Continuing the tradition of exchanging Christmas greetings, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, accompanied by a delegation from the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher visited the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, on Tuesday, December 28.

After welcoming all members of the Patriarchal delegation, His Beatitude took the opportunity to express his deep appreciation to the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who has been working closely with the Church leaders to defend the Christian character of Jerusalem “to prevent the migration of our Christian population by emphasizing the need for education, jobs, and opportunities here… and to encourage, especially our young people, not to leave the land of their birth and heritage.”

His Beatitude noted: “This journey to unity of faith will lead us also to unity in the common Chalice, which is the longing of all Christian people. We must never be discouraged in working towards that goal, for our unity will be the greatest sign to the world of the truth we seek to proclaim.”

In his remarks, Patriarch Theophilos emphasized the true meaning of the Nativity, and though this blessed feast is not complete without pilgrims, it is crucial at the moment to focus on raising awareness concerning the continuous threat of the Israeli radicals to the Christian existence, particularly in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

His Beatitude stressed that “the pressure of radical groups on our historic neighborhoods and in undermining the multi-cultural and multi-religious integrity of our city must be resisted at all costs. The radicals, whom we are facing in Jerusalem, are not representative of the State of Israel or the Jewish people, and it is incumbent upon all people of good will to work together to curb the unbridled ambitions and actions of all radical groups in the Holy Land.”

In return, His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa thanked the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Brotherhood for their visit, confirmed his unwavering support to the mission of the Church leaders in protecting the Christian character of the Holy City, and wished everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas celebrations.


News and Photos by: Heba Hrimat.