Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Message from the Patriarch of Jerusalem and spectacular finds in Nazareth

Earlier this afternoon the Patriarch of Jerusalem has made public his annual Christmas message.
The Patriarch mentions that up to this point the Palestinians do not have a State, the status of Jerusalem is still disputed, the Israelis are still living in great fear. However, the Patriarch also mentioned the positive things that took place since last Christmas: a partial freeze to settlements, the generosity of the international community, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI and several other works and projects.
The Patriarch said that the gift he wishes most for this Christmas is that of peace. When asked by some journalists if he has not yet given up on hoping for peace, the Patriarch replied: “If I who serve as Patriarch loose hope, how can I lead my people to hope for peace? We do not have the right to be tired, we do not have the right to stop believing, we do not have the right to lower the guard.”
The journalists asked also about the situation of Christians in Gaza. The Patriarch replied: “The Christians in Gaza are not in a ghetto in such a way as to be treated differently from other Palestinians in Gaza. The are sharing the same difficult conditions.” Asked about the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land, the Patriarch replied: “Firstly we need to show all Christians of the Holy Land how important and vital it is for them to stay here and bear witness to the faith in this land. Their presence is a mission and a vocation and every mission and vocation demands sacrifices to be made. I can understand why they want to emigrate, but I say to them that in other places they can find all thins their hearts desire but they will not find a Holy Land, they will not find their roots as they can be found only here. Christians of the Holy Land need to be aware of this costly privilege.”
At the end of the press conference, Msgr. Giacinto Boutros Marcuzzo spoke about the archaeological finds in Nazareth just 100 meters away from the Basilica of the Annunciation. (See pics below) Last week, the prelate explained, under the courtyard of a monastery the foundations of a very old house were found, it goes back to the time of Jesus. This is the first house of the time of Jesus to be found as till now what is conserved are cave dwellings or part caves part walls homes. Several artefacts that shed light on daily life have been found in the same house. More details of this exciting find are emerging.
This afternoon event is a reminder for us to keep the Christians of the Holy Land (especially those of Bethlehem, Beith Sahur and Beit Jalla) in our prayers. The house in Nazareth reminds us of the Holy Family of Nazareth and we do well to pray for families the world over and for the family as we know constantly under threat by secularism and denigrated by those who do not have the human welfare and common good at their heart.
The full text of the Message can be found here.

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