President Rivlin on a surprise visit for Easter wishes
JERUSALEM On April 14, 2015, President Reuven Rivlin of the State of Israel, visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, at the same time that the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem presented Easter wishes to the Orthodox Church.
An important event which was quite unusual occurred when the Heads of Churches presented Easter wishes at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. This event is a yearly tradition and a special one this year because President Reuven Rivlin of the State of Israel joined the occasion to present his greetings.
The Heads of Churches of Jerusalem – except for the Custos of the Holy Land and the Armenians came to greet the Greek Orthodox Church and Patriarch Theophilos a happy Easter. An important move from the side of the President to greet the Christian minority which demographically is tiny compared to the Jewish and Moslem communities, but which secures an important presence through welcoming pilgrims at the Holy Places, or through its action in the fields of health and education.
In their respective interventions, Patriarch Theophilos, President Rivlin and Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal underscored the importance of protecting Christians on the same footing with Moslems and Jews. Patriarch Theophilos thanked the President of Israel for his strong condemnation of all antireligious assaults committed over the past months, and of all fundamentalist movements which rise up.
“Such crimes should not take place, said Mr Rivlin, neither on Mount Zion, nor on Mount of Olives, nor in synagogues, nor on mosques, nor on churches”.
“We live in the midst of a complex political and religious reality, he further said, especially in Jerusalem, city of peace, city of God […] Our inter-relations are kept thanks to the Statu Quo. It is not an official obligation, it is a sign of mutual understanding between different communities”.
Together, Christians expressed the hope that, under the mandate of this recently elected President, peace may be finally found between Palestine and Israel. Latin Patriarch Mgr Twal, concluded in this meaning: “Let us try to become, starting from Jerusalem, builders of peace, and protagonists of a genuine interreligious dialogue”.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt