JERUSALEM - On Thursday, September 30, 2021, H.E. Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus, and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine made his solemn entry into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.
First, the Heads of Churches, bishops, priests, and General Consuls Mr. Alfonso Lucini Mateo, Consul General of Spain in Jerusalem, Mr. Wilfried Pfeffer, Consul General of Belgium in Jerusalem, Mr. René Troccaz, Consul General of France in Jerusalem, and Mr. Giuseppe Fedele, Consul General of Italy in Jerusalem welcomed Archbishop Adolfo Yllana, the new Pontifical representative to the Holy Land, at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Following the exchange of greetings, the procession towards the Holy Sepulcher started. Passing by Jaffa Gate, and then through the streets and alleys of the Old City, the new Apostolic Nuncio walked among the welcoming crowd, surrounded by Heads of Churches, Latin Patriarchate and Franciscan priests and seminaries, Religious Men and Women, and the faithful.
Upon arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the new Nuncio was greeted by the representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Church, and the Franciscans.
Fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, welcomed the new Nuncio to Jerusalem, “the heart of the Holy Land” in front of the stone of Anointment. He touched on the peculiarity of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where more dialogue and cooperation has been witnessed in the last years, and where “Latins, Greeks and Armenians regularly celebrate the paschal mystery in the Eucharist”. He added, addressing Bishop Yllana: “It is this gift of wisdom, charity, and prudence that we invoke for you, in your diplomatic service in this land, in the countries that fall within your mandate, and in this city; a diplomatic service that you will carry out representing the Holy See here and the Holy Father Pope Francis”.
Around the Aedicule, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, spoke about the historical significance of the Church of Jerusalem in bearing witness to the memory of Christ’s death and resurrection, touching on the difficult political and social conditions that the city of Jerusalem is witnessing, “this reminds our Church that bending down here in this Place to safeguard the memory of Christ's death and resurrection must then lead us to bend to the needs of this land and its peoples. And just as the women of the Gospel came here to pour balm and oil on the wounds of the pierced body of Jesus, so too are we called to pour the balm of hope and the oil of mercy into the life of our communities.”
At the end of his speech, the Patriarch addressed the new Nuncio, saying: “The Catholic Church of the Holy Land, the Mother Church of Jerusalem, however rich in initiatives and vibrant in life, is not complete without the presence of Peter, whom you make present among us.”
For his part, Archbishop Adolfo Yllana greeted all Heads of Churches, bishops, vicars, priests, and General Consuls, expressing happiness and gratitude to be in this Holy place, “the place where Our Divine Master, our Shepherd and Lord, completed His paschal mystery”. H.E. added: “As children born of the love freely offered and revealed to us in this Holy Place, may we truly strive to reap the fruits of this single grain of the immense love sprung forth from this place so that genuine peace bound together by righteousness, which only He can give, may reign among all, for the Risen “Christ himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14).”
On September 14, Archbishop Yllana, alongside five other newly appointed Ambassadors to Israel, presented their Letters of Credence to Israeli president Isaac Herzog, who expressed that he had been following the speeches of Pope Francis with great interest, hailing him as a “very important voice”.
On June 3, 2021, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed H.E. Archbishop Adolfo Yllana, as the new Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, succeeding Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli who served as Nuncio in the Holy Land from 2017 until 2021.