Prince William visits the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher

Published: June 28 Thu, 2018

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JERUSALEM – On Thursday, June 28, 2018, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visited the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, in the heart of the Christian quarter of the old city. Like many Christians, he came to venerate this place where Christ suffered his Passion, was crucified (in Golgotha), buried and resurrected.

This is the first official visit of a member of the British royal family to the Holy Land since the creation of Israel in 1948. Arriving last Monday in Tel Aviv, the prince visited the Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem. He was later received by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and he visited Palestinian refugees and youth in the West Bank. The Duke of Cambridge ended his visit in the Holy City, where he began by contemplating the old city from the Mount of Olives, visiting afterwards Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Just before eleven o’clock, the prince arrived at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher where he was greeted by a delegation of Church representatives and guardians of the place. Accompanied by Bishop Suhail Dawani, Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Prince William was able to discuss with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III, the Armenian patriarch and a Franciscan monk representing the Custody. He shook hands with Mr Adeeb Al-Husseini, responsible for the key, and Mr Wajeeb Nuseibeh, gatekeeper. They both are members of the Muslim families of the old town who received this privilege from Saladin.

The prince entered the church, accompanied by his delegation. After the priests kissed the Anointing Stone, the prince knelt down and put his hand on it. He then went to the tomb, the place of the burial and the resurrection of Christ. There, he prayed for a long time. After a tour of the Holy Sepulcher, he took the stairs leading to Calvary where he lit a candle that he planted in the sand.

The tour ended with a group photo with the Church representatives, thus concluding his visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, part of the occupied Palestinian territories since 1967 as the British Foreign Office stated on the Prince’s program – a detail that greatly displeased Israeli officials.

Vinciane J.