January 8, 2014 - Churches of the Holy Land welcome Pope Francis

Published: January 08 Wed, 2014


COMMUNIQUE – The Heads of Catholic Churches in the Holy Land, on Sunday afternoon warmly welcomed the announcement made at noon today by His Holiness Pope Francis of his intention to visit Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem between the 24th and 26th of May. They expressed confidence that this visit will not only be an international event, but it will  mainly be a message of love and brotherhood to all the inhabitants of the countries he will visit.

It should be mentioned that in his announcement, Pope Francis highlighted that his visit to the Holy Land will be a pilgrimage that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ecumenical gathering that was held on January 5, 1964 at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athinagoras (of the Orthodox Churches).

A similar ecumenical gathering is expected in May at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher between Pope Francis and contemporary Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, aiming to highlight the desire for unity among all churches.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land expresses joy for the decision of Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land and insists that this visit aims mainly at spreading and promoting love, cooperation and peace among all inhabitants of the region, as to promote better relations among followers of various religions and advance ecumenical work among Christians of the different churches.

Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land

+ Fouad TWAL Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem President, ACOHL

+ Giuseppe LAZZAROTTO Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus

+ Giorgio LINGUA Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan

+ Michel SABBAH Latin Patriarch Emeritus

+ Elias CHACOUR Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Akka Vice President, ACOHL

+ Yaser Al-AYYASH Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia

+ Boutros MOUALLEM Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Akka

+ Moussa EL-HAGE Maronite Archbishop of Haifa Maronite Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, Palestine, Jordan

+ Gregoire Pierre MELKI Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch – Jerusalem

+ Joseph Jules ZEREY Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem

+Youssef Antoine SOUEIF Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus

+ Maroun LAHHAM Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan

+ Giacinto-Boulos MARCUZZO Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel

+ William SHOMALI Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine

+ Kamal-Hanna BATHISH Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus

+ Selim SAYEGH Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus

+Jean SLEIMAN Latin Archbishop of Baghdad Greek Melkite Apostolic Administrator in Jordan

 Rt. Rev. Arch Joseph KELEKIAN Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman

Very Rev. Pierbattista PIZZABALLA, O.F.M. Custos of the Holy Land

Rev. David NEUHAUS, S.J. Patriarchal Vicar for the Hebrew-speaking Catholic Vicariate President, Commission for Dialogue with the Jewish People

Rev. Jerzy KRAJ, O.F.M. Patriarcal Vicar for Cyprus

Rev. Raymond MOUSSALLI Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan

Rev. Pietro FELET, SCJ Secretary General, ACOHL