Farewell dinner for Archbishop Antonio Franco
JERUSALEM – Wednesday, July 11, 2012, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and his vicars invited Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem, for a farewell lunch. The Patriarch thanked the Nuncio for the efficient service rendered during his tenure in the last six years. Approaching his departure, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, in a brief welcome speech, stressed the “constant concern” of Monsignor Franco “for peace and the lives of Christians in the Holy Land.”
The Patriarch expressed personal regret at seeing the departure of an “expert” regarding the “very delicate execution of agreements” between the Holy See and Israel, and in other discussions between the Holy See and the Palestinian Authority. The Patriarch has entrusted Christians of the Holy Land to the prayers of the Nuncio, and on his behalf, assured him of the prayers of the Mother Church for his person.
The Patriarch invited to his table, “in a simple and familiar setting,” about forty guests, including the Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, the consuls of France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, as well as representatives of the Christian Churches: His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Bishop, Bishop Aris Shirvanian, Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate, Archbishop Anba Matias of the Ethiopian Patriarchate, Suheil Dawani, Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem and Bishop Julius Joseph Zerey, Melkite Patriarchate. Father Stephane Milovitch represented the Custody of the Holy Land. Many representatives of religious communities in the Holy Land, together with the priests of the Latin Patriarchate, took part in this farewell ceremony.