24-26 May 2014
says Gregorios III
On Friday 23 May, Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, left Beirut bound for the Jordanian capital, Amman, in readiness to welcome, with other Eastern patriarchs, Pope Francis, who is making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (24 – 26 May).
The Holy Father’s pilgrimage, coming fifty years after that of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, is “fraught with expectation and hope,” according to Gregorios III.
Expectation and hope for every one of the region’s countries beset by internal and regional conflicts, in the eye of a tornado of wars and violence, stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has given rise to all the others and remains a continuing source of instability and liability in the region.
Expectation and hope for the return of peace to Syria, which is and will remain central to the Holy Father’s prayer, whose considerable power was evidenced last 7 September.
Expectation and hope for Church unity: from 1964 to 2014 great advances have been made whose origins can be traced back to the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.
Let us pray with Pope Francis throughout his pilgrimage to the Holy Land for violence and weapons to yield to dialogue and the beginning of a peaceful solution. And with Pope Francis let us say, “Let us never lose the courage of prayer.”
“Fifty years on, we are placing all our expectation and hope on this joint pilgrimage of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. With all the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs gathering in Amman around the Holy Father, we shall make a request for there be just one date for Pascha, and that Pope Francis fix Easter day to a Sunday in the latter half of April.”