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A Pilgrim’s Thoughts on the Holy Land

Excerpt from the “Apostolic Exhortation of His Holiness PAUL VI to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the World Concerning the Increased Needs of THE CHURCH IN THE HOLY LAND,” March 25, 1974.

by Pope Paul VI

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It is of course true that Christianity is a universal religion, not linked to any one country, and that its followers “worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:23) But it is also a religion based upon an historical revelation. Alongside the “history of salvation” there exists a “geography of salvation.” Thus the Holy Places possess the invaluable quality of providing faith with an indisputable support, enabling the Christian to come into direct contact with the setting in which “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn. 1:14) 

For this reason We decided “to become Ourself a pilgrim to the Land of our Lord Jesus,” “the land where the Patriarchs, our fathers in faith, once lived; the land which echoed with the voices of the Prophets, who spoke in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…” 

This blessed land has thus become in a certain sense the spiritual heritage of the Christians of the whole world, who dream of being able at least once in their lifetime to visit it as pilgrims and to express their devotion and manifest their love for God who became the Infant in Bethlehem, the young Worker in Nazareth, the divine Master and Wonder-Worker throughout the whole region, the Crucified Christ of Calvary, the Redeemer risen from the tomb which is in the “Temple of the Resurrection…” 

With deeply moved heart have We returned from Our pilgrimage, and We will carry forever in Our memory the impressive and moving scenes of the Holy Places which speak with such eloquence of the life of Christ, and of His passion and His love. 


1,2,3 Apostolic Exhortation of His Holiness PAUL VI to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the World Concerning the Increased Needs of THE CHURCH IN THE HOLY LAND, March 25, 1974.

4 POPE PAUL IN THE HOLY LAND, Herder and Herder, New York, 1964, Rear Cover Copy.

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