Contact: Susan Kerin

Patriarch of Jerusalem Honored by Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
and Holy Land Christian Ecumenical FoundationSusan kerin

Washington – The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) are hosting a luncheon on August 5 to pay tribute to His Beatitude, Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Invitees to the luncheon include Christian leaders, diplomats, public officials and other dignitaries.

Appointed in 1988, His Beatitude serves as the Archbishop to the indigenous Catholic community in the Holy Lands, one of the oldest positions in the Catholic Church. Originally from Nazareth, he is also the first modern patriarch of native Palestinian descent and has championed the plight of the Palestinian Christians, whose populations have dwindled as a result of the conflict in the region.

"We are honored with this visit from His Beatitude, which enhances our understanding of the Christian community in the Holy Land," said Msgr. William A. Kerr, Cultural Center executive director.

 The Patriarch is expected to formally announce a joint initiative between HCEF and the Cultural Center to develop a new exhibit about the Holy Land Christian community, planned to open in 2006 at the Cultural Center.

"I can think of no better place to launch an exhibit for the Holy Land Christians than one that is directly tributed to our Late Holy Father," said Sir Rateb Rabie, HCEF president, who accompanied the Pontifical pilgrimage to the Holy Lands in 2000.  

During that tour, the Pope challenged the Palestinian Christian community with the words "Do not be afraid to preserve your Christian heritage in the land of our Savior's birth." 

"This exhibit will serve as a testament to his words and a fulfillment of this challenge," said Fr. Emil Salayta, who co-founded the Foundation with Rabie. kerin

The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is a one-of-a-kind institution that explores faith and culture through dialogue, cultural programs, art, research, and technology. Susan kerin

HCEF is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land by supporting the living stones, the living members of the churches.  HCEF sponsors programs that build person-to-person, family-to-family, and church-to-church relationships.  HCEF also supports children.s education, housing, and job creation.

For more information, please contact Susan Kerin at (301) 951-9400 ext 217 or

San kerin
Susan kerin