JERUSALEM – A few days before Christmas, according to a respected annual tradition, the civil and military authorities of Jerusalem came to the Latin Patriarchate to present their greetings.
As Christmas nears, official visits greatly increase at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. On Tuesday December 20, 2016, the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, accompanied by a delegation from the municipality, spoke with Archbishop Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Patriarchate. The two men spoke about the collaboration between the Mayor and the Patriarchate, including several urban development projects and various social initiatives to improve the living conditions of the residents of the Old City of Jerusalem.
There were also delegations from the Jerusalem police and the Israeli army, on December 21 and 12, respectively. Cordial exchanges focused on the order maintained in the holy places, especially in view of the influx expected at Christmas, the security situation in Israel and Palestine, and its consequences in the daily life of the population and the tourism sector. “The holy places are highly sensitive places,” noted the Archbishop, referring to “this strange, unique and fascinating relationship between people and stones, bearers for each one’s histories and traditions, anchored not only in the Scriptures but also in consciences, in mentalities.”
Archbishop Pizzaballa also presented his good wishes for the feast of Hanukkah whose celebration coincides this year with Christmas, Sunday, December 25, 2016.
All called for a year of peaceful coexistence.