Heads of Local Churches’ Easter greetings to the Latin Church
JERUSALEM – As it is the tradition in the Church of the Holy Land, every year, the Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem visited the Latin Patriarchate to present their greetings in the spirit and joy of the Resurrection.
Rev. Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, was the first to visit on Wednesday March 23, 2016. He was accompanied by the Franciscan Friars. They were welcomed by Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal and Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine. They talked about a busy Holy Week of celebrations, which the Custos described as a time of reflection. They also discussed the procession on Palm Sunday and the plans to restore the Tomb in the Holy Sepulchre.
On Tuesday March 29, the most of the heads of Churches came to convey their Easter greetings. His Beatitude welcomed the guests and reminded everyone that in spite of the substantial period of time between the Catholic and Orthodox calendar celebrations of Easter, all Churches are united by brotherly love and reciprocal prayer.
The Patriarch had the opportunity to warmly welcome His Eminence Metropolitan Anba Antonious, who, for the first time came for these traditional greetings, after his recent ordination and installation as Bishop and Metropolitan of Jerusalem and the Near East on Sunday, February 28, 2016. He congratulated the Latin Church saying that “through living the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we rejuvenate our human soul and leave our old bodies to rise with new ones.”
Most Rev. Munib Younan, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, added that “despite all hardships, we must be witnesses to Christ. We must remain as sons of the Resurrection to spread the word of our Lord’s resurrection and the culture of life, loving and accepting others.”
On Wednesday March 30, 2016, His Beatitude Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, accompanied by a delegation of Greek Orthodox priests, shared their Easter wishes for the Latin Church. They were received by Bishop William Shomali, Bishop Kamal Bathish and several priests of the Latin patriarchate. Patriarch Theophilos emphasized that the Resurrection of Christ is the raison d’être of the presence and mission of Churches in the Holy Land. Bishop Shomali then reflected that while Christians are being persecuted and killed in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and other regions in the world, the blood of these martyrs will be the seed of new Christians.
Please find below the Easter message of the Head of the Local Churches.