (photo: Karen Lagerquist)
  
3 June 2014
Greg Kandra




Indian Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, who had been the editor of a Catholic weekly newspaper before coming to Rome to serve as head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches, died in Rome at the age of 90. He is pictured in an undated photo with Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.
(Photo: CNS files)


Indian cardinal, former head of Congregation for Eastern Churches, dies (CNS) An Indian cardinal who had been the editor of a Catholic weekly newspaper before coming to Rome to serve as head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches died in Rome at the age of 90. The death of Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy 2 June leaves the College of Cardinals with 214 members, 118 of whom are younger than 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. In a telegram of condolence to Archbishop Anthony Anandarayar of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, Pope Francis recalled the late cardinal who spent his life “spreading the Gospel first in India and subsequently in service to the universal church...”

Voting begins in Syria (CNN) Polls for the Syrian presidential election opened Tuesday against the backdrop of a bloody and protracted civil war. The outcome is hardly in doubt: President Bashar al-Assad is almost guaranteed to emerge victorious in a vote that opposition groups and many Western countries say has been be rigged from the start. Syria isn’t renowned for holding free and fair elections...

Patriarch visits Homs (ByzCath.org) On his return from Jordan, where he had gone to welcome Pope Francis, Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, went to Homs on a pastoral visit to strengthen and show solidarity with the city’s clergy and faithful. Welcomed at the city gates by Metropolitan John (Abdo Arbash) of Homs, Hama and Yabrud, Patriarch Gregorios began by visiting the city’s governor, Talal Al-Barazi before going to the Khaled ibn Al-Walid mosque, where Sheikh Fathallah Al-Qadi, the Mufti of Homs Province, and Sheikh Issam Al-Masri, Director of the Waqfs (religious endowments) of Homs, were expecting him. Then Gregorios III began the pastoral aspect of his visit by going to the Melkite Greek Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace where, flanked by Metropolitan John and his clergy, the patriarch proceeded to bless the cathedral by sprinkling with holy water before reciting the peace prayer of Pope Saint John Paul II during his jubilee trip to Syria in 2001...

Rolling Stones’ first concert in Israel delayed for religious Jewish fans (Religion News Service) The Rolling Stones will begin their first concert in Israel 45 minutes later than originally scheduled to accommodate religious Jewish fans. The Stones’ 4 June Tel Aviv concert was initially set to begin at 8:30 p.m., just minutes after the end of the Shavuot holiday, the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which commemorates Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. Orthodox Jews do not drive on the Sabbath or holidays, so it would have been impossible for them to arrive at the venue on time. Many of the Stones’ biggest Israeli fans — modern Orthodox baby boomers who moved to Israel from English-speaking countries — had begged the event promoter, Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production, to push back the starting time. “Following many requests from the public, particularly the observant public, to delay the starting hour for the performance, the City of Tel Aviv, together with the production team, decided to change the starting time,” the promoter said in a press release. The municipality had to agree due to after-hours noise pollution laws...



Tags: Syria India Israel Jordan
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2 June 2014
Sami El-Yousef




Patriarch Fouad Twal presides at Ephpheta’s first high school graduation. (photo: CNEWA)

The Pope Paul VI Ephpheta School for the Hearing Impaired in Bethlehem made history last week with its first-ever high school graduation. Up until 2012, Ephpheta students would finish their schooling at 10th grade. For some, that would be the end of their formal education; others would be able to go on to regular schools. In 2010, discussions started to rectify the situation and add two more classes so that the students could finish 12 grades and receive a high school diploma. In 2012, after two years of planning, the school added two new classrooms, which led finally to this milestone. For more than 40 years CNEWA has been the primary financial supporter of Ephpheta, enabling generations of young people to learn how to lip-read, speak and communicate with the outside world. (Read more about the school’s work.)

I was privileged to attend the graduation. As a show of great support to the school and its dear mission, His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal presided. The list of guests included the Mayor of Bethlehem, Mrs. Vera Baboun; Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, Bishop Marcuzzo; the Bursar of the Custody of the Holy Land, Fr. Ibrahim Faltas; as well as government officials representing the Ministers of Education and Social Services in the Palestinian Authority. The Sisters of Saint Dorothy who run the school were well represented with the presence of their Superior General, Sr. Luciana, as well several other sisters who serve in the school and within the country.

There were seven graduates—four young women and three young men, all ready to sit for the government-administered standard exam. We wish them all the best of luck in their future academic and/or career plans. During the ceremony, a number of speeches were given, the most touching of which was delivered by the valedictorian. He was clearly emotional about leaving his school after 13 years. As he put it, he feels “very sad to be leaving his second home and second family.”

It is worth noting that just a few days earlier the role of Ephpheta was highlighted during the visit of Pope Francis, as he acknowledged the four main institutions that were set up as a direct result of the visit of Pope Paul VI to the Holy Land in 1964. The four institutions were Ephpheta; Bethlehem University; Tantur Ecumenical Institute; and Maison d’Abraham Guesthouse. What a great coincidence that the graduation of this very first class coincided with the uplifting visit of Pope Francis, whose message has always been to support the poor and the weak!

In the meantime, the wonderful mission of Ephpheta goes on — but not without you! Please visit our Ephpheta giving page to learn how you can play a vital role in helping young people connect and communicate. You can help bring sound into their world and, truly, give them a voice.

CNEWA is proud to have played a significant role in the development of the school for over four decades. Congratulations to the class of 2014!



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2 June 2014
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople kiss the Stone of Unction in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre on 25 May. The two leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.
(photo: CNS/Grzegorz Galazka)


Msgr. John E. Kozar, CNEWA’s president, offers some personal reflections and insight into the pope’s recent visit to the Holy Land in a column for the latest edition of Pittsburgh Catholic:

Pope Francis came first and foremost as a pilgrim to pray. He also came as a church leader to unite, as a world figure to invite all parties to renounce violence, and to embrace forgiveness, mercy and justice.

His visit was religious in nature and not political, even though every word uttered, every gesture and facial expression, every venue visited has been dissected for a political angle. But this pope doesn’t “second guess” himself, he is not driven by media reviews. He is the “real deal.”

He came to the Holy Land for a number of reasons: to confirm anew the determination of all Christians to be one, as was boldly affirmed 50 years ago by his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras; to demonstrate a solidarity with millions of innocent people displaced by war in Syria and Iraq; to highlight the long suffering of the Palestinian people seeking a permanent homeland; and to encourage Christians to remain in this Holy Land and the greater Middle East.

A prayer service, led by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, took place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the site of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Also participating were leaders of the Latin and Eastern Catholic traditions as well as most of the Orthodox churches, most of whom trace their foundation to apostolic times. The pope and the ecumenical patriarch signed a declaration to continue to pursue “communion in legitimate diversity.”

Pope Francis no doubt surprised the Israelis and Palestinians when he invited both sides to come to his “house” in the Vatican to pray together with him for peace. And the good news is that both sides have accepted his invitation.

Read more.



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2 June 2014
Greg Kandra




In this image from April, Syrian President Bashar Assad looks at destroyed religious artwork with a member of the clergy during a visit to the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, Syria.
(photo: CNS/Syria’s national news agency handout via Reuters)


Syria poised to re-elect Assad (CNN) In the midst of a bloody and protracted civil war, the Syrian government is set to hold a presidential election Tuesday. The outcome is hardly in doubt: President Bashar al-Assad is almost guaranteed to emerge victorious in a vote that opposition groups and many Western countries say will be rigged from the start...

Christian property seized in Syria (Fides) On Sunday 1 June, militiamen of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a Sunni jiahdist formation, confiscated houses and land belonging to Christian families in Ein al-Issa, Syria, the area in the province of Raqqa inhabited mainly by Armenian Christians. According to Kurdish sources, the owners of the confiscated property were forced to leave the area...

Pope appeals for peace in Ukraine (Vatican Radio) At the Regina Coeli address on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed “for the victims of the tensions that still continue in some regions of Ukraine, as well as in the Central African Republic.” He renewed his appeal “to all parties involved, that misunderstandings are overcome and that dialogue and reconciliation might be sought with patience...”

Cardinals to determine canonization date for India’s new saints (Vatican Radio) Cardinals who are in Rome will gather around Pope Francis for a consistory on 12 June to decide upon the date for the canonization of six future saints of the Catholic Church, among them India’s Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sr. Euphrasia Eluvathingal. Blessed Chavara, belonging to India’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church based in Kerala state, founded the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. He lived from 1805 to 1871. Blessed Euphrasia of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, also belonged to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. She was born in 1877 and died in 1952...



Tags: Syria India Ukraine Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
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30 May 2014
Greg Kandra




A painting of the Virgin Mary hangs on the wall of Our Lady of Zion Church in Aksum, Ethiopia.
(photo: Sean Sprague)


As May draws to a close — the month devoted to the Virgin Mary — we get a glimpse at a colorful depiction of Mary from Ethiopia (above) and offer some insight into the place where it originated. From the March 2011 issue of ONE:

Located in Ethiopia’s far northern region of Tigray, Aksum is the former capital of an empire that dominated the Horn of Africa from the third century B.C. to the eighth century after Christ. Home of the fabled queen of Sheba, Aksum is best known as the cradle of Ethiopian Christianity, which became the faith of the empire when the Aksumite emperor, Ezana, embraced it in the early fourth century. Today, Ethiopia’s Christian majority is mostly Orthodox.

Since its earliest days, Aksum has been a center for sophisticated and distinctive decorative arts and crafts, especially metalwork, woodcarving and painting. Scholars believe that soon after Christianity took root in the city, artists began fashioning items utilized in the Qeddase (or Divine Liturgy), mainly ecclesiastical crowns, crosses, fans, icons and manuscripts. Geometric carvings, first utilized in pre-Christian era art of the area, predominated.

Not until the late 16th century, after Portuguese Jesuit missionaries arrived in Ethiopia and dazzled Aksum’s elite with their early Baroque artifacts, did local artists begin adding the finer flourishes that many now associate with traditional Ethiopian liturgical art. Manuscript cases, for example, became more intricate and featured figurative and geometric forms; manuscript pages contained delicate and colorful designs, as well as images of the saints, the Virgin Mary and Christ.

Read more about Ethiopia’s Vibrant Sacred Art from the March 2011 issue of ONE.



Tags: Ethiopia Orthodox
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30 May 2014
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on 26 May.
(photo: CNS/ Tsafrir Abayov, EPA)


Encounter to pray for peace will take place on 8 June (Vatican Radio) The head of the Press Office of the Holy See, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed that the invitation to pray together for peace in the Vatican, Pope Francis extended during his Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land to both the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, has been accepted and will take place in the afternoon of Sunday 8 June 2014...

Pope decries “globalization of indifference” (CNS) A “globalization of indifference” has taken hold of too many of the world’s people, numbing them to the horrifying reality faced by the people of Syria and other innocent victims of war and violence around the world, Pope Francis said. With the Syrian conflict continuing for more than three years, “there is a risk of becoming used to it” and forgetting that people are dying there each day, the pope said 30 May in a message to participants at a Vatican-hosted meeting for Catholic aid agencies. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable activity, brought together two dozen Catholic relief and development agencies that are working in Syria or with Syrian refugees. The meeting was designed to help them work together more efficiently and reach more people in need...

Pope: Holy Land trip was a great grace (Vatican Radio) At the heart of Pope Francis’ address at his weekly General Audience on Wednesday was his recent visit to the Holy Land. The faithful gathered on a warm day in St Peter’s Square, listened as the Pope told them that this journey was great grace for him and for the whole Church. The Holy Father recalled this trip as one that commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, and which marked a milestone along the path to Christian unity...

Kerala police rescue almost 600 children (India Today) Kerala Police and Palakkad district officials rescued almost 600 children being transported into the state from Bihar and Jharkhand on the pretext of sending them to orphanages. Officials, however, fear this to be a clear case of child trafficking. The authorities rescued the children following tips from Railway Police....

Russian Orthodox priest blesses Soyuz spacecraft (Daily Mail) A Russian Orthodox priest has prayed for the Soyuz spacecraft ahead of its blast off tomorrow to the International Space Station. The crew arrived at the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan two weeks before the launch to prepare themselves for the journey...



Tags: India Middle East Kerala Russian Orthodox
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28 May 2014
Greg Kandra





In the video above, Pope Francis gently corrects Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on which language Jesus spoke. (source: Huffington Post)

A small controversy erupted Monday during a meeting between Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

As Netanyahu began speaking on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, he mentioned Jesus Christ, saying via a translator, “Jesus lived here. He spoke Hebrew.”

Pope Francis interrupted, pointing out that Jesus spoke Aramaic.

“He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” Netanyahu responded after some chuckling arose from those seated around them.

Israeli linguistics professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann told Reuters that both men had a point.

“Jesus was a native Aramaic speaker,” he said. “But he would have also known Hebrew because there were extant religious writings in Hebrew.” Zuckermann went on to mention how Hebrew was spoken at the time by the lower class, the exact kind of people Jesus was said to have preached to.

CNEWA’s external affairs officer (and Middle East scholar) Elias Mallon offers this analysis:

The Huffington Post recounts that, during his visit to Israel, Pope Francis corrected Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. It seems that in his attempt to draw links between Christians and Jews, the prime minister stated that Jesus spoke Hebrew. Pope Francis is said to have interjected, “he spoke Aramaic.”

Although Jesus most definitely did not speak Ivrit, the Hebrew of the modern State of Israel, both the pope and prime minister are probably right. Aramaic was the language generally spoken at the time of Jesus and together with Greek was the lingua franca of the entire Middle East.

While closely related, Hebrew and Aramaic speakers could not understand each other. We know this from 2 Kings 18:26-37. When the leaders of Jerusalem are negotiating the cessation of hostilities with the ambassador of the Assyrian king, the ambassador speaks to them in “the Judean language” in the presence of the Jewish soldiers. But the Jewish negotiators ask him to speak in Aramaic not Hebrew. The clear implication is that the defenders of Jerusalem would not have understood the negotiations if they were carried on in Aramaic.

One often hears that Jesus came from the hinterland, where the uneducated people spoke Hebrew, the older language of the land. However, the image of Galilee as a backwater is no longer tenable. Excavations at Sepphoris, a wealthy city and trade center about three miles from Nazareth, indicate that there was a large Greek-speaking community near the home town of Jesus. Greek merchants would most likely have been familiar with Aramaic if they were doing business in the Middle East. And as a carpenter it would be likely that Jesus had contacts with Sepphoris. It is also possible that he spoke some Greek.

There is mention in John 12:20 of some “Greeks” (hellēnēs) who wished to see Jesus. In the Acts of the Apostles, when referring to Greek-speaking Jews, Luke calls them “Hellenists” (hellēnistos) and not “Greeks.” So it is not unreasonable to assume the people mentioned in John’s Gospel were Greek.

Matthew, Mark and Luke each recount the story of Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth. Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 relate that the people were astounded at Jesus’ “wisdom” (sofia). Luke 4:16-19, on the other hand, recounts that Jesus was invited to read from the scroll in the synagogue. The reading was from the Book of Isaiah. It is highly unlikely that this reading would have been in any language other than Hebrew. So I would say it is fairly safe to assert that Jesus could speak and read Hebrew, Aramaic and perhaps Greek as well.

Of course in the contemporary Middle East, everything is politicized — demography, linguistics, even beverages. Coffee changes from “Arabic coffee” to “Turkish coffee” depending on where it is consumed. The good-hearted exchange between the prime minister and the pope, while an echo of stress lines in the Middle East, is also an example of how those stresses can be reduced through open exchange and respect.



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28 May 2014
Greg Kandra




In Lebanon, young refugees at a community center run by the Good Shepherd Sisters smile
for a visitor. (photo: John E. Kozar)


Later this week, CNEWA will be taking part in an important gathering in Rome, focusing in large part on helping refugees like those shown in the picture above.

Vatican Radio has the details:

On Friday, 30 May, the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” will host a coordination meeting between the Catholic charitable organizations that operate in the context of the Syrian crisis...

...Speakers will include Archbishop Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, and Bishop SE Antoine Audo, president of Caritas, Syria. Finally, the activities carried out at the information office in Beirut, set up last year to collect and distribute data on the work of Catholic organizations, will be presented. In the afternoon, the practical aspects of cooperation between the various parties in Syria and neighboring countries will be the focus of attention.

The objective of the meeting, in line with the path taken in the last two years by the Holy See, and as a result of the meeting of 4-5 June 2013, organized by the Pontifical Council, is to make an assessment of the work done so far by the Catholic charitable organizations in the context of the crisis, highlighting critical issues and identifying priorities for the future.

Michel Constantin, regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, will represent CNEWA.

Wondering how you can help kids like those in the picture? Click this link to find out.



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28 May 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




The authorities in Egypt have extended voting in the presidential election to a third day, following reports of an unexpectedly low turnout so far. Orla Guerin reports from Cairo. (video: BBC)

Egypt’s extended voting fails to turn out Sisi supporters (Los Angeles Times) Egypt’s election went into overtime on Wednesday as the government sought to drum up more votes for former military chief Abdel Fattah Sisi, but turnout again appeared lackluster on the hastily added third day of polling…

Syrians abroad vote in advance of national ballot (New York Times) Thousands of Syrians clogged approach roads and formed lines outside their embassy in Beirut on Wednesday as voting for expatriates began in an election that is expected to return President Bashar al Assad to power…

Patriarch Youhanna X calls for amity and optimism to reconstruct Homs (SANA) Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch and All the East called on all people of Homs to embrace patience, optimism and amity in reconstructing what has been damaged, expressing confidence that the efforts exerted by the state will let everyone come back to their homes and neighborhoods…

Lebanon security forces suspect plot to assassinate patriarch (Daily Star Lebanon) Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces arrested a suspect who confessed to cooperating with a regional intelligence apparatus in a plot to assassinate Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter, security sources told the Daily Star…

Chaldean Synod to be held in Baghdad from 24-28 June (Chaldean Church) In one month, the leaders of the Chaldean Church will convene in their synodal meeting. In preparation, Patriarch Louis Raphael has asked that a prayer be read at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in every Chaldean parish and monastery for each Sunday leading up to the event…



Tags: Syria Egypt Chaldean Church Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch
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27 May 2014
Sami El-Yousef




A large crowd is seen as Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, on 25 May. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Pope Francis’s visit to the Holy Land ended up being a truly historic visit. On Sunday, shortly before 7 in the morning, I left my home in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and started making my way to Bethlehem for what I knew would be the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I made it to the presidential complex in Bethlehem to witness the official welcome of the pope to the State of Palestine — the first-ever head of state to arrive in Palestine without first entering Israeli-controlled territory. Around 9:30, the pope arrived in a modest VW Jetta and was formally received by the Palestinian leadership. A few minutes later, I was one of eight Palestinian Christians scheduled to meet His Holiness and to speak about the Christian presence in the Holy Land, about our challenges, aspirations and our many contributions to society through our schools, health care programs and social service initiatives. His Holiness was very warm and wanted to learn more. But due to the limited time, we handed him a letter on behalf of the Palestinian Christian community, asking him to do what he can to help to improve our situation and lead to our freedom and independence.

After attending the press conference of Pope Francis and President Mahmoud Abbas, we were rushed to Manger Square through Bethlehem’s narrow back roads so as to make it in time before Mass. Little did we know that as we were being escorted, Pope Francis went through Bethlehem’s main roads and spontaneously stopped at the separation wall to pray.

A few minutes later he arrived at Manger Square in his open car, cheerfully waving at the crowds before stopping in front of the beautiful altar that was set up specifically for the occasion. The backdrop featured a large mural depicting the Christ Child in the manger, surrounded by several saints and the previous popes who have come to Bethlehem: Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Manger Square itself was filled with more than 10,000 people from all over the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza and the Galilee. The liturgy of the “Christmas Mass,” which emphasizes the needs of children, was memorable and the atmosphere was uplifting. As the Mass was ending, the midday Muslim prayers started from the mosque at Manger Square, reminding us of the diversity of our Holy Land. The sounds coming from the choir and the call of prayer from the mosque blended together in a display of the interfaith spirit we all wish to see strengthened.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem, West Bank, 25 May.
(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)


Once the papal Mass ended, we headed to a special luncheon. Joseph Hazboun, who works in our Jerusalem office, and his family were among the five families to share a meal with Pope Francis and personally tell him about the challenges facing Palestinian Christians. As for me, I had lunch with President Abbas along with his top leadership and several other guests, including the Maronite patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal Peter Bishara; Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim; Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius; the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III; and the emeritus Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Michel Sabbah.

Once lunch was over, I rushed back to Jerusalem to make it to the next event, the ecumenical meeting at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre between Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew. We had to congregate at 4:30 pm to make our way through the stringent Israeli security measures. Once inside the church, we were seated around Christ’s tomb in two main sections reserved for Catholics and Orthodox.

One could immediately feel the historic gravity of the event with so many cardinals, patriarchs, bishops, priests and many members of religious congregations. The speeches were uplifting and articulate; the call to Christian unity was sincere. A half century has passed since the historic gathering on the Mount of Olives between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964, and we have advanced tremendously when it comes to Christian unity. But we are still far from it. My hope is that this historic visit will be the inspiration for the local church leaders to work for this unity on the ground, day in and day out.

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople embrace during an ecumenical celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on 25 May.
(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)


As I was leaving the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I was stuck at the same checkpoint in the Old City along with our guest from Lebanon, Cardinal Patriarch Peter Bishara. We were permitted up the ancient steps that lead toward the Christian Quarter road. There again, security had blocked the quarter and we were directed through the long way back through the Christian Quarter up through the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate road to Jaffa Gate, where he was residing at the Maronite complex. We strolled together for and I had the opportunity to talk with him about the Christian Quarter, the Old City, the daily hardships of life under occupation, the travel restrictions and access to our churches during Holy Week, and the general situation of Palestinian Christians. He was a compassionate listener whose heart is with the weak and marginalized as well. He is facing much criticism for visiting Jerusalem while it is under occupation. I encouraged him during this walk and he encouraged me. We both promised to pray for each other.

This was a day I shall never forget. I will be proud to tell my grandchildren that I was there to witness it all!



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