JERUSALEM – On Monday, January 10, a couple of days after the Greek Orthodox Christian community celebrated Christmas, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, visited his counterpart, Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, to convey his Christmas greetings. He was accompanied for the occasion by Father Davide, Chancellor of the Patriarchate, Bishop William Shomali, General Vicar and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, and Bishop Emeritus Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo.
The ceremony was an echo of the one held on December 28 and 29, 2021. One by one, the delegations of the various Christian rites of the Holy City, flanked by their respective Kawas beating the pavement with their sticks, reached the seat of Patriarch Theophilos III to perpetuate the tradition of the exchange of Christmas greetings. In his greeting speech, Archbishop Pizzaballa recalled the importance of the role that Christ has played and continues to play in the lives of everyone: “We cannot reach Christ by ourselves. He came to us.”
Then after the speeches came the time for singing; three Orthodox clerics formed a choir and made the reception hall resound with their deep, bass voices. Their songs marked the end of the meeting. But this was not the last such ceremony of the year; there is still the Armenian community’s Christmas, which has not yet taken place. In the Holy Land, it is as if the celebration of the birth of Christ never ends…