Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land - 26/03/2000 info: custodia@netvision.net.il
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26/03/2000


Morning visits of His Holiness
March 26, 2000

This morning, the last day of pilgrimage for His Holiness Pope John Paul II has been marked by the visit of His Holiness to the three monotheistic most holy sites in the City of Jerusalem. The Area of the Mosques (Haram es-Sharif for the Moslems and Temple Mount for the Jews) was the first site visited by the Pope. And it was also the first time ever that a Pope and Bishop of Rome set foot on this area as it will be the first time too the His Holiness arrived in the Popemobil and was welcomed in front of the Mosque of Omar by the Great Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Akram Sabri and other Moslem authorities who presented to His Holiness with a petition asking the Pope to intervene to resolve the problem of Jerusalem and to protect their rights on the sacredness of the city for Islam. After this meeting His Holiness had a private meeting with the Great Mufti. During this encounter the Moslem authorities asked that they pray to God that He removes the injustice on the Palestinian people to help them return from the Diaspora to their homeland with Jerusalem as their capital city. The Pope replied with a speech where he again insisted on the pilgrimage spirit of his visit. He reiterated the importance of the faith in Abraham and how Jerusalem is sacred to Jews Christians and Islam. After the exchange of gifts His Holiness left for the Western Wall.

From the Mosques the Pope was driven in a car down to the area of the Western Wall where he was welcomed by the Jewish Religious authorities. Afterwards His Holiness walked to the Wall where he stopped and prayed with Psalm 1: "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." During this prayer a young Israeli was arrested and carried away by the police because he was protesting against the Pope's visit to the wall considering it a profanation. After the prayer the Pope deposited on the wall the parchment with the psalm he had just read there and with a petition of pardon for the injustices carried out against the Jews. This is a tradition among the Jews to place in the wall petitions and prayers to God. After the exchange of gifts His Holiness left for a courtesy visit to the Armenian Orthodox Patriarch after yesterday he had already visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. Hostorically the Armenians, Greek and Catholics (latins) are the main proprietors of the Chruch of the Holy Sepulchre where the Pope headed after this visit.



Created / Updated Sunday, March 26, 2000 at 11:21:41