ADDRESS OF H.H.B. THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM TO THE FRANCISCAN CUSTODY OF THE HOLY LAND ON THE OCCASION OF EASTER
His Beatitude Theophilos III
Patriarch of Jerusalem
18 April 2017
Your Paternity, dear Father Francesco,
Beloved Members of our Respective Brotherhoods,
Christ is risen!
We welcome you in the joy of this Paschal Feast to our Patriarchate, as we celebrate the Feat of Feasts, and we thank you for your greetings. This providential coming together of the Eastern and Western celebrations of Easter is especially significant for us this year, for we have just marked the completion of the renovation of the Sacred Edicule.
This joint project, carried out by the co-operation of our three Communities, has been a great sign tot the world of the unity and harmony of our spiritual mission in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and this unity and harmony of mission have been crowned in our celebration of the Resurrection on the same day.
As we gather together, we repeat the great salutation of the Easter Liturgy:
This is the day that the Lord has made,
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
In these words we discern the spiritual mission of the Holy Places. Here both faithful pilgrims in our native communities find the peace, love, pardon, faith, hope, light, an joy that are made manifest by Easter. Here all who come are able to drink deeply from the well that springs up to eternal life. Here all who come are refreshed by the fount of immortality.
On Palm Sunday, as Holy Week began, the desperate need of our world for the spiritual mission of the Holy Land was made clear to us in the bombings of the churches in Egypt. Christians as well as those of other faiths are experiencing terrible persecution, and in the face of this suffering the message of light and hope of the Holy Places, and especially of the Holy Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ, becomes so much more urgent.
May we deepen our co-operation in our spiritual mission, and may the unity of purpose that we have known in the renovation of the Sacred Edicule be an inspiration to all who look to the Holy Land for the assurance of God, who in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, has brought life and immortality to light.
May God bless you, Your Paternity, the members of your Brotherhood, and the communities that you serve.
Christ is risen!