MEETING OF THE MAYOR OF JERUSALEM WITH THE HEADS OF CHURCHES
On Monday afternoon, 26 April/ 9 May 2022, the Mayor of Jerusalem Mr Moses Leon met with the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem at the Monastery of the Franciscans in Jerusalem – Custody of the Holy Land.
At this meeting the Abbot of the Franciscans Fr Francesco Patton addressed the Mayor, underlining that the Jewish Passover was celebrated recently, during which the Jews remember the freedom God gave them from the bondage of Egypt. The Christian Easter was celebrated as our transference from the bondage of sin to the freedom of the Resurrected Christ. Ramadan was also celebrated as a period of acquiring the virtues of fasting, abstinence and the help of the poor.
All these happened in Jerusalem, setting an example to remind us not only of the co-existence but also the brotherhood, the community of values and principles of life. “Believing these, we wish you Mr Mayor, wisdom and power to work toward the prosperity of all citizens of Jerusalem regardless their religion or nationality”.
On this occasion, the Franciscan Brotherhood offered its emblem to the Mayor.
After the Custos, H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos addressed Mr Mayor as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen
We thank you, Mr Mayor, for your kind invitation to this gathering in this festive season. This is a time of the year when the eyes of the world are turned toward Jerusalem, and when we are most aware of the importance of Jerusalem not just for those of us who live here, but for the whole of humanity.
As the focal point of the divine-human encounter, Jerusalem has a universal significance that transcends all human boundaries and divisions. We are all sons and daughters of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is the spiritual home of all people of goodwill, regardless of their origin or creed. As we read in the Scriptures, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Luke 13,34).
This Paschal season makes visible the mission of the Church in maintaining this special character of Jerusalem and in upholding the multicultural and multifaith heritage that we share. As you are well aware, this unique identity of Jerusalem and its universal vocation are the serious peril from Israeli radical groups whose actions threaten the very fabric and foundation of this Holy City. So egregious is their activity, that it is catching the attention of religious and governmental leaders around the world, who recognise the dangers of such groups, and we cannot but express our deep concern to you.
The Churches are willing to work together with you for the common benefit and common good of all our people, but this work must rest upon mutual respect and the security of the historic rights and privileges of the communities that make up our society. We wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our fellow Heads of the Churches, especially His Paternity Father Francesco, who has been instrumental in building up our common witness.
We are living in challenging times, and the role of Jerusalem is of greater significance to the human family than ever before. We understand fully the complexities of the issues that we face, and we are committed to finding appropriate solutions that will contribute to the well being of all our people.
May God bless you, Mr Mayor, and your colleagues, in the work that you do on behalf of our Holy City and all who live here and come here on pilgrimage.