JERUSALEM – On Friday, March 15, 2019, Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague, made his solemn entrance to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre accompanied by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and a delegation of the Custody of the Holy Land led by the Custos Fr. Francesco Patton.
The solemn entrance to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre was preceded by the entry into the old city of Cardinal Duka at New Gate. The Archbishop of Prague, escorted by some members of the Episcopal Conference of the Czech Republic, then continued to the Basilica following the entrance procession through the streets of the Christian quarter.
This procedure is part of the status quo rules, according to which cardinals, upon formal request, can be solemnly received at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. In this event, the procedure foresees that the celebration follows the traditional liturgy reserved for solemn entries of the heads of the other Christian confessions.
Occasionally, as in the case of Cardinal Duka, the greeting in front of the closed doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is also added.
Once he reached the entrance and performed the ritual greetings, Cardinal Duka and the bishops of the Czech Republic were welcomed into the Basilica by the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, who greeted and welcomed them at the Stone of the Anointing.
The procession then moved in front of the Aedicule of the Resurrection where Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa also welcomed the Czech archbishop.
Before the solemn blessing of Fr. Patton, Cardinal Dominik Duka concluded by thanking those present for a warm welcome.
At the end of the procession, those present went to the premises of the Latin Patriarchate for an informal reception outside the protocol. Here the bishops of the Czech Bishops’ Conference put questions to Archbishop Pizzaballa, regarding the condition of the Christians of the Holy Land.
On this occasion, the Apostolic Administrator conferred the Pilgrim Shell and scroll on H.E. Jan Graubner, Archbishop of Olomouc. That is an honor reserved for the Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem who visit the Holy Land.
Filippo De Grazia