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2012
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The Churches of Jerusalem exchange Christmas greetings

December 27, marked the occasion of the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings among the leaders of the various Christian denominations in Jerusalem. These gestures express the diversity, as well as the beauty of living as neighbors in a spirit of genuine sympathy and openness.

At the Convent of St. Saviour, the Custody welcomed the delegation of the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as representatives of the Armenian Ethiopian, Coptic and Syrian Churches.

In the joy of the event, which unites all Christians around the world, the Custos Fra Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodial Vicar Fra Artemio Vítores, the Secretary General Fra Silvio De La Fuente, and a large representation of the local community of friars received the guests in the parlor of the convent. A group of young friars, students at the Studio Teologico Francescano, delighted the visitors with some melodies.
In the afternoon, it was the turn of the Franciscan community to pay a visit to the Melkite community of Jerusalem for the exchange of greetings.

The greetings follow an established ritual, repeated with regularity over the course of the visits: first the head of the visiting delegation extends his greetings to the Custos and the entire community of Friars, thanking him for the invitation received and extending his best wishes for Christmas, hoping the best in the coming year and emphasizing the bonds of friendship that exist with the Franciscans; the Custos reciprocates these sentiments.

Beyond its ceremonial aspects, these meetings are an opportunity to exchange view on issues of common interest, regarding matters related to the Status quo or of the general situation faced by the Christian communities and the positions to be taken in relation to civil authorities.

Afterwards, refreshments and Christmas cakes are served, while the conversation takes on a more informal tone; the visit draws to a close and guests depart with cordial greetings.

In the late afternoon of the same day, a meeting and exchange of greetings first between the Custos and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and afterwards with His Excellency Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio, who only one month ago, made his official entry into Jerusalem.

Text: Internet Office

Photos: Nadim Asfour

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