Jerusalem that celebrates the Feast

Submitted by munir on Tue, 04/04/2023 - 12:16

 I had the honor a few days ago to visit the noble city of Jerusalem which is a great dream for millions of people. Of course, this is not the first time that I visit Jerusalem because I pursued my studies at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Beit Jala from 1984 to 1995, and since then I go there several times a year.


The charm prevailing in Jerusalem is unique and nonpareil for as one enters the Holy City, one feels the holiness of the place whereby as soon as one steps on this sacred soil one witnesses the numerous divine interventions in human lives. Since this period is marks feasts celebrated by Jews, Christians and Muslims, one finds pilgrims moving in the area in large numbers. Furthermore, one feels the great respect for the Ramadan fasting in East Jerusalem as the restaurants that used to exude the smell of food during the day are closed in respect for the fating month. As for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, praise the Lord, it is bustling with visitors, pilgrims, and worshippers from all nationalities who speak different languages and come from various parts of the world. It suffices us to see the long queue of people extending throughout the day around the empty tomb, like the bracelet around the wrist,  while hymns, prayers and candle lighting are rampant.


On Palm Sunday, groups of believers made a solemn procession with the participation of a large number of faithful from other Palestinian cities, and Arab scouts filled the atmosphere with their eastern and western hymns within the Arab city of Jerusalem. During the Palm Sunday procession, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa encouraged the people of Jerusalem not to despair despite the harassment that has been taking place towards sanctuaries and churches. He said: "We must not be afraid of those who want to divide, those who want to exclude or who want to take over the soul of this Holy City. They will not succeed, because the Holy City has always been and will always remain a house of prayer for all peoples." He stressed, "No one can separate us from our love for it, just as no one can separate us from the love of Christ ."


On the other side of the River Jordan, King Abdullah II was hosting an iftar babquet at the same time in Amman--which is throbbing with love for Jerusalem and its sanctities-- for Christian and Muslim Jerusalemites in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during which His Majesty said: "We will always be with you and you will overcome all the challenges before you." He renewed commitment to the Hashemite custodianship, stressing the need to stop the forcible displacement of Jerusalem Christians, as well as the repeated attacks on churches, their priests and properties in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the heads of the Churches delivered addresses during the iftar banquet, while representative of Patriarch Pizzaballa, Bishop William Shomali recalled the king's speech at the United Nations last September during which he stressed the importance of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem, and defended the genuine  rights and heritage of Christians in the East, especially in the city of Jerusalem.


In conclusion, there is no giving up of Jerusalem, as the love of this city grows in the hearts of millions day after day, Palm Sundays are marked continuously. I do not forget the face of 80-year-old Diana Safieh, the sister of the Palestinian intellectual and ambassador Afif Safieh, whom I had visited in the Nuns’ Monastery and Hospital in Abu Dis which overlooks pulchritudinous Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, who said while using a nasal cannula that helped her breathe: “I could have gone to other hospitals, but I am a Jerusalemite, and I love Jerusalem, and I will not give it up." She can rightfully be called the spokesperson for the Jerusalemites with whom we share the love for the Holy City.


May the Jerusalemites and every people be engulfed with goodness.

Images, Video or Audio
Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader